Look to the High Street for af­ford­able black tie style

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FOOD MEDIC -

AMAZ­INGLY FOR SOME­ONE who leaves pack­ing un­til the last minute, for­ward plan­ning came easy this week. The Peter Mark VIP Style Awards fell si­mul­ta­ne­ously with a hol­i­day to Greece — well, a flight the next morn­ing and so I had to ded­i­cate a few long nights of laun­dry, iron­ing and mul­ti­task­ing to get to me to the ball and then the air­port in good spir­its. If trav­el­ling of­ten has taught me any­thing over the years it’s to pack light and ef­fi­ciently but I can’t say dust­ing off hol­i­day gear while or­gan­is­ing a swoon-wor­thy gown for the red car­pet was that sim­ple. I did have to step over piles of shorts, flip-slops and biki­nis amidst Cin­derella shoes and dodge dresses dan­gling like hang­ing bas­kets in my spare room — I won’t lie. Mul­ti­task­ing I can do, but syn­chro­nous pack­ing is, per­haps, not my forte. Any­one who has ever dressed for a black tie event in warmer weather will ini­tially strug­gle with the idea. The words ‘black tie’ in­stantly con­jure up equal amounts of ex­cite­ment and panic. Ex­cite­ment be­cause we get to splash out on some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary - it’s not ev­ery day you get to wear full-length tulle coated in jew­els and the thought of it, per­son­ally, evokes a cer­tain kind of magic. Panic comes from the con­cept of black tie —the idea of a cer­tain set of rules be­ing ap­plied to an event and hav­ing to adapt your own style to it. Over the years the de­scrip­tion of black tie has be­come some­what mud­died. Gen­er­ally it’s safest to go long but nowa­days you can bend the rules de­pend­ing on the amount of palaver. Is it a drinks re­cep­tions, five course din­ner and drinks? Or drinks and civilised danc­ing? Re­mem­ber, black tie doesn’t mean you have to wear black, al­though some­times it is the best can­vas and easy to jazz up with heels and jewellery. Short is ap­pro­pri­ate too but noth­ing above the knee. If you like dif­fer­ent and quirky, a tai­lored evening suit (Marks and Spencer and Zara have some ver­sions worth in­vest­ing in) works the same kind of va va voom as a faffy frock or a long satin dress and sep­a­rates — a lace top and full midi skirt — are pieces that you could po­ten­tially wear again. Al­ter­na­tively you can rent vin­tage which means you don’t have to stare at your hard-earned cash lan­guish­ing, unloved in frock form af­ter the event. I have raided Covet in Pow­er­scourt, Frock n Fab­u­lous and Dirty Fab­u­lous on Wicklow Street in the past. But this year I set­tled for sim­plic­ity — a sheer dress via Topshop’s new bridal col­lec­tion with pink vel­vet Mary Janes. And Greece? I’m still here, pool­side, soak­ing up the heat. That’s for next week.

It’s not ev­ery day you get to wear full-length, jew­el­coated tulle

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