My Favourite Cheap, Cheerful and Chic Holiday Dress: And Shopping in my Closet

It’s officially the holiday season and dressing in our festive best is almost an official requirement. I know I speak for many of us when I say that there is a huge temptation to buy a festive dress or two when one is out shopping these days. The high street is full of gorgeous sparkly numbers and the sparkly sequins and decadent velvets almost seduce you into purchasing them by the allure of their colours and textures. Thank God I was never as easily seduced by men as I am by clothes or I would have been in big trouble!

This year, I decided that I was not going to purchase multiple festive outfits, alas, because my holiday social calendar just does not justify them.  If you have multiple opportunities to wear festive clothes then, by all means, the purchases may be justified. I find that part of the problem with holiday outfits is that often they seem unwearable once the new year starts and the whole country returns to the official January colours – grey and black.  Therefore, my plan for 2018 is to minimize my holiday dress purchase to one.  I then plan to concentrate on one of the principles that I often talk about on the blog – going shopping in my closet. I firmly believe this is an exercise that must be performed frequently  – treasures are hidden in our closets in plain sight. Furthermore, we need to shop in our closets not just for clothes but also to utilize our many accessories such as jewellery, belts and hats.

As a woman of Indian origin, I have amassed a variety of costume jewellery of an ethnic bent and I often forget how much I enjoy paring it with western outfits. This blazing red midi dress is my cheap cheerful and chic festive dress purchase of the season from H&M for £17.99.  It’s a beautifully vibrant colour and is made from a self-embossed flowy fabric.  The front is open and the waistline a bit low for my body, so I have redefined the waist with a wide belt that I usually flirt with on the hook without actually ever taking it down to wear.  The open front is a great feature of the dress as it allows for a variety of pairing and in this weather, a sparkly polo-neck top would look fabulous under this dress.

As I shopped in my closet for some accessories, I was drawn to these beautiful ethnic bangles; two gold and one black and gold that add a hint of the unexpected and match my dangling black earrings perfectly.  Last but not least, my closet yielded this embossed clutch bag, that along with the embossed belt added a perfect blend of textured leather to the outfit. A long black double-breasted coat and my trusty black heeled boots are the final touches to this festive outfit.  I love the classic black and red combination and I think the solid colours make for a chic festive outfit that works both at the office and out of it.

So that’s my personal tip for the holiday season: purchase wisely from the shops and with gusto from your wardrobe! I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and I look forward to your feedback.  Have a great last week before the holiday festivities really kick off and as always, thank you for visiting Isha’s verdict.

Clothes and accessories:

Red Dress – H&M

Belt – Karen Millen

Boots – Dune Black

Handbag – Ted Baker

Camisole – Uniqlo

Coat – DKNY



Festive Dressing Series: Sparkling Sequin Top With a Lace Pencil Skirt

A few days ago, I spent time with a dear old friend that I had not had the privilege of meeting for a few years.  She had gone through a rough patch in her life with the breakup of a long-term marriage and the subsequent after-math that is natural in these circumstances.  It was lovely to see her and we spent hours chatting and catching up only the way girlfriends can.  She seemed to be over the worst and looked relaxed and happy. I commented on how great she looked and she acknowledged that her emotional recovery had been fundamental in helping her look and feel great again.  She stated that ‘happy hormones’ were flowing through her body once again and as a concerned friend I was relieved to hear that. Then suddenly her brow furrowed and looking anxious she said, “There is an other problem now though – it’s literally keeping me up at night”. Genuinely worried, I inquired as to what this new problem was. She said, ‘these new ‘happy hormones’ are giving me horrible pimples – I have a new pimple every morning and it is ruining my life!” For ten seconds I just stared at her and then we both burst out laughing. Girls will be girls and if it’s not one thing, it’s another! (for the record, I did take my friend’s permission to recite this anecdote on the blog).

On a serious note, spending time with her was a great reminder of the beauty and power of friendships. Male or female, friendships are a gift and I know that I am a better person for being a friend to my friends.  So even though it is not ‘Friendship Day’ I wanted to take this opportunity to rave about the grandeur of friendship and remind my readers about the beauty of friendships new and old this festive season.

Clothes are like friends, I love them! I absolutely adore this colourful sequined top – the colours are bright and lovely and the bling is so on-point given the festive season. I have paired my sequined top  with a lace pencil skirt which seem to be all over the high street at the moment, in every colour and design conceivable. I am a fan of the ‘retro element’ of this leather jacket and I think it adds a playful element to the overall styling. I believe the star of this outfit is the sequined top which would look great with most things including skinny and wide-legged trousers.

I hope you enjoy the styling and thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog.  Have a great rest of the week!

(Clothes and Accessories: Top –  ASOS (Lost Ink), Skirt – Banana Republic, Leather Jacket – Urban Code, Clutch – Modalu)