Meet the Bride and Maid

I was recently discussing with a friend how wedding ceremonies have changed in the last few years to what we remember when we were kids. As a little girl, most weddings I attended had an entourage of bridesmaids, all dressed in very colourful dresses which were sometimes hideous. This is of course still the tradition but at least the outfits are beautiful in most cases. Historically, it is said that bridesmaids’ role was to form some sort of a bridal troop to protect the bride from evil spirits. In the Roman times, the law allowed ten or more witnesses at a wedding and also it was a belief that bridesmaids should wear similar dresses to the bride in order to outsmart any ill-wishers or vile spirits – I wonder if this is what Pippa Middleton had in mind when she wore that bridesmaid’s dress for Kate’s wedding and did it work?(….well Kate and William do seem to be happy!).

The roles of bridesmaids is different now, instead of serving as ‘protective shields, they now have little exciting tasks in the wedding planning. In Zimbabwe, where I’m from, we love dancing at weddings, in fact whenever music plays, we dance. So bridesmaids and groomsmen are mostly responsible for doing choreographed dances to entertain the guests. I have seen that this is becoming a trend in Europe and US as well so bridesmaids are still not only about pretty faces and cute dresses!image

Last year when I was on holidays in Africa my Irish sister called me to tell me she was engaged and asked me to be her only bridesmaid/maid of honour. I was ecstatic, my head was buzzing with dozens of outfit ideas. Anyone who has watched The Bridesmaid movie will understand that having just one maid makes shopping for an outfit a lot simpler! We agreed that I could wear any dress but I couldn’t be any taller than her, so we spent more time on shoes than the dress. I tried many outfits, all very beautiful but I settled for this black and turquoise one shoulder dress. imageThe black-turquoise was a unique combination for a bridesmaid dress but the cut was right, it was different and if one has to spend a lot of money on an outfit, it might as well worth a few wears to get value for money. Besides the practicality of the dress, it really suited the day as it was a glamorous and elegant wedding. I will be wearing my dress again to a cocktail party next week.

If you are ever invited to be a bridesmaid, just remember , ‘A happy bridesmaid makes a happy bride’ so just KEEP SMILING! I wish all the August brides and grooms a very happy anniversary.

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Photo: Ashley Walsh Photography

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Wild and Dazzling

I recently read an article on why zebras have stripes! Many theories have been developed ever since Charles Darwin era. Some researchers hypothesised that the black and white (or is it white and black) stripes work as a camouflage from predators and that they also help zebras to stay cool in hot weather. Surprisingly, even after hundreds of years of study, the mystery is still far from being solved as there remains disagreements. From a fashion perspective, I find zebra print doing the opposite, instead of camouflaging, it makes you stand out in the crowd. The black and white gives both that warm and cool effect and the best thing is, it never goes out of fashion. In fact, every season and every year, zebra print is on trend.

Symmetrical stripe are known for their slimming effect so if you want to look slimmer, try the symmetrical zebra print outfit! I like the design on this Ossie Clark dress. It is elegantly cut and gives an illusion of body fullness to slim people. Great dress for a glamorous outdoor summer party or for a cheery day in the office!

imageDress from: Ossie Clark London – Debenhams Collection

I think the best way of wearing zebra print without looking tacky is to mix it with plain colour. Choose only one large part of your outfit that is wild. For instance, if your skirt or shorts are a zebra print, let the top/shoes be neutral. If it’s your dress that has the print, then let your shoes be plain black, red or cream/nude. I know not everybody has the audacity to wear fiery colours, but a new way of wearing zebra print is mixing it with bright colours and it’s worth a try. I find red goes well with zebra prints! Zebra print dress with red belt, red shoes or red handbag will give you that polished look.imageShorts from: Zara ; Belt and top from Primark

If you want to have fun with fashion and be attractive and wild at the same time, go ahead and get yourself a zebra-print piece. Just as Zebras are the beauties of the wild, you can also be a dazzling and daring Queen of the Jungle!

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Lady in Red

During the week, I was walking home from work when I passed by a grocery shop where they were playing the Chris de Burgh classic Lady in red. As most people would do, I absently started humming away because I know the lyrics very well……right!! The song had me earwormed all the way home and I started seeing red everywhere. I spotted a little girl of about 4 wearing a stunning little white dress with red cherries and cute red shoes;  another lady had a gorgeous pair of red shoes on and bright red lipstick and I wondered, to myself, about the colour red.  We hear of Red Devils in sports; we have red roses in the garden and even have charities such as the Red Cross. So, what makes red have more personal ‘associations’ than any other colour?

