The lovely Charlotte Ingram dropped me a line all the way from Hong Kong last week, and it would seem that she is in quite a pickle. Why? Well, where do I start! I have attempted to summarise, hopefully not in vain... This summer, Charlotte will be attending a wedding in Bali. But not any old wedding, OH NO!... This wedding is on a cliff, in Bali, during which time temperatures may reach, or indeed exceed 32 degrees. But wait, it doesn't end there. The festivities consist not only of a wedding and subsequent reception (yes, yes, so obvious etc...) but also a welcome dinner on arrival with sunset drinks, an afternoon BBQ at the beach and a cocktail party on the last night. Phew! Well, you can't say that the newly-weds-to-be aren't be looking after their guests.
As if Charlotte doesn't have enough outfits to plan - what with four separate events taking place - she finds herself in a city where mid-range brands are hard to come by. While high street stores do offer some impressive options (Zara does a mean floor-length dress) she wants something a little more special. After all, the most fashionable women of Hong Kong's ever so fashionable society will be swanning about in their Dior and Vuitton, which will be lovely for them, but not quite so for our lovely Charlotte who is looking for something unique, floor-length and affordable. (Louis Vuitton's SS12 dresses - a la Kate Moss on the catwalk - would prove quite a catch, but at £24,000, you'd have to take out a mini-mortgage, unless you're a cash paying customer...)
And that's enough out of me for one day. Now onto the outfits...
This monochrome floor-length dress from Malene Birger epitomises ladylike chic. Now let me tell you a little about Charlie Ingram's figure - for ease of use and readability, let's call her CI from here on in... She's fairly tall, with an enviably flat stomach and the kind of toned figure that women work hard for (think Jen-An.) ERGO, this is the kind of dress that CI could pull off glitch-free - no spanx needed. The dress is perfectly understated - monochrome is such a classic look that you just can't go wrong - plus, it's got beautiful embellishment detail around the shoulders. (Embellishment is a key trend for SS12 thanks to Christopher Kane and co.) I wouldn't add a jacket here - a scarf would be just right - as you wouldn't want to hide the detailing on the shoulders and sleeves that make the dress unique. The accompanying accessories needn't be too fussy but add a little colour to keep it young. Lastly, you have two options: Totally ladylike but a little cool (option on the left) and totally cool but a little ladylike (option on the right.)
This one here is my personal fave; Halston Heritage have taken a little Indian influence and turned it into something really, really special and so, so feminine. Again, not the easiest dress to wear, but CI is blessed with a figure that allows for a little midriff action. So, luckily for her, there wouldn't be lumpy-bumpy type run-ins with this rose-pink silk. Plus, for some reason, I can just see her in something so sari-inspired. (Hence why I gasped with joy when I discovered this little baby!) Just the right colour not to feel like you're baring all inappropriately at your best friend's wedding, it has the added benefit of no sweat patches allowed (CI's specific request) and breathable slits throughout. I'd keep the jacket cropped so as to keep the detail uncovered, while these JW Anderson shoes keep it a little more 'cool and on-trend' and a little less 'my-grandmother-wrapped-me-in-this-earlier'.
Finally, this blue and white cut-out dress is from American brand Tibi - the secret of feminine fashionistas everywhere. The Malene Birger dress was 'ladylike' and the Halston Heritage dress 'ultra-feminine'. Well, this is my 'cool girl' option. The cut-out pattern is almost Holly-Fulton like stroke aztec inspired. CI, this dress would earn you serious fashion kudos! Sequins would add an uplifting touch, which it may need depending on your current skin tone (sorry CI, but I haven't seen you in a while!) or this cream suede jacket from the king of cool, Alexander Wang. Accessories wise, nothing too girly. These Camilla Skovgaard heels are simple enough to cross over into sport luxe territory, while these Burberry flats are bang on the crafts trend from the pioneer of the trend, Christopher Bailey at Burberry.
Wow, now I feel like I've been rambling on for centuries. So, I'll cease to ramble and keep the next three short and sweet.
What to wear: The welcome drinks. She mentioned this would be fairly casual but alas, flats aren't quite my thing. This Helmut Lang dress is smart but not too smart, and teamed with this cassette clutch and uber cool Preen shoes keep it cool-smart-casual.
What to wear: The beach BBQ. This silk dress has a stunning delicate print and it's unstructured-ness (sorry, that's not a word, is it?) means it is relaxed enough for a beach BBQ. Visors are big news this season and this one from French Connection is glam enough not to appear remotely sport luxe. Throw on a great printed tote a la Marni and some metallic flat sandals and you're good to go.
What to wear: The cocktail party. Now, this is the end of the wedding tour, so deserves something special. I've come back to Tibi because, honestly, they've got some of the most special pieces for anyone working to budget. The shape of this dress is so flattering. The straw in the Anya Hindmarch clutch is inkeeping with the surroundings and a pop of colour sets it all off just perfectly.
So there we have it, CI's wedding traumas solved. (That's assuming that she's a fan of my suggestions...) All there is left to do is enjoy the sun, sea and walking in high heels on a cliff.