Red, white and blue

Amber in Zara stripe tulip dress on the balcony at Clearwater

Amber in Zara tulip dress

Amber in stripe dress

Amber in Zara tulip dress

(Zara dress; Christian Louboutin shoes; Gucci sunglasses)

Today is the 4th of July (Happy 4th, American friends!), and even although that fact has absolutely no relevance for me whatsoever, I figured I’d show you this little red, white and blue outfit, in honour of the occasion. And also because this is the next outfit I was planning on posting anyway, so that worked out pretty well, hey?

Now, before I say anything about this outfit, I need to first of all explain the massive packing fail I committed for this trip. See, I’m bad at packing: always have been, always will be. There’s a reason I always shop a lot on holiday, and it’s not JUST because I shop a lot ANYWAY. No, it’s mostly because I’m a terrible, terrible packer.

It’s not for the lack of trying, either. No, actually, wait, let’s be honest: it really IS for the lack of trying. I mean, I KNOW all the rules of capsule wardrobe-creation. I’ve read the same articles you have. I know about the colours-which-all-effortlessly-go-with-each-other, the mix-n-match separates, the two pairs of carefully-chosen shoes that will take you absolutely everywhere. I know. I’ve even done it once or twice. The thing is, though… I HATE the “capsule wardrobe”. HATE it. Because, OMG, BORING.

I like to take ALL the things with me when I travel. I have this horror, you see, of being somewhere and thinking, “Mmm, you know what would be the perfect outfit for this situation I suddenly find myself in? That dress I left hanging at home in the wardrobe.” And honestly, two pairs of shoes? What is this, Sophie’s Choice?

Also, and this is important: for me, a trip abroad is often the only opportunity I get to wear my summer clothes. I love summer clothes. I hate winter ones. I may have mentioned this once or twice. But summer in the UK lasts two weeks (if we’re REALLY lucky, I mean, and we never are), so vacation time is really the ONLY time I get to dress the way I want to dress, as opposed to the way I have to dress.

So I overpack. And yes, I do it deliberately.

With all of this over-packing, then, you’d think that at least I’d have endless outfit options, and would never find myself lacking for something appropriate to wear, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong, though. I pack lots of stuff, but I pack the WRONG stuff. Every. Single. Time. Once time, for instance, I packed only black clothes. For a beach holiday. Another time, I only took stripey clothes, so I looked like a sailor the whole time. Oh no, wait: that’s just my normal life, isn’t it? Let’s not even talk about the time I climbed a mountain in a pair of clogs. Or, indeed, the fact that I once owned clogs.

(I was a teenager, OK? They were fashionable at the time…)

On this particular trip, I committed no less than three packing offences. They were, in no particular order:

1. Packing with the assumption that I would, at all times, be either:

a) on the beach


b) at a fancy party in 1958

And, of course, we were only at the beach for  a week, and we didn’t visit 1958 AT ALL (It was closed, apparently), so… yeah. That didn’t really work out too well, did it? In fact, almost all of the 34 bikinis I packed (only slight exaggeration) remained unworn, because, honestly, I don’t even LIKE wearing bikinis.

2. Almost every single item in my case was either:

a) spotty


b) stripey

Seriously, I can think of maybe two outfits that didn’t have either a spotty or stripey element. At one point I managed an unbroken streak of, like, 12 days in a row in polka dots. Then I switched to stripes. GOD.

3. I didn’t pack any accessories. At all.

 OK, I did pack some belts. As you can see from these photos, though, I’m not wearing any of them. In fact, I’m not even wearing my wedding ring, or my watch. It’s a wonder I even managed to dress myself at all, isn’t it?

Because I didn’t pack accessories (and also because it took me two days to remember where I’d hidden the belts), this outfit is a lot simpler than even I would normally wear it.   And, I mean, I’m not really big on accessories at the best of times. And yes, it’s because I’m lazy. But even I would normally have added a little something to this outfit, but I didn’t. So there you have it.

About the dress, by the way: it’s one of THOSE dresses. Yes, one of the ones with a story.  And its story is almost identical to the story of the mint green Zara dress: it’s  a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury of me finding a dress, loving a dress, not buying a dress, the dress selling out, me searching eBay for months and finally hunting it down. And actually, this one was even WORSE than the whole “mint dress” saga, because I had multiple opportunities to buy this dress. It was in store last summer, when I was in California, and every single Zara I visited (And I visited a LOT of Zaras, let me tell you…) had the dress. In my size. Sometimes ONLY in my size, actually. Sometimes there would be just one solitary dress hanging there, all lonely. And it would be my size. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

But I didn’t buy it. No, it was… too easy. I like a challenge with my shopping, you see. OK, I don’t: I didn’t buy it because I stupidly convinced myself I’d never wear it. Then the second I got home, I realised my life would be empty and meaningless without a stripey dress with a pouffy tulip skirt. It took about six month’s worth of eBay alerts before it came down in price enough for me to buy it for less than retail (I have a “rule” when shopping on eBay: I refuse to pay more than the retail price of something, no matter how much I want it…). And I DID wear it. Which just goes to show how stupid I was LAST summer, eh? (I did an even worse job of packing for that trip, I mean, seriously.)

My point? You’re going to be seeing an awful lot of spots and stripes over the next few posts. (Even more than usual, I mean. ) And not a lot of accessories…

red Christian Louboutin shoes

Zara stripe tulip dress


(This is what I was looking at while these were being taken. Purty, no?)