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HOW THREE GENERATIONS CAN BOSS THE FORMAL LOOK ON A BUDGET

Birthdays, bar mitzvahs or baptisms? Let’s be honest, whatever the occasion, getting kitted out as a guest for any slightly formal event can often make your credit card cry. Hard.

Mine tends to have a full-on tantrum! Especially if there aren’t enough invites in the the diary lined up to justify a totally new outfit splurge.

Add to that a full on family invitation and the total cost of outfits alone can mean one almighty AMEX meltdown, innit?!

Aaah! But what if there was a way to boss formal dressing without having to whack up your overdraft?

Well, after recently finding myself in this exact situation, I soon realised that the secret is not to politely decline the invite, nor needlessly shop a haul that will never be worn again soon – but to just buy One. Little. Thing.

A bag!

Not any old bag, mind. To upgrade any old outfit, this kind of styling magic requires something truly special.

This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive either – it’s all about outfit planning.

So before you go bag shopping, do these three things first…

1: Go through your wardrobe. There’s no need to panic buy an entire new outfit ’cause I bet you’ve got stuff in there already that’s waiting on you to call in that formal fashion favour.

2: Decide if you want to co-ordinate with the rest of your family or are happy for each person to go indie.  Remember, there are no rules, no rights or wrongs. It’s all about preference and budget. Pull a few items out for everyone and use neutral colours like white, black, grey and navy to reign in a subtle and tonal we-are-fa-mily effect.

3. Only spend where you have to. Once you can see where the gaps are, only then purchase. Usually this is simply down to little kids getting bigger which is an obvious (and annoying) problemo – but that’s a little sob the plastic will just have to swallow up, innit?!

Once the above check list is ticked, you’re pretty much ready to bag that bag!

And so, with our semi-formal event around the corner, here were three generations of bag addicts ready to go on the loose. With little time too, there really was only one place to go where we could ALL get success – Monsoon & Accessorize.

Here’s what I styled up for myself, my Mum and daughter – and what we shoved in them, too.

Three generations of bag lovers, all wearing old  stuff but going for an affordable outfit upgrade with a new party bag.
FOR MUM
Accessorize, Olivia Embellished Envelope Clutch Bag, £30

Mum’s magenta dress from M&S needed something with a bit of sparkle. The secret to dressing up casual textures like jersey is to bring on the bling! I toyed between a gold version of this and something similar with more glitter and diamantés but it felt too ‘showy’ and considering that Mum would also be wearing a grey bouclé knit coat, the silver version worked perfectly. Cloudy gems plus the brocade-effect beading gives this clutch a much more vintage and decadent finish.

Contents: Rose scented wooden rosary | Kleenex tissues | Lacura Aloe Vera Hand Gel | Paul & Joe Lipstick | Cath Kidston Hand Cream

FOR ME
Accessorize Floral Wow Cross Body Bag, £32

I ended up wearing a lace dress that’s older than my 7-year-old with my trusty navy mid-length coat (that I recently blogged about customising with new buttons) and pink suede shoes that I bagged last year for £11.

Without wanting to overtly match my dolly shoes to my bag, I was ideally looking for a further pop-of-pink to shake up what would have otherwise been quite a neutral looking ensemble.

The lace and 3d floral combination of this cross-body did at first make me ponder whether it ‘was too bridal?’ so in stepped the trusty military midi coat which toughened things up allowing me my affordable dose of D&G floral outfit inspo.

Contents: Ray-Ban Wayfarers | iphone 6 | MAC lipstick in Siss (discontinued – FARK!) | YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector | YSL Touche Eclat  Concealer & Highlighter | Elizabeth Arden Plump Up Lip Liner in Rustle Red | Keys | Turquoise crystal | Oribe Balmessence Lip Treatment

FOR MY DAUGHTER
Monsoon Happy Horse Bag, £20

And finally, this showstopper of a bag made the 7 year old’s LIFE! Currently obsessed with ponies and horses after a recent ride on a Shetland plus a visit to a donkey (and horse) sanctuary, this bag made the perfect pairing with her simple white embroidered dress plus royal blue ballet pumps (£2.50 from the M&S sale! YASSS!)

Both the dress and shoes probably won’t fit in a few months time, so I was pleased that we managed to squeeze out another wear. PHEW! I’ve blogged about how my daughter loves fancy dress costumes and ‘fashion’ for her is all about imagination and F.U.N. Her other favourite bag is a panda back-pack. Oh, to be seven, innit? I really hope she carries on with this free-spirited fashion mind-set, ’cause between her character bags and my crazy phone cases, we are really something else, ha!

Contents: Shopkins | Num Noms | Sylvanian Cat Babies | Hatchimals | L.O.L. Suprise | vtech Kidizoom Selfie Cam

Thank you to Monsoon & Accessorize who very kindly gifted all three bags for this blog post.

So, what did you think of my three generation game changers then?

Any preferences?

Or if you’re stuck on what to wear or not sure how to accessorize an outfit for a formal event you have coming up, then comment below, I’d love to help out…

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Easter.

F.T.

4 Comments

  • Love this post! The bags are gorge and I want to buy the adorable horse bag for my friends daughter now! She’s just started riding lessons.
    I have literally been falling into a rabbit hole every night the past two weeks searching for a dress to wear at a wedding that’s in just over a weeks time, with the hen being next weekend. Which in my mind means TWO outfits. Couple that with trying to save for a my partners birthday gift in a week, and for a trip to the Philippines in May for which obvs I need to shop for too, right?
    I’m pretty sure I can wear something to the wedding that I already have but I’m feeling super uninspired.

    • Hi Rachel,
      That pony bag is MEGA, innit? I totally love it, too 😉

      How was the hen?

      What were you thinking in terms of style/colour for the wedding? Perhaps a new clutch or statement earrings could really game change it? Or shoes?

      Holiday shopping isn’t always a necessity, I always seem to have stash of stuff that’s only been worn a few times, so it might be that you don’t need to buy an entire new summer haul…?

      FT xoxo

  • I’m not sure why, but “For my daughter made my eyes sting”
    Anyway moving on….I love how you advise that first & foremost we should look at what we have already in our wardrobes. Way too often we are told that a new outfit is paramount to a fun time! Blah blahblah I say! More of this smart shopping, or not, as the case may be, lets not forget the reason why we are going in the first place! Happy to know you my friend xx

    • Awwwww!

      Oh gawd, yeah! I am FED UP with fighting for space in my wardrobe, it’s depressing and I think there are a lot more people who think this way too now, you know… smarter shopping is definitely the way forward. Buying on a whim, just because it’s ‘nice’ just doesn’t really do it for me anymore…

      All the love back atcha gf 🙂
      FT xoxo

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