I can’t be the only one who dreams in colour, who sees the world through rose tinted glasses. From a young age I believed in fairytales and hoped that one day I would turn from ‘cinders’ into ‘Cinderella’ and be the Princess I had always dreamed of becoming. I yearned for a new beginning where the past remained firmly in the past and I could be free to live in the present. I was infatuated with the idea of being able to create my own fantasies, governed by own desires and needs. That is largely where my love for occasion wear stems from; I could never afford fancy gowns growing up and as soon as I saved up enough money I brought a beautiful red ballgown that was on sale in TK Maxx and fell hopelessly and utterly in love with ocassionwear. From that moment on I would be sure to buy as many gowns as I could so I could live my ‘fairytale fantasy’ whenever I pleased. While the ‘occasion wear styles’ augmented over the years, my love for ‘fairytale gowns’ never ceased to be prevalent. Despite that many might say that ‘occasion wear’ is only suitable for ‘special occasions’ like weddings, balls and black tie events, I have been known to show up to black tie events in a formal dress and not give a hoot. After all it gives me confidence and makes me feel like a Princess so whats not to love?
Which is why alongside Chi Chi London, Coast remains one of my favourite ‘formal stores’. Their curated collection of silky slip dresses, Jacquard midi dresses and formal jumpsuits might be at the premium range of the scale, but the quality of their designs are so worth the splurge. Whether you want to turn into a princess and govern the ball for the night or want to be the ‘Disney Villian’ in a darkly romantic rich brocade gown, the styling possibilities are endless.
Admittedly when it comes to ‘Coast Occasion Wear’ the first thought that springs to mind is ‘brocade’ rather than sequin. After all ‘sequins’ have long been branded as ‘tacky’, because many labels fail to curate sequins in a way that is classy, elegant and formal rather than delegate sequin to the ‘clubwear section’ which lets face it has seen better days. Yet Coast’s elegant streamlined split ‘prom’ dress features a wonderfully romantic sweetheart neckline and a lace up back, creating the illusion of a flattering silhouette. Adorned in a stunning shade of rose gold, the gown is something I had been lusting after since it went live online, yet sadly it sold out of my size pretty much straight away . Still, the gown while titled as being ‘suitable for prom’ can also be worn at social events, balls and more. The key to nailing the sequin occasion wear look is to keep accessories to the minimal to ensure that you don’t draw focus away from the stunning sequin maxi dress, while a tousled updo will elongate the nape of your neck to accentuate the fitted tailoring of the dress.
Tailored in a beautiful blend of fuchsia and magenta pink, the jacquard gown borrows from the 50’s tea gown aesthetic but adds its own modern formal twist. The dipped hem, creates the illusion of a longer silhouette, while the paneled waist and box pleats cinch in the waist, to flatter the figure. The sweetheart neckline, offset by the slight off the shoulder bodice creates a romantic fairytale effect that wouldn’t be out of place on Aurora, while the brocade detailing makes the dress appear infinitely more expensive than it really is. While the aesthetic may borrow from vintage eras, the bottom half of the gown describes how modern women see their version of fairytales and it is derisively refreshing. Simply pair with applique courts or heeled sandals, while a flower crown will buy into the image of a modern princess.
Midi dresses strike the perfect balance between formal and day wear and while many might disagree with the notion of wearing a formal dress during the day, my readers know that I was never one to follow fashion rules. After all fashion is about embracing personal style, regardless of what other people might think. The ‘El Cristo’ features a fit and flare shape that skims mid calf; using a cinched waist, the fitted upper half of the midi dress is carefully balanced out by the full romantic skirt. By night let the cold shoulder bodice reign free and pair with lace up pastel courts to create a longer leg but by day let layering transform this dress into a wearable everyday item. Simply layer a pastel or duck egg blue turtleneck on top of the dress-make sure its cropped- before cinching in the waist with a bright white belt. To finish the day look a pair of lace up blue flats will transform you into a primadonna Ballerina who is free to explore the city without the restriction of heels.
4. Minerva Floral Dress
The floral print is timeless, understated and can transform any look, no matter how informal. Formal gowns featuring the iconic floral print are effortlessly classy and this Minerva floral dress is no exception. By now I think it is pretty evident that I adore a ‘fit and flare’ waist which is so flattering for all sizes and makes me feel like the Princess I have always dreamed of becoming. Whilst not jacquard or sequin, the floral dress still packs a pretty punch. Because of its shorter length and simple floral print, the dress can be again worn during the day and transformed through layering although it will create the most impact by night. By night the dress can be teamed with a faux fur shrug, pearls and embroidered heels to create a luxurious vibe.
What Is Your Favourite Coast Look?
‘In collaboration with Coast, but this does not affect my thoughts and opinions. Should you have any queries regarding my disclosure policy please contact me using the contact form provided.’