I'd set my heart on the Tressi tutu-style skirt featured in my "Dream Date" outfit as soon as I'd laid eyes on it, so was desolate to discover it sold out in my size by the time I found out I'd won, and decided to bide my time, haunting Coast's New In section until another garment bewitched me in an equally compelling would-quite-possibly-kill-for-it type manner... Finally, as "spring" (I think we'd all agree it required quotation marks this year) prepared to give way to summer, seasonal chocolate disappeared from the supermarket shelves for 3 minutes and the fields o'erflowed with gamboling lambs, who should appear but Tressi, reincarnated and freshly dip-dyed for the new season!
Not only did she satisfy my 3-month-long craving for a just-below-the-knee tutu and tick "ombre" off my "urgently need to acquire in order to retain self respect as fashion blogger" list, but I nabbed a jammy £23 student discount with my NUS card, taking her down to (a by now clearly bargainous) £92.
As you'd expect, Tressi is beautifully crafted, sublimely comfortable, and a precise fit as per the Coast size guide, with layers of satin and tulle combining to create the picture-perfect '50s-Dior silhouette. Although the colour is described as "mocha", mine has more than a hint of dusky lilac about her (fading to off-white, with both satin underskirt and tulle netting dyed), which I personally love - perfect with neutrals like the monochrome and soft grey hues I've paired her with, accessorised with oodles of glitz.
If you've already dismissed tutus as acceptable attire only for the birthday bashes of pre-schoolers, I beg of you - open your mind - they are FUN. And yes, I have managed to tease out a few more styling ideas since my last How to Wear the Tutu post - the difficult part isn't actually finding new ways to wear them, but trying to stop! For now, I've limited myself to creating (more or less) 9 looks with the help of 3 different tops - a cropped boyfriend tee, striped shirt and sheer lace peplum top (plus unlimited accessories) - which could take you from Shoreditch tavern to Buckingham Palace banqueting hall (if they so happen to be regular haunts).
The Cropped Boyfriend Tee
1. White Swan
Skirt: Coast (Available Here); Top, Shoes and Headdress: All Primark (Current)
Praise be to the grey marl tee - the
lazy savvy gal's instant dresser-downer/edger-upper. This cropped, slouchy version is the perfect replacement for winter's sloppy knits... and will reduce your bank balance by just £3 (which surely justifies an investment in the skirt). It also tips the fash balance far enough away from Ballerina Barbie and toward hipster to allow for a little fun in the shape of an amaaaazing Swan Lake-esque headdress - apparently a Primark Oxford Street Exclusive, I cannot believe that this only cost me £4.
2. Spiked Swan
Skirt, Top and Headdress: As Above, Trainers: Primark (Current)
Adding a little '80s dash-and-derring-do with wedge high tops... no, I'm still not taking the feathers and pearls off.
3. Beanie Baby
Skirt, Top and Trainers: As Above, Beanie: New Look
Oh OK, let's try something else... this is one of the infamous beanies given out at the New Look AW13 press events... not sure I'd ever have invested in one of my own accord (too "annoying boys kicking air flow balls around the playground circa 1995") but I must admit to having developed a now-not-so-covert passion for them since they found their way into my hands and thence onto my bonce... so cheers, New Look!
The Striped Shirt
4-6. Bowled Over
Skirt: Coast (Available Here); Shirt, Hat and White Shoes: All Primark, Black Shoes: Pied A Terre
Having eyed this striped boyfriend shirt across the rails for several long weeks, I relinquished my willpower, and £12, just in time to nab the last one in my size - well, as I've discovered many times over already this season, stripes always return on their investment, with interest. I found that plain white shirts looked a little too Pink Lady (yep, turns out there is such a thing) with such a frothy delight of a skirt, but monochrome tones + graphic stripes turned out to be the perfect foil for Tressi's apparent desire to participate in a Rydell High pep rally. Simply add bowler +/- brogues for a touch of offbeat boy-meets-girl chic (and happy feet), or courts for added ladylike glam (and potentially angry feet)... This would have been the perfect moment to try white heels if every pair in my price range within a 20 mile radius didn't seem to have sold out - grr.
P.S. I will own that simply holding the hat rather than wearing it may not in itself constitute a separate "look" - I did say "more or less", OK?
The Lace Peplum
Skirt: Coast (Available Here), Top: Primark, Collar: Dorothy Perkins (Current), Shoes c/o F&F at Tesco (Current)
Once I'd sated my urges to subvert, grunge down and "man" up, it was high time to embrace Tressi's full, gloriously girly, vintage-vibin' Grace-Kelly-meets-Anna-Pavlova-meets-Fairy-Godmother potential. Starting with lace, frothy peplums, sweetie-tastic collar necklaces and Twix-wrapper stilettos - what else?
8. Flower Fairy
Skirt and Top: As Above, Floral Crown and Boots: Both Primark
A little unplanned detour through flower-studded pastures on the way to my last look - my floral crown and printed Lita-dupes are never too far from my grasp at the moment! And yes, this is the same peplum top, masquerading as a simple vest - who doesn't love a BOGOF?
9. Diamonds Are My Bestest Friends
Skirt and Top: As Above, Headdress and Shoes: Both Primark, Shrug: Jane Norman, Necklace: Peacocks
Well OK, diamante... My final look was inspired by the "Dream Date" ensemble in my winning Dating Dress Diary entry post (see it here). This is one piece which is exceptionally receptive to styling up (as well as down) without looking crass and overdone - OK, circumstances may never necessitate the wearing of diamonds, faux fur, sheer lace and glittery shoes, topped off with a Sugar Plum Fairy 'do, but sometimes you just want to - anyone with me?!