Wedding Belles... 
what to wear as a wedding guest?

Jacket Phase Eight £99.
Skirt M&S this season £49.50
Hat, John Lewis £75, Jacket Gerald Durel £295,
Marella Trousers £150, Bag John Lewis £35
Shoes M&S £29.50

It's wedding season again and Jane and Beryl are experiencing  a strange and unfamiliar sensation... that of uncertainty. What would they wear if invited to someone's charming nuptials? Would they throw everything at it, and end up looking like a Lily Savage or give in (never) to the gods of middle age and look like someone's Aunty Binty in a floral man-made fibre? Such are the dilemmas of the WOACA.

Shopping may not be your best friend. Jane and Beryl have seen many an unsuspecting WOACA in the grip of a well-meaning shop assistant toting fascinators and peep toes. Therefore, before shopping, Beryl and Jane decide to delve into their own hoards (Jane may be found buried at any time under 15ft of clothing in a freak accident) to see what could be press-ganged into action before yet another spending spree. If nothing else this activity reminds them of what in their wardrobe is an unqualified success. There is always the option of wearing something that they already own and feel great in (shock horror) and yes, we mean you, Beryl, with your 30 dresses, surely one will cut the mustard?

Beryl and Jane have a theory that they often go to weddings as someone else, and that this explains why a woman who never wears a dress or heels ends up tottering about in vertiginous stilettos, a tight frock and a Tinky-winky fascinator, while she would have a much nicer time and look better in wide leg trouser suit and manageable wedges, without anyone saying 'What is she wearing' (are you listening, Jane?)
Jane and Beryl like to introduce both bold and clashing colours into their 'occasion wear'. All theses pale hues and sherbert dabs are not very kind to their WOACA skins and yet department stores are awash with them. This is a trap. They also have limited use afterwards being too weddingy to be worn ever again. Beryl in particular buys far too many clothes to lecture anyone on thrift, but she does at least wear her clothes until they die of a natural causes or she gives them to charity.

Red blouse Top Shop of 5 years ago

Pink bag Laura Ashley last year £45
Pink blouse Part Two £69 this season

Skirt £49 M&S this season
shoes LK Bennett sample sale £30

Jane and Beryl feel that not everything has to match and in fact too much matchy-matchy can look at bit dated. So instead, Beryl has clashed the pattern on this skirt with that on the shoes, (which cost £30 from an LK Bennett sample sale) but the colour unifies the look. Beryl hopes that this adds a little dash of quirky and interesting, rather than plain bonkers, answers on a postcard, please... The jacket from Phase Eight last year (£120) is blush rather than cream. If Beryl were off to a wedding in this, she would probably buy or borrow a small red handbag to tie the look together.

Salwar kameez from Southall, via a Hindu friend, the beautiful Kirti

When Jane received an invitation to a traditional Indian wedding in a big London hotel, she was filled with trepidation as well as joy. Excited to be part of what promised to be a spectacular occasion, she was also filled with a sense of 'I don't have anything to wear,' like no other. After trawling the internet, the best she could come up with was a bejewelled frock in navy, which adhered to the rules of dressing for such an event - and there are some, such as not bearing arms and not wearing white - so would not offend. Plus, she was by no means a principle guest, so wanted to blend in - shock, horror. But the frock just didn't make the grade - too glittery, too obvious. Instead, she 'phoned a friend, who leant her this wonderful outfit (similar ones can be found at Indian stores the length and breadth of Britain) which was much complimented on the day.

Bag Acessorise

Libuella dress reduced to £125 in a sale, vintage hat £15, Mary Jane shoes £100,
John Lewis silver bag £85

Has Jane just seen someone more interesting in the distance? Or is she just posing in a ridiculous fashion? Whatevs, this dress has been around the block a few times and does a great job for summer events (birthdays, christenings...) as well as the odd nuptial celebration. It's a bit of kwality kit, in Jane's view and is always an easy wear with a vintage hat, silver Mary Jane shoes and handbag. Libuella has done this design for about five years in different fabrics - the frilly sleeve however is bang on trend. With its vintage overtones it is a truly timeless classic in Jane's life and worth every penny.

Oh, look what her persistent friend has made her do!,
And yes, she does look like a circus performer

Vintage hat, Prospect House charity shop, Marlborough £30

Lets talk headgear, Jane and Beryl love a hat, and there is no doubt that something on their heads transforms their posh frocks into statement wedding outfits. They love vintage ones, which are often less expensive and nicer than their chain store counter-parts, (or very expensive designer ones, preferably made by Foxwell & Moon, ha!) However, and this is just a personal prejudice,  Beryl would rather gauge her eye out with a stick than wear a fascinator. They for Beryl's money have become the fashion wedding cliche with which the nation is gripped.

