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

or

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

or

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

rainbow

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

16 Comments

  • I wish I could tell you how gorgeous you are everyday, without sounding creepy!

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress and u look absolutely stunning in it. I have been following shoeperwoman but didnt know of this blog. Count me as your devoted follower.

    Ivy
    http://notsopoisonous-ivy.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Thank you – I’m blushing :)

  • Roisin says:

    Heee! I hate packing as well – I *can* pack light, but it’s never massively successful. I miss having all the things. And I can only ever seem to bring one pair of earrings. Still, you look fabulous in that dress so, you know, there’s that x

    • Amber says:

      Any time I’ve managed to successfully pack a capsule wardrobe, I’ve ended shopping too much to “supplement” it because I get so bored with it. I’m telling myself that if it’s a choice between over-packing or over-shopping, over-packing is actually the right, virtuous thing to do. Although, sometimes I ALSO go with the over-shopping option. Well, you can’t be too careful, can you?

      And thank you – the dress is one of my favourites: it’s much too short to get away with at home, but I always feel like different rules apply on holiday for some reason!

  • Haha Amber I think packing is the one thing that sends women into a total panic about going on holiday – I’m the same as you, I just want my whole entire wardrobe with me… it would be so much easier!!!! My tip for accessories! I wear a ton of jewellery, but it weighs so much – that means less clothes or shoes in your suitcase: I wear it ALL on the plane rather than packing it. Four watches, six necklaces, a gazillion bracelets – the only downside is taking it on and off at security =nightmare=!!

    Anyhoo this outfit really couldn’t look any cuter – the shoes and up-do are divine, they really look wonderful with the stripes. Oh and I know you didn’t go but where is 1958? I’d like to go there one year ;)

    take care sweetie

    Catherine x
    notdressedaslamb.com

  • Call me M says:

    Even without accessories you look gorgeous! I loved both the dress and the wedges (the most beautiful wedges ever).
    And don’t worry, I think no one likes packing. I sure don’t.

  • Nina says:

    Super duper lovely! Worth all the stress and ebay alerts, really – you’re a total Audrey-lookalike! And whatever that rainbow-esque sky phenomenon is, it does look very pretty as well :) Looking forward to all the dots and stripes!

  • Siel says:

    Don’t worry, you look amazing! Holiday outfits are always a bit more relaxed than ‘at home’ outfits, so not many accessories are required! And the pretty view makes up for it ;) Always love white, red & blue combinations!
    I suck at packing too. I always postpone it till the very last minute and then forget the most essentials! Thank god Zara has shops all around the world haha :)

  • Tracey says:

    “And honestly, two pairs of shoes? What is this, Sophie’s Choice?”

    I just spat tea all over my monitor. Brilliant.

  • Panthera says:

    I like the bare look, it suits the holiday wibe :)

    Finally remembered to check in here to read the latest post. I usually read it on my iPad either through the Rss feed or social media, but lately the instagram feed here overlays the text and blocks about the last 5-6 words of every sentence.
    Thought I’d let you know in case you didn’t know. It’s probably not important, I will follow your blog anyway! ;)

    • Amber says:

      Oh dear, sorry about that! I’m not actually sure why that would be – the site shouldn’t actually be publishing a full RSS feed, so that’s something we’ll need to look into – but I will ask Terry to take a look when he has some spare time!

      • Panthera says:

        I’m sorry, I was unclear: I follow your Rss-feed but it only post links, I was addressing how the post/site looks when I open the link in either my Rss-reader or Facebook/twitter app, or go directly to the site through the iPad browser; safari or Chrome.
        (I’ve taken a pic but I’m unsure if it shares correctly: http://db.tt/xnt92FPT )

        Don’t be afraid about your Rss-feed, it seems to be working like you want it to! :)

  • Tanya says:

    Love this post! I’ve been looking for this dress everywhere with no luck:( I like the combination with red shoes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>