Dress Ghost £165, coat £60, trilby, bag and shoes, Jane's own - budget blown!

Ahh...wedding season looms, this is not necessarily the best news a WOACA has ever had, as according to a recent survey by the M&S Bank, the average outfit spend alone of a wedding guest in the UK this summer is expected to be £120 (never mind the gifts, travel, hotel room...). Beryl and Jane discover ways to keep the costs down as they head for their wardrobes and the high street with this sum firmly in mind. 


                       The No Spend Option

Kimono One Hundred Stars £79,
trousers £135 reduced from £200, 100 Per Cent Lino, silk top £20 reduced  from £99,
both The White House Designer Sale. Flat mules £16.99 TK Maxx, basket £30 Luna

Jane and Beryl realise you might well be thinking 'well, that's a bit rich coming from those two spendthrifts,' but bear with, bear with. It's all too easy to end up going to a wedding in something you do not feel entirely comfortable in. Clothes in your existing wardrobe not bought in a crisis are more likely to reflect your real persona. There is probably something perfectly lovely lurking in your closet as we speak that you could wear and makes you feel great.

Total spent £40

This floral dress has lurked largely unworn in our Bezza's collection. Its crime? Too wedding-y. Yes Beryl knows that this sounds ridiculous, but often clothes bought for nuptials are one trick ponies, they are just too syrupy for life ever after. 

Second hand jacket by Ronit Zilkha (still bearing labels £285) bought for £40,
White House Designer's sale. Dress past season Phase Eight £120,
Bag (second hand LK Bennett £65), shoes Penzance charity shop £4.
Borrowed feather on clip, from Jane

Serendipitously, Beryl found this jacket - bought to wear with other items - is the perfect match. Like Goldilocks, she feels 'just right' in this outfit. Lady-like, and not too garish is where she is going with this. She even has money left over for a fancy hat-band. She recommends Anthropologie who do beaded ones, for around £30, or H&M that do them for £4.

Total spend: various

Jane and Beryl are beginning to feel a little despondent. They have trollied up and down the high street looking for some modestly priced kit, but it is beginning to dawn on them that this is not easy. They can either afford a dress and a hat or shoes and a dress, but not the whole shebang. 

Dress £80 bag £30 and shoes £40 all Monsoon
hat on band £37.50 Monsoon

Dress, £40, vest £5.99, bag, shoes and headband, all Zara

Jane and Beryl head for failsafe Zara, only to have their hopes of finding lots of lovely outfits dashed within minutes. They search high and low, but could only find this red dress, which now Jane looks closely at the photo, appears to make her look six months pregnant (that would be a feat...). However, dear reader, you get the gist... Jane and Beryl are on the verge of (sob) failing in their fashion task. 

Meanwhile, Debenhams you might think must be the home of a reasonably priced frock for the big day, but pickings are, once again, slim. The only dress that Beryl actively covets is this Jasper Conran £69, orange and pink fit and flare. She has a pair of Karen Millen high orange stilettos and an orange clutch bag. This means she would have £50 to spend on a on a fru-fru hair-clip. Has she mentioned that she is fascinator-phobic, preferring instead a 1950s style hat-band?

           TK MAXX OPTION
                               Total spend £35 

Mindful of the budget Jane and Beryl are in TK Maxx, where they find this Nanette Lepore shirtdress for £24. The matching espadrilles are £11. Jane asked Beryl if she is going to buy this, as the yellow and pink thing is packing just the sort of joie de vivre they seek. Sadly, the top pulls a hint across her ta-tas, (damnation to her breasticals) but she lets Jane think she is showing admirable shopping self-control. 

               THE OUTLET OPTION 
                 Total spend £75

Restraint goes out the window however when this frock crazed woman hits the Great Western Outlet in Swindon. Beryl is out there on her own, without her carer (otherwise known as Jane) and this is never a good idea. She quickly bags a shirtdress from Mint Velvet reduced to £75 from £119, which she can wear to the wedding with her Karen Millen orange stilettos and and orange clutch from John Lewis. Sorry Beryl, what wedding is this? Beryl seems to have forgotten that she not actually been invited to a wedding this year.    

Total spend £117

Phase Eight dress £75, Hobbs white jacket (charity shop) £12
shoes (not bought for the wedding £30, LK Bennett sample sale)
Beryl and Jane love preloved clothes for all the right reasons. They are kinder to the environment and the purse, and you might find something really special that you would not splash out on new. If you think you could not possibly wear something second hand to a wedding, you need to get with the Extinction Rebellion programme. Even brides wear preloved wedding dresses these days. Here is Beryl attending her lovely friend Veronique's wedding in Minchinhampton last summer... 

...and here is Jane in a jacket from Top Shop via the Mind charity shop: £15 (and she has the trousers to the suit too). 

Total spend: £40

Dress £40

Every now and then there are one-off sales up and down the country and Jane and Beryl are particularly lucky to have one such, the White House Designer Sale, twice a year. Here they stock up on fab clothes at a fraction of their usual prices. This green dress could grace many an occasion this summer including a wedding.

Total spend £56

Headband £4.99, top £8.99,
jacket £34.99, trousers £14.99 all H&M

Beryl and Jane are not really suggesting that you buy the whole darn thing from H&M, but this was one of the very few high street stores they visit where they can come comfortably in on budget. They would however cheerfully pair the gorgeous floaty £15 chiffon trousers with some better quality items from their own wardrobes. Beryl is chary of cheap tailoring and would rather buy second hand to get a great cut and fabric in a jacket.

PSST! Jane and Beryl have found a great source of head gear. In a small shopping arcade in Bosham, near Portsmouth, there are some really unusual, reasonably priced (£40-£120) pieces.
Find Isabella Josie at www.isabellajosie.com.   

Next Week: Summer Coats 

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