Jane pops into M&S, jacket £45, trousers £29
vest £4.50, shoes £29.50
Jane is horrified to find herself in M&S in the search for wedding paraphernalia: has she really sunk so low? Is there anything our fashionistas would really wear in here? Hmm, this suit is a great price point and a comfy wear if that is what is required. Jane does like a summer suit which is great plan for those not keen on a frock. However, they really are few and far between this year. Is this The One? Probably not, bit too deconstructed even for our Jane who sadly feels a bit bag lady in it. 

Top John Lewis £45,
 skirt LK Bennett £225
Jacket Gerald Darel,
bag John Lewis £29
Great texture and sleeve details
Beryl would buy and wear this outfit, although truth be told the jacket is a bit square. Beryl and Jane get much more critical as the price rises. Beryl likes the skirt, but then at £225 she jolly well should. All these elements could be mixed and matched and worn again.

Zara shoes £29, dress Dorethy Perkins £35. 
The how much to spend conundrum? When Beryl got married in 1990, her mother went to Harvey Nicholls where she bought a reassuringly expensive dress by Fink.  Once upon a time  clothes were considered 'good' if they cost a lot of money, but Jane and Beryl think that if an inexpensive garment makes you feel good, then its price point is largely irrelevant. Beautiful shops and pink tissue paper are designed to make us feel that we are getting something superior, but the sad truth is that expensive garments are often made in the same appalling conditions as inexpensive ones. Beryl and Jane have both in their time made expensive mistakes, and found that a high price point is no guarantee that they will continue to like the said item. Beryl likes herself in this cobalt blue dress from that well-known international designer Dorothia Perkin and it is a great fit and an amazing colour. This she feels will be going out often when a little pared down chic is required.

Vintage bag £22
Vintage straw hat £10

Sunflower yellow jacket 149 Euros Massimo Dutti,
Dress Mandco £59, sandals £29.50 M&S (all this season)

Beryl is worried that she has popped into Auntie Binty territory here, but as Jane points out being a wedding guest is a supportive role, so it's not all about you Beryl, for once! Beryl is in-fact wearing floral polyester, but it is very pretty with its oriental blooms and has no sleeves, a consideration when flinging herself about to 'Dancing Queen' at midnight. The slubby textured sunflower jacket adds élan. Beryl has got the open-toe sandals past her hyper-critical friend, which have block heels and therefore are less stuffy than a court shoe.  

Jumpsuit from Damzel in a Dress £169
Has Jane finally found the holy grail of jumpsuits? Intrepid readers who follow their adventures keenly will be familiar with Jane's long-term search for the perfect grown-up romper suit. She has scoured the shops and the airwaves for something that will suit her long waist and short crotch (or is it the other way around...?) Anyway, she digresses... here it is, for those who also want the fashionably chic yet not trying too hard vibe, Jane and Beryl present the navy jumpsuit from Damzel in a Dress. Pricy at £169, but a great fit, good fabric and a colour that flatters all complexions. Did she buy? Actually, no, as often happens, when the To Die For item is found, it has suddenly lost its allure...

Shoes £70 Dune

Lace Bloom dress £225 Gerald Darel

Ted Baker , Racheel SpringFloral Meadow coat £249
In theory this Ted Baker coat is gorgeous, but our small friend would not buy it. It has a zip a sleeping bag would be proud of, and Beryl likes buttons. Imagine fishing to do up your zip if it's chilly? Beryl bets that her arthritic fingers can't manage it, and that her husband would be zipping her up like a toddler on the big The lacy dress is really lovely, V-neck, classy not too tight, and if Beryl was the kind of woman who only owned one formal dress, this might be the one, but she is not, so not buying.  

Graphic Floral Jacquard Skirt £182, silk top £99

Next Beryl tries on a Jaegar skirt and yellow silk blouse. She is beginning to get the expensive clothes buzz. She loved this skirt but the co-ordinating Jaegar jacket was a little DBW (Dull but Worthy) so the one pictured was from Phase Eight. Beryl is sad at the demise of Jaegar, but not so sad that she would not opportunistically hunt these in the closing down sale.

Dress Hobbs £130

This was Beryl's dress choice of the day, and boy did she try on dresses.  Beryl and Jane loved the colour, the cotton, the weave... she's waxing lyrical now. The hat of course is a disaster. The pickings were so slim that Jane and Beryl were reduced to this old ladies' hat. 

Jane and Beryl are available for fashion consultations and away day fashion adventures. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your requirements...


  1. Obsessed with the Gerard Durel jacket that looks very Chanel! Also the floral skirt from M&S is perfect for a wedding.

  2. Thank you for your comments Georgina. Beryl is really enjoying wearing the M&S skirt, that has had a surprising amount of wear. It went to a big birthday party with a pink blouse last weekend. The jacket is a corker...still thinking about it.





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