There is a fresh breeze blowing though the marquees of Britain this summer and it is called insouciance. Ties have disappeared from Wimbledon and Ascot has embraced the jumpsuit: weddings are no exception. Hurrah, say Jane and Beryl, a more languid vibe is afoot. Here is every fashionista's indispensable guide to modern wedding dressing.

   The Predictable




Psst... Jane and Beryl are about to commit heresy: whisper the word wedding and some well meaning shop assistant, will have you all decked out in a wishy-washy frock,Tinky-winky fascinator, matching bag and peep-toe shoes before you can say Jane and Beryl. These are their Nuptial Nasties. Listen up ladies dress shops of Britain, Jane and Beryl have Had Enough. They want easy, breezy wearable kit to take them from church door to dance floor. Read on...


The Maxi


Grace maxi dress Phase Eight £130, bag Ted Baker £32

Bag John Lewis £29



Bag Orly Keily £205





Beryl flings Jane this dress with orders to 'get it on immediately.' With a reluctant tread to the changing room, Jane does as she is told. It is not something Jane would have picked out all by herself due to its high frilled neck - not flattering for those with chesticles bigger than a B cup. However, proof that one can Never Tell until one gets a garment on one's back, Jane surprises herself by actually rather liking it. This is partly due to the colour combo, as Jane is a big fan of the red, white and blue, and if indeed she was actually invited to a wedding this year, this would be a hot contender.



How to wear/not wear the same maxi dress

Meanwhile, Jane tries another frock from the Phase Eight stable. She is also feeling quite perky in this maxi dress which scores top marks for its colour and length: bright but beautiful and similarly floor length for a 2018 look. But what a difference a few ill-chosen accessories can make. First, Jane follows the wedding guests' instinct to bung something frivolous on her head, and clutch a matching bag. Then she adds a formal jacket. No, no, thrice no. Once she has got rid of these extras, the outfit calms down and becomes way more wearable, comfortable and contemporary, Jane and Beryl think.  

Chelsey fascinator £69, Tally jacket £99, 
Talia maxi dress £99, Ophelia clutch bag £69 all Phase Eight



P.S  If something on the head is a must, and for a wedding it does 'complete' the look Jane and Beryl think, simple, simple, simple is the WOACA's best friend, clean lines and no fuss.


The Midi

Button Through Lace Dress Somerset
 by Alice Temperly £160, Jane's vintage hat £10,
Cassandra kitten heel Dune £70


What Jane and Beryl love about clothes is that the right garment on the right body is transformative, not just visually but in the confidence it engenders. This dress just feels like the biscuit, the cat's pyjamas, the bee's knees. It is a long way from the slightly too tight, slightly too short body-con dress, that is top of Jane and Beryl's Nuptial Nasties list. The fit and flare flatters Beryl's podgy middle (too many biscuits) and Beryl's tatty armpits are not on public display. She is slightly bothered that she might boil on the dance floor when she is up giving it large to The Nolans. Deep pink shoes and bag compliment the navy. Please invite her to a wedding quickly, so that she can justify it's purchase, please please, please.

The Trouser Suit

Malani jacket £240, trousers £130, vest £135, all Reiss,
bag John Lewis £59, shoes M&S £49.50 


Ahh, the joys of a trouser suit! Jane regularly searches the rails for such items, wedding or not, and regularly fails to find anything she likes. This blue suit fits the bill, with one teeny, tiny caveat: it is quite warm, so is more the Thing for an early or late summer do, rather than the sweatiness that can be ours under canvas in the height of August.

The Jumpsuit

Damsel in a Dress Jacket £149, Fireflower jumpsuit, 
Somerset by Alice Temperly £99, Mellissa bow Ted Baker 
clutch bag £80, ballet flats Beryl's own Ella B 

                  Beryl thinks it's splendid news that jumpsuits are now welcomed in polite society. There is something devil may care, about this forties style romper, it exudes celebration but without constriction, no big knickers required. Jane and Beryl always think WOACAs have a better time when they feel just right and therefore can forget about their clothes and live in the moment. Beryl who loves a colour pop has been searching high and low for a pink jacket, and this Damsel in A Dress one, is just the right shade of Schiaparelli fuchsia. Marvellously heels are not required with this look. Happy feet, happy woman. 


Jacket as before, jump-suit Great Plains £85

In a sad week in which Beryl has had to say goodbye to her Wallis jump-suit (polyester can only stretch so far, until it reaches breaking point). Beryl has bravely welcomed a new jump-suit into her life. This she thinks might be a modern way to wear a floral, and less embarrassing if you get your stiletto  caught in a man's turn-up say, while you are spinning around to Kylie.     

Cecily hat £110, Lou Lou jumpsuit £99, Tammy jacket £130,
Allie Bow Front Box bag £69, all Phase Eight 

Jane does NOT feel comfortable in this ensemble - can you tell? She is trussed up like a turkey which is what this outfit is. Stiff, formal and not very 'now'. And the hat is too tight. So why Jane grinning like an idiot? You may well ask: Jane says it's because she's gritting her teeth and baring it, keep smiling through and all that. Beryl says the clue is in the word 'idiot'.

The Floppy Trouser

Jacket Mint Velvet £119, vest Reiss £85, trousers Marella £175
shoes as before, bag Ted Baker £32, hat Jane's own
Keeping the casual chic vibe firmly in mind, Jane and Beryl move on to floppy trousers, one of their top faves at the moment, and they see no reason why they shouldn't be pressed into service for the Big Day. Here, Jane has put bird print trews with a boyfriend cut longline jacket, and trilbyesque straw hat for the complete Katherine Hepburn look (more of that coming soon). 


The Bohemian


 
Dress Somerset by Alice Temperley exclusively for John Lewis £130

Bag Hush £59
Jane has been chasing the Bohemian look for so many years that she feels she is practically a contemporary of Virginia Woolf. But finally she may have just cracked it, although she concedes that she might be of this mind set due to the positive response of the other shoppers in the store who were cooing over her in this ('Looks marvellous with your eyes...') while her photographer (Beryl) got the shot.

And the Kimono...


Kimono, Jaba £60 (this season) French Connection culottes £99,
 sale shoes (this season £35) Karen Millen 


Why a thing suddenly seems modern again, is always a bit of a conumdrum. The kimono-as-fashion-garment was introduced by the  French designer Poiret in the 1920s, and since then orientalism drifts in and out of vogue whether loose or tight. Beryl has popped a new kimono, (she uses the word loosely as this version does not have the traditional big sleeves), over French Connection culottes of last year. This would also work well with a favourite plain dress. She loves this as it looks uncontrived, and there are no question of holding her stomach in on her way to the fork buffet.  

Last word: Jane and Beryl spent a happy afternoon searching for wedding gear at John Lewis Concessions Floor, ably assisted by the delightful Maggie, who gets their 'Vendeuse of the Month' Award for her brilliant assistance. Search her out if you have need of her wonderful stock knowledge. 

Next Week:  
Jane and Beryl shop for the fuller figure 







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