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A dress for all seasons

Zimmermann Ninety-Six Shirt Dress

This season is all about puffy sleeves. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I have an obsession with anything that has puffy sleeves! When I saw this gorgeous linen Zimmermann Ninety-Six Shirt Dress in pansy with balloon cuff-sleeves and side splits, it was on my had-to-have list. A dress for all seasons. With a European summer trip coming up, it would be a great piece to take with me. But, to my horror, trying it on for the first time didn’t go too well. Somehow a few kilos had crept onto my small frame over the last couple of months (from over-indulgence) so the dress was tight and I felt like a puff-ball wearing it.

The Not-So-Perfect Fit

This was just what I needed to get myself back on track to getting healthy again. Luckily for me, it was a lot of fluid retention which reduced dramatically within a week – with clean eating and exercise. I felt good enough to purchase the dress and it fits beautifully. There’s still some work to do to reach my ideal state of fitness but I’m really happy with the results so far. My Europe trip is in 10 weeks so I have time to get back into shape.

A Versatile Dress

To be honest, this dress is ideally suited for taller people. If you’re shorter, you risk being drowned in all that fabric. The long cuff-sleeves are gorgeous but can make shorter people look even shorter – unless you’re super thin and can pull it off. The trick is to show some arm to make you look taller. Just by tucking the cuff-sleeves up gives this dress puffier sleeves and suddenly I feel so glamorous wearing it!

The cuff-sleeves will be great worn at full length when the weather gets colder. This is a dress I’m keeping in my wardrobe for a very long time! It’s great in winter with some boots and in summer with dressy sneakers, sandals or heels for spring and summer. For this particularly warm race day, I decided to style it with a pair of white heels with bows. The heels complimented my headpiece which also sported a bow.

Autumn-Appropriate Racewear

The weather has been unusually warm for autumn and I was really missing getting dressed up for the races and socialising with my fellow FOTF fashionistas. There’s not a lot of FOTF events within close proximity to me during autumn. A few days ago, a lovely friend brought Balnarring Picnic Races to my attention. After hearing that they were giving away a trip to Darwin, with the opportunity to attend the Darwin Cup, I started planning my outfit. Two days was sufficient to create an autumn-appropriate headpiece to wear with my beautiful new dress, as I didn’t have much else going on.

It was a nice break from entertaining the little one during the school holiday! My first choice for this dress would be a lavender felt fedora but it takes at least a week to source the material for it. The next best thing would be to design and create a trans-seasonal velvet headpiece. My millinery label was in need of a new design so this was a great motivation for one. Franke Stewart in Hawthorn has a fabulous range of luxe velvets and I found the perfect shade of lilac there.

Beautiful Bows

Bows were huge last season and I see the trend continuing into the next season. So many fashionable ladies wore over-sized bows during the last Spring Racing Carnival. Wanting my piece to be different, I decided to go with a velvet crown with a non-structured wired bow on the side. It’s not the easiest piece to make and took many hours of hand-sewing. There were a couple of moments where I nearly threw it into the bin! That happens a lot when I’m working quickly on a new design under time pressure! On completion, it’s a piece I love wearing, in the colour I just adore. Looks like I’ll be making this piece in a few different colours for my new millinery collection.

Race Day Disaster

Then, on the morning of the race day, they announce that the races are cancelled due to problems with the Balnarring race track! My beautiful outfit would have to stay in the closet for a while longer. All the other FOTF events over the weekend were a little too far for my liking. Although I was disappointed in not being able to attend the event, I felt sorry for the race course. So much money and effort are put into such an event that it’s devastating to have to call it off so last minute! It was such a gloriously sunny day as well! Oh well, there will be plenty of other opportunities to wear this gorgeous outfit later on in the year.

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