Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Marks & Spencer's red lace dress
This is not just a dress. This is a M&S dress. An Autograph exclusive even.
Yes, this Marks & Spencer red lace dress has probably had as much coverage as the Whistles Carrie skirt. And no wonder. Its similarity to Erdem's Margot dress makes it highly desirable. But, while the publicity came and went, the dress didn't – it only hit the shops this month (I say 'hit the shops' loosely, it's only available at London's Marble Arch store and online).
Anyway, good news if you thought you'd missed it. And bad news for other high-street copies – from French Connection to Asda – as the M&S version is by far the best quality and reasonably priced at £89. It's just the right shade of red (chic rather than cheap) and a very pretty lace (not McQueen's Royal School of Needlework standards, obviously, but elegant all the same).
Which makes me really sad that it's not the perfect fit. Now, if I weren't still on a high about my free Whistles dress, I'd be gutted. But this M&S dress is designed for the more ample of bust, broader of shoulder and slightly chunkier of arm. The latter two details I could live with, but the roominess my chest doesn't fill makes for a terrible fit (I've tried my best to disguise it in these pictures!).
Now, if only I were Sam Cam and could get M&S to run up a dress especially for me! (Remember that dove-grey, polka-dot dress that she wore to the Conservative party conference in 2009? A £65 design to celebrate the store's 125th birthday, it sold out fast. So much so, M&S had to have one specially made for the PM's wife.)
Sure, the M&S dress is not as skater-girl short as Erdem's design, which makes it more prim that cute. And the lining appears golden rather than nude, which in turn looks more bridesmaid than almost-bare-flesh sexy. But the balance of the demure with harlot's scarlet makes for a head-turner – and one that looks far more expensive than £89 (especially with those sweet scalloped edges).
Plus, its versatility makes it a great investment. From work to weddings and cocktails to city breaks, you'll get a whole lot of wear out of this number. Just keep it on the right side of sweet (rather than slutty) and you'll have the look nailed. For example, think statement shoes, not stilettos; a ballerina bun rather than a vampy blow-out…
Now I'm almost talking myself into keeping this dress! But that's plain silly. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Anybody recommend a good tailor?
PS. My new beauty love is Giorgio Armani Lip Wax in 5 Cardinal Red. If you're scared of red lipstick, let this be your introduction – it's more subtle and sheer and you can build up the colour the braver you get. Right now it's in the Selfridges sale for £14, reduced from £20. Click here to buy.