A winter wedding dilemma

I am in need of some serious style advice and you lot are going to give it to me. Ok?  To give you a all a little background – I am a PLAIN person. I wear plain clothes. As in no patterns. I like black. And grey. And some beige. And if I’m feeling adventurous, navy. I find it much easier to buy clothes if I stick to these colours. I can go shopping, walk around my favourite shops, spot clothes in these colours, and KNOW that they’ll work with whatever else I have. If I’m feeling truly courageous, I will occasionally buy a patterned accessory, such as a scarf or some other flouncy item. Not bags though, or shoes. They should be plain. Ok…this is making me sound like a total weirdo I know – honestly, I am vaguely fashionable – the *shapes* of the clothes I buy are generally pretty cool, I just can’t do patterns. It’s no big deal. Ok?

So OBVIOUSLY when I went shopping for a multi purpose christmas party/winter wedding dress, I picked a nice plain dress I can put with anything.

You would think.

What I really wouldn’t have bought, ever ever, would have been a LEOPARD PRINT dress. Except I did. I really did.

‘How did this happen?’ I hear you squeal.

God knows.

Here is an extract of an email I sent to Aisling later that day (On a side note, Aisling and I email A LOT. A LOT A LOT. I’m sure that if either of us were able to be more succint we could send nice little emails once a week or so. Instead, we send rambling messes like the following, at least three times a day. I apologise for the lack of punctuation/horrendous spelling/all round descimation of the English language, we tend not to bother with such niceties).

“PS totally unrelated but I bought a leopard skin dress to wear to Andy’s works christmas party on Saturday and am now feeling nervous about it. Am I a leopard skin type of a girl? I’ve NEVER worn leopard skin before in my whole life. Can I pull it off? Will it look like I accidentally forgot that we don’t live in the 80′s? Or Texas. Or that I’m no longer 18? They don’t have it on the zara website, but it is this exact dress, just leopard skin with a black velvet belt like the one shown.

No really….it’s exactly like this….except in leopard print.
I have it in black and it is my ‘go to’ work dress and I love it, hence my picking up the leopard skin one in the first place. But now oh god, I’m just not sure. I am the BOSSES WIFE who is ENGLISH and who THEY’VE NEVER MET, so I want to create the hi, I’m friendly, and not remotely stuck up look, combined with sophisticated enough to be not just a trophy wife, but cool and attractive enough so as not to be thought dowdy or hideous. All this bearing in mind that this is Russia, and everyone is super glam. Which I am super not. Oh and also, I would like to wear it to a black tie wedding on 29th December. Which is a lot to ask of a dress I’m aware. TELL ME HONESTLY YOUR THOUGHTS….

If it is of any interest to you whatsoever I will be wearing black opaque tights and some nice KG patent high heeled court shoes, and I have an oversized black clutch bag which I thought would do the job. And something black. Like a cardigan. Or something.”

To which I received the immediate response…
“Did you breathe AT ALL whilst writing that?! I’ve seen that dress I’ve seen that dress I’ve seen that dress! I saw it last week when I went to Zara to by my little brother a cardigan for his brithday. Which, incidentally, cost more than nearly every item of clothing I’ve ever bought myself. Hmph.

But YES to the leopard print. Loving it. It’s not like you’re accessorizing with frosted pink lipstick, blue eyeshadows and a snow-leopard print fur coat…at least I hope you’re not. THEN we would be slipping into 80s/Texas territory. Or indeed Corontation Street. But no, I think you are doing it perfectly with the all black, a long black cardigan would be perfick for the work do and then mebbes a blazer for the wedding? I LOVE the idea of leopard print at a wedding btw. Everyone else will be dressed in Monsoon evening dresses (trust me) and you’ll be sophisticated and stand out and CONFIDENT. You WILL be confident, do you understand me?! You have every reason to be. ‘Chin up, tits out’ as my grandfather says. He’s called Bernard, just as a point of interest”

To which I promptly replied (are you enjoying this? Is it REALLY boring to read other peoples emails? Yeh? Ok, I promise I won’t do it again)...
“спасибо болшое (pronounced spasiba bolshoye if you cared. Oh, and means thank you big.)

I needed to check with SOMEONE because I’m pretty sure that if I show it to Andy before I’ve accessorized it, he’s going to be convinced he’s actually married Bet from Coronation Street, and beg me to wear something else. So I need to KNOW I can pull it off, and then not let him see it until I’m ‘done’ and then it’ll be too late for him to make his opinion known anyway and he’ll have to tell me I look beautiful whatever, because that is just what good husbands do. (I’ve been training him well).

