Dear Wardrobe Mistress…

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of posts featuring your real life wardrobe worries, clothing conundrums, fashion faux pas’s, designer disasters and any other alliterations remotely related to style and shopping!

Think of Wardrobe Mistress as your friendly fashion agony aunt – she’s here to answer your questions, allay your fashion fears and dish out advice to those in need. She is mistress of all she surveys… i.e. her own closet and given half the chance, she’d like to come and survey yours too. Failing that, she’s happy to answer your clothing questions.

First up is the gorgeous gourmet goddess blogger, English Mum. This lucky lady is soon to jet off to Mexico courtesy of Thomson to review a new eco resort on the Riviera Maya. She will be staying at one of their flagship properties, the Sensatori resort. As well as holding credentials for it’s advanced sustainability practices, it also has an emphasis on style. We like!

Because English Mum is flying out of Ireland onwards to Gatwick, she is only taking hand luggage. Yes… I know… I hear the screams of over-packers everywhere… my own included. She needs to look fabulous on a budget, wants to know what to pack for evening wear but doesn’t do heels, requires daytime footwear and wonders whether shorts are still on trend. She does have a couple of very nice bikini’s already so it’s down to me to come up with the non-swimwear solutions.

Fear not for Wardrobe Mistress loves a challenge….

The reality of travelling with carry on luggage only means that you have to make sure that what you take is inter-changable and can be dressed up or down accordingly. Travel in lightweight trousers, a T shirt, longline cardigan and ballet flats that can all be used when you get there. Make use of the laundry service to get these clean on arrival so you either have them to hand or fresh for the journey home.

Embroidered Bandini Flutter Kaftan – £30 Accessorize, White Crochet Kaftan – £32 Accessorize, Cutwork Beaded Kaftan – £30 Oasis

An absolute essential for any beach holiday and especially when travelling light, is the kaftan. Choose a print, plain or embellished but choose wisely and it will serve as beach cover-up, something to go down to breakfast in with shorts and can also take you to the bar later on. Apparently English Mum will be mostly found in the mojito bar… my kind of girl!

Amelie Flower Toepost Sandal – £22 Oasis, Slim Peacock Havaianas – £22 Jones The Bootmakers, Nude Twist Toepost Sandals – £14 Dorothy Perkins

Flat doesn’t have to mean frumpy on holiday. Pretty thong sandals for evening with hot pink painted tootsies will look gorgeous. For daywear I would go with Havaianas – I have a pair and they are so comfortable and last for ever. They also have stylish connotations with the jet set and are seen on the beach residing feet of many celebrities.

Digital Print Maxi Dress – £10 Oasis, Necklace Maxi Dress – £15 Oasis

The maxi dress solves so many holiday wardrobe dilemmas and I live in mine when I go away. One of these solves the jewellery issue and would still look fabulous when paired with the beaded sandals. The other is very Christopher Kane Galaxy Print… for the absolute bargain price of £10! Check out Oasis, Dorothy Perkins and – they all have great selections at reasonable prices.

Botanical Floral Top – £22 Miss Selfridge, Support Vest – £26 The White Company, Orange Balloon sleeve Top – £26 Dorothy Perkins, Khaki Side Tab Shorts – £20 Dorothy Perkins

The great thing about shorts and tops is that they take up little space so go for two or three to ring the changes. English Mum asked if shorts are still in – in this instance I don’t think it matters. It’s what you pair with them that can either make them look current or drag you into dreary tourist territory. For holidays, a pair of casual khakis or denim cut offs always look good – just avoid the Birkenstocks and go with the Havaianas or beaded sandals for style points.

For tops, pick one cami or vest preferably with hidden support such as this one from The White Company to avoid the whole bra strap slippage issue.  Go for one loose fitting for a little coverage in the sun when needed – the floral print top from Miss Selfridge is perfect for the spring summer 2011 floral trend and will look great with the shorts. The orange top from Dorothy Perkins is perfect for a more casual evening out – just pile on the accessories. Make sure all your combo’s go with the trousers you wear for the journey out.

Cutwork Tan Belt – £15 Accessorize, Ethnic Bangle Stack – £20 Dorothy Perkins, Tribal Beaded Necklace – £11 Warehouse, Straw Crochet Bag – £30 Warehouse, Organza Flower Clip – £7 Accesorize

Accessories are perfect for ringing the changes with everything you pack. As a starter I would pick and choose from a wide tan belt, statement necklace, a cuff or bangle stack and a great beach bag. Buy a floppy straw sun hat when you get there and team with big sunnies for this season’s 70’s chic and that all important coverage from the suns rays. Flower clips make great holidays additions too, either with beachy hair or on a maxi dress.

So there you have it English Mum… you’re all set for a fabulous holiday. And if you need me to come with you as your personal stylist, fetcher of mojitos and general beach attendant, I can make myself available….

If you have a clothing crisis that you’d like Wardrobe Mistress to solve then either leave a comment or drop me an email at:

Dorothy Perkins

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  1. says

    Oh yes, I can just see lovely English Mum in these bits. My faves are the Botanical Miss Selfridge Floral Top, and the beaded kaftan from Oasis. Makes me pine for summer tho, as I am not off to the Sensatori resort, lucky English Mum ..although she does very much deserve it 😉 x

  2. says

    wow! That Oasis maxi is a BARGAIN!!! So tempted to get it :) Have added it to my basket already!! :)

    You are a bad influence Wardrobe Mistress!!


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