As I was rooting through the Internet looking for answers, I came across an interesting piece on colour psychology. According to colour psychology, Red is the colour of extremes. It’s the colour of passionate love, seduction and adventure. It is energising, it excites the emotions and motivates us. It is also strong-willed and can give confidence to those who are shy or lacking in will power.  However,  they warn that being surrounded by too much of the colour red can cause us to become irritated, agitated and ultimately angry.

Interested as I was, I thought of putting this to the test. I have few shades of red colour clothing in my wardrobe. So, here is what I felt after wearing each outfit. The crimson and white combination was fun, simple but strikingly colourful. It certainly energised me and is great summer wear.

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Jeggings: Born Clothing; T-shirt and scarf from Primark; Shoes from Paul Byron Shoes

From the street look to catwalk! I absolutely love this midi skirt. It is fashionable, classy and stylish! The skirt is adorned in floral red embroidered on gold to give it a vintage appeal. I wanted to be adventurous in bringing out the colourfulness of the skirt, so I wore a crotchet candy top and red shoes. Very comfortable as day or evening wear, this outfit made me feel trendy and modest at the same time!

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Skirt from Born Clothing; Top from H&M; Shoes from Dunness Stores

Don’t be scared to paint your wardrobe with different colours. Paint is not permanent and you can always change it.

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Explosion of colours……tie and dye moments.

Have you ever spilt something on your brand new or favourite dress, shirt, top, trousers or jeans and left a permanent stain? You start to think of the amount of money you spent on it, how it was the only one left in the shop in your size and if you are a bargain hunter like me, you start calculating how much you will pay for the same outfit on full price and all these thoughts makes you want to coil in a ball and just cry.

It happened to me once, I had royal blue top and which I liked very much. The colour was rich, the fabric was nice on the skin and it was just well fitted and comfortable. One bad morning, I decided to buy a black coffee which is a rare occurrence and when I was about to leave the shop someone bumped into me and I had coffee all over my top. I went home and decided to clean the mess myself. I reached for the bleach….and poured it straight on to the stain and throw it into the washing machine. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I took it out, the coffee stain was gone but my lovely top was no longer royal blue. It had turned into different shades of blue with a hint of white. I could only blame myself for that. I thought of throwing it away or giving it away because I couldn’t bear the sight of it, then I thought about the fabric and the comfort and decided to keep it and wear as a casual top. Then something happened, a neighbour complimented me about it and a lady in the local shop wanted to know where I bought my tie and dye top! That moment, it hit me. I had made my own tie and dye top accidentally, how cool was that? I wore that top until it got worn out so I have no evidence of it….sorry!!

I hadn’t owned another tie and dye until two years ago when I found these tie and dye Maxim jeans in TKMaxx. They are colourful and funky and I love wearing them during summer times. The same year a friend gave me a present of this maxi kimono green dress which she bought on line. It’s great for those sunny days or the beach.

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The stripe DVF (Diane von Furstenberg) wrap dress is one of my best dresses. It is lively, has a mixture of colour, elegance and simplicity. The dress can be worn day or night, for special occasions or the office.The great thing about tie and dyes clothing is that it can be worn by anyone throughout the year.

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So as you can see, my tie and dye journey started quite by accident but it opened up a new world of style choices for me!

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The African Pride

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, you will have heard about Cecil the Lion’s painful death. I won’t get into detail about Cecil as you may already be attuned to the story. I’m a native of Zimbabwe, so was Cecil the Lion and coincidentally my totem is ‘Shumba’ which means lion (lioness in my case). To those not familiar with the word, a totem is an animal, plant, or natural object that serves as the emblem of a clan or family among a tribal or traditional people.

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So as the world ‘mourn’ Cecil the Lion, I thought about my heritage and I felt a strong rush of nostalgia. I wanted to connect with my lioness nature through my dress. As it was a nice lazy sunny day, I decided to go for the ‘safari look’. I rooted through my wardrobe and came across my African native t-shirt and my leopard print head scarf which I bought in Zimbabwe few years ago and the shorts from Roxy fashion. I have learnt that one doesn’t have to break the bank in order to look beautiful. It’s simply the basic clothes that makes a person stand out at times. When you feel down, look into your wardrobe, there is always a hidden piece of clothing that could change your mood. It’s amazing how a simple outfit lifted my spirit up.

imageAs I’m standing here dreaming of my motherland with all its beauty and life, I feel awesome.

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Photo courtesy of Pooja Sharma