I know, I’ve been trying to think of something to wear to the wedding that was kind of classy, without being all shiny, and red or green or black, or strapless and then, you know a dress with leopard print and pockets (did I mention it has pockets? Because it does, it really does, and if that doesn’t make someone like a dress, I don’t know what will), jumped out at me, and screamed classy but cool. But clothes often lie to me. I have a pair of trousers which jumped out at me saying I’m cool and will make you look really good with a pair of heels and they BIG FAT LIED. They actually make me look like I’ve tied a pair of my grandads trousers around my waist with a piece of string AND also that they are from a time when I was 3 inches shorter. So you see why I needed to check?” 

So lovely ladies, what I’m asking, in this incredibly long winded way, is what is YOUR opinion on said dress? You lot strike me as pretty damn cool people (this is not to disregard Aisling’s opinion in any way, I just feel it’s worth checking with more than one person. She could have been having a bad day when I asked her). Is leopard skin ‘in’ or ‘out’? Is it suitable? For the christmas party OR the wedding? Any ideas on accessorizing it? And be honest – none of this piffling ‘you’ll look beautiful whatever’ malarkey – tell me the truth. Whilst I’ve still got time to go out and buy me another dress.
Categories: Frippery
9 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 17, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Leopard skin is in, in, in and winter is definately the best season for it – opaques are the best choice for tightage. I approve wholeheartedly of the dress – you will be lovely!

  2. Posted December 17, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Ok – I did the whole piffling thing. Forgive me. But it's true. (runs away and hides)

  3. Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I have to say, I think we need a picture. I have seen subtle leopard print, and not-so-subtle. I have seen dresses where the cut makes it work and I have seen ones that……….dont. We need a picture of the actual dress, not the black one Clare/Fliss!

  4. Posted December 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I don't have a pic I'm afraid…but will do my best to take a picture of it on the itelephone and post it later… I know what you mean – it can be difficult to tell when you can't see what it looks like exactly…

  5. Posted December 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Which is the most important event? If the wedding then wear the outfit for the work do and if you're not sure then go for a new outfit.
    Love the accessories.
    Leopard skin is big at the moment. I'm not a fan of leopard skin, due to an aversion to brown, so can't comment on that.
    Oh and if you fancy buying another dress – well why not?

  6. Posted December 17, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I'm with you, Clare. I always favour the classic and clean lines to all out fashion. I also think, am I too old/not cool enough to wear x,y,z.

    So what I'm about to say is based on those facts.

    For your hubby's works do, I think leopard print per se is not to be ruled out. You say that this will be the first time you'll be meeting his colleagues and this seems the perfect opportunity to try out a new look which you can't always do with old friends, without them drawing attention to your new look.

    But and a big BUT is it needs to be worn with the right attitude. If you are feeling confident on the night, do it! On the other hand if you will spend the evening thinking what other people might be thinking, just don't do it. It's going to spoil your fun and you won't look like yourself.

    As for the wedding, to be honest. I wouldn't do it. I know, I know, it can look so cool, but I don't think it's wedding-y. Controversial? My lack of fashion confidence? Maybe x

  7. Becca
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink


    I am a plain person too so this is a plain person opinion.

    The work 'do' is fine. I wouldn't wear it to a wedding. My reasons are thus:

    1. It's leopard print-look at me look at me. Even if I wore it with tights I'd be worried the bride would think I was trying to steal her thunder (I know you wouldn't but her Aunt Edith might think so and make a comment and boom).

    2. I am all tits and arse with Cheryl sized hair. If I wore it, it would instantly become more looook at me. My best friend is a size 6 model proportions (bitch) and can get away with fashiony things.

    I do agree it depends on the print. I think if you're questionning it then you might feel uncomfortable. And it depends on the wedding. The print would fit a sleek city do in modern hotel than a modern hotel. And also evening do maybe.

    Am not being horrible but I just associate prints with parties not weddings.

  8. Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    I agree with the party-not-wedding vote. Because: in my books, "black tie" as a dress code equals floor length dress or a VERY dressy knee length dress. And I don't think that dress is quite that. But all for it for the work party!

  9. Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks you lovely lot! Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a pic of the dress over the weekend, but I can confirm that it is 'understated' leopard print not orange and brown and huge spots etc. HOWEVER, I do get the point about it being a black tie wedding, and maybe it is a little to casual for that….so now I need to find me a new dress! Any suggestions?! For reference, I am a size 10 (probably a 12 after christmas day), and straight up and down but definitely larger in te stomach area than I should be, so I need something to accentuate curves – oh – and also, I like to have my shoulders vaguely covered – I don't know why, I just NEED to have something over them, so strapless and spaghetti strap are out. Any suggestions? xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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