Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Oh, Dorothy!

This is a Toast Post about dresses.  (If you prefer to read about my actual life, scroll down a few posts!)  In fact, this is a post about Dorothy Perkins dresses, but in classic Bette style, I'm going to witter on about myself for a bit first, so sit tight and wait a few minutes!

This is not a dress.  This is a skirt that I bought in my favourite charity shop in Uppingham.  Despite Uppingham being populated only by elderly people and boarding school junior yuppies, I always find something nice to buy in their Age Concern!  Most recently it was a sparkly red and black dress - in the words of my mum; "tarty", and in the words of my Granny; "Well. We'll certainly see you coming in that."
Anyway, the skirt has a broken zip, so I pin it at my waist, which is good because I can make it sit higher and fit in a more flattering way.  I'm wearing it with a random white top, a mini cardi-thing I bought in America after I did my A-Levels, socks and my super cool Fred Astaire shoes, which were also from Dorothy Perkins, now I think of it.  I was going for a '50s bobby-soxer sort of look, and I wanted a little scarf round my neck with it, but I didn't have one the right colours, but I did find a very '50s-ish pink beads necklace which did the trick instead.

And then I made a cake for Alice, in my funky vintage apron.

I think it's high time that my job starts again - I clearly have too much time on my hands at present!

Anyhoo, that was on Monday, and on Tuesday I cycled into town on a birthday-present-hunt, and I accidentally bought three dresses in Dorothy Perkins.
(I say "bought" - in fact, thanks to a gift card end-of-term present from the loveliest children in the world, who like to fuel Miss Hamer's dresses addiction, plus an attractive buy-one-get-one-free offer on the sale dregs, I actually only had to cough up a very small number of pounds.)

I in fact only went into Dotty P's in the first place to look for yellow tights, which I desire for an upcoming Batman characters fancy dress party.

That's Bette Kane, aka Flamebird, and although I have never watched/read/whatevered any Batman thing in my life, she's my favourite because her name's Bette Flamebird (although I'm informed she's not actually called Bette Flamebird!  Just Flamebird on its own!) and when I'm a famous burlesque dancer my stage name is going to be Bette Flame.  (I chose it years ago, and if any other burlesque wannabes nick it in the meantime, I shall be forced to strangle them with their own G-strings. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)

Sooner or later I might actually get round to talking about the actual purpose of this post, the lovely Dorothy Perkins A/W11 Fit and Flare colour block dresses!

I didn't even make it to the tights section, as I was immediately distracted by the colourful collection of these cute, simple, '60s-inspired dresses, which Dotty P herself had styled with bright tights and shoes, creating an irresistable display of fun autumnal cosiness.  I instantly forgot about Flamebird and her yellow tights and made a beeline for the display, with the memory of my gift card dancing before my eyes.  On closer inspection I found that the dresses may look like various colourways of the same thing, but they're actually all slightly different - some have zips, some are two-tone, they have slightly different seams, different sleeves, varying fullness of skirt...  I was besotted.  They're varying prices too, but the ones that took my fancy the most were £22, which I thought was very reasonable for Dorothy Perkins these days, where you can now expect to pay upwards of thirty-five quid for a dress.  (Well, one can expect to pay that much.  I have no intention of spending £35 on one frock.  £22, paid-for-by-generous-gift-card, on the other hand, I can get on board with!)  I took a couple into the changing room to try on, and quickly decided on a jade green one with elbow-length sleeves.  At the risk of looking Christmassy, I might have to avoid red accessories with it, but I'm excited to attack it with garishly-coloured jewellery.  The sleeves are the perfect length for showing off bracelets, as is the scoop neck for necklaces, and I think the heavy fabric and retro shape of the bodice will look nice and vintagey with brooches.  It's such a pretty colour that it looks just fine by itself, though.  With bright tights.  And shoes.  And possibly a beret.

I couldn't find any pictures online of the collection to show you, so I decided instead to play around on Polyvore (I echo my earlier 'Time I went back to work' sentiment!) and make some outfits.  Obviously I got carried away with the bright colours.  So, if you want to gaze upon a subtly complementary palette of neatly-accessorised autumnal dresses, head to your nearest Dorothy Perkins and check out the window display.  If you want to see my crayon-box efforts, read on!

Fit and Flare #1
Fit and Flare #2Fit and Flare #3 
Hmm, why so much white space?  More Polyvore practice needed, methinks!
Anyway, pretty dresses.  Here's a sneaky peek at how I intend to wear mine:

Oh!  And if anyone was wondering what became of the other two dresses I acquired that day, well, one was a red lacy skater dress type thing (which may come in for my Bette Flamebird costume, now I come to think of it) that was vastly reduced in the end of the sale, and then I needed something else to get for free but I didn't like ANYTHING else on the BOGOF rail.  I picked up some boring top, but then I saw some little frilly dresses in pretty colours so I grabbed one of those without trying it on, or in fact looking very closely at it.  Of course it wasn't until the lady was ringing it up that I noticed it was in fact a maternity dress!  I thought "Ah well, it was free anyway, I'll sell it on ebay and make a profit), but once I had tried it on out of morbid curiosity, I found that it actually looked pretty nice.  It's got a sort of adjustable waist tie which gathers up the front of the dress, depending on how great with child you are, and for someone either at the beginning of her pregnancy (or WITHOUT a bun in the oven, thankyouverymuch), the result is actually very flattering.  And you can't tell it's a maternity dress at all!  (Except, you know what will happen - every time I get a compliment on it, I won't be able to resist telling the 'I accidentally bought a maternity dress' story...)  Brilliant!  I might always wear maternity dresses now!

Three cheers, Dorothy Perkins!


  1. No wayyyy, i so nearly bought this dress yesterday! I really wanted the £35 version one though, but was going to compromise with the £22 and then remembered that i'm on a clothes-buying ban and somehow managed to walk out with neither. Still really want the £35 one though :(

  2. Haha, what a coincidence! I want the bright blue version too, and maybe the red version so I can wear it with yellow tights in real life, not just for fancy dress. What colour were you considering?

  3. Was the cake more successful than our attempt?

  4. Yes, it was eminently better than our attempt. I expect it was because we neglected to wear aprons the first time.

  5. I love the skirt that you were wearing :)


  6. Looking like Christmas is awesome! xox


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