Sunday, 27 November 2016

Outfit: the cutest Christmas cardigan

I gave you fair warning - last post I said Christmas was coming...

And here it is! Actually I really did give you a tonne of warning about this particular cardigan because I started going on about it long before the festive period had chance to get going. This is, without a doubt, my new favourite item of Christmas novelty-wear. What I find so particularly genius about it is it has that gorgeous vintage 50s shape, and then it goes and tops that by having sparkly Christmas puddings all over it - but it's pretty subtle about it. From a distance, it probably doesn't look festive at all but then the joy when you get closer! I don't care what anyone else thinks, I think this is one classy Christmas jumper and I am going to wear the heck out of it from now until January and just you try to stop me! It helps it's in my very favourite shade of blue :D

Shall I tell you what I don't like about this outfit though? These tights. Oh yeah, they look all pretty at first glance, but look a bit closer... See how they're wrinkled in every photo? Little do you know I was pulling them up after every single shot and they still ended up looking like that. That was genuinely the best I could do with them. And then, to top that epic fail at their main purpose, I wore them with ankle boots and where the boot contacted the material, all of the sparkly lurex kind of gathered and puckered and looked like I had a weird lumpy, sparkly leg disease. So all in all, for the love of everything do not buy these tights. Don't let the glitter tempt you.

Oh and don't forget, you can get 20% off this cardigan (although they only have the black right now, so check stockists for the blue) or bag with the code cicim20!% on hellbunny.com (and anything else there for that matter).

Hell Bunny Christmas outfit with December cardigan and Tippi bag

Hell Bunny Christmas outfit with December cardigan and Tippi bag

Red beret with blue cardigan

Hell Bunny Christmas outfit with December cardigan and Tippi bag

Hell Bunny December Christmas cardigan in light blue

Hell Bunny December Christmas cardigan in light blue

Hell Bunny Christmas outfit with December cardigan and Tippi bag

Hell Bunny December Christmas cardigan in light blue

Hell Bunny Tippi bag in silver with red ankle strap shoes

Hell Bunny Christmas outfit with December cardigan and Tippi bag
Hat: Louche (old)
Skirt: Tesco (old)
Tights: ASOS
Shoes: Irregular Choice via Schuh (last season)



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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Outfit: sweet snowflakes

So, I had been thinking to myself 'you know what, you've got enough brooches now' - and then Erstwilder released their new Christmas range and that thought went totally out the window. I think you either love Christmas novelty or you loathe it - you can either get into Christmas Jumper Day like it's the best thing since mulled cider (which actually is the best thing, by the way), or you can be that person who refuses to wear knitwear with so much as a sequin on it because you find the whole thing so dreadfully tacky. Guys, it's going to be pretty obvious to you as we get closer to the big day that I'm in the former category. I could quite happily theme every outfit until that day for my favourite holiday. But in respect of those of you in the 'it's not even December yet' category, I thought I'd keep it low-key for now... this is only going to last until the next post though :D

Anyway, back to the brooch. This snowflake brooch seems to be the most popular one in the new range and it's completely clear why to me - it's so easy to wear with so many outfits and it's not just for Christmas, it's for the whole of winter. With that in mind, I decided to put this to the test and come up with an everyday way I'll wear this brooch. Can we appreciate that I've unlocked another level on my quest to be a matching master with this one - cos look who has a bag with an almost identical snowflake on it... And said bag just happens to have the same shade of blue as is on the brooch... which also matches this belt I picked up in the Collectif sale that's been waiting for just this moment. Ah... so satisfying.

It's also the first time I've snapped these pants for the blog, which is not remotely representative of how often I wear them, which must be at least once a week. Why it took me so long to figure out that trousers in Bernie Dexter's range might be a good fit on me, as she's not much taller than me, I don't know, but it did. But thank goodness I worked it out in the end because these pants are the only ones in my entire wardrobe that are a leg and waist length I don't want to do a thing to change. They are ever so tight in my usual Small, but I think they need to be - it's this that helps them to pull my tummy in, really defines my waist and gives them that pin-up shape. I really love them and am already stressing about the day I bust a seam...

But you can't live like that, you've got to wear the things you love including all the snowflakes!

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag

Erstwilder snowflake brooch

Casual 50s inspired winter outfit, feat. Vivien of Holloway slash neck top, Bernie Dexter capri pants, Erstwilder snowflake brooch and Vendula snowflake bag
Beret: Primark (old)
Brooch: 'Seasonal Symmetry' c/o Erstwilder
Trousers: Bernie Dexter
Belt: Collectif (out of stock)
Bag: c/o Vendula (out of stock)
Shoes: Carvela (out of stock)


Oh and while the brooch has sold out on Erstwilder's own site, their many stockists might still have it - in the UK, I'd recommend Audrey Stars Boutique.


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Thursday, 17 November 2016

10 tips for where & how to buy vintage style bargains online

Where to buy vintage style clothes dresses for cheap online

We're coming up to Black Friday, so it's a great time of year to put some money to one side for picking up the cheap deals. But what about the rest of the year, when you're trying to top up your vintage style wardrobe while also e.g. saving for a wedding, or buying Christmas presents etc etc? Especially if you, like me, prefer shopping online - where do you nab those bargains in cyberspace? Particularly if you have your eye on certain brands that don't come cheap?

Hopefully, I have some of the answers for you here! Being a perennial bargain hunter, I can't really help myself in terms of shopping around for the best deals. These days, I'm specifically trying to pick up the repro brands I love for less - because I want quality, I just can't always afford the full price-tags that come with that. While you will never be able to get everything you love for £s off, sometimes it's possible with a little effort and/or a little patience.

Holiday sales

Right, considering the time of year let's start with the obvious one. Everyone knows that Black Friday/Cyber Monday is THE time to shop online for a bargain. Most shops will offer discount codes or knock down prices on select items, so it really is worth checking everything you have your eye on at this time - but quickly on Black Friday so that it doesn't sell out (NB: I'm yet to see a repro brand start their sale earlier)! But apart from this time of year, the Christmas/Boxing Day sales are another key one to make sure you're poised over your computer, if you can bear to drag yourself away from the eating and festivities (I will make time for cheaper clothes!). Actually, from just before Christmas until well into January most online shops will be selling off their winter stock, so this is a really good time to have a thorough browse. Same goes for when summer's coming to an end - if you can bear to buy stuff you can't wear for a year because the season's about to change, this is a top way to pick up bargains and one of my main methods of shopping!

Re-sell apps

Something I've gotten really into lately is marketplace type apps where individuals sell off unwanted items often for really good prices. Items will be in a variety of used conditions (and often not used at all!), but you should be able to get a good idea from the photos and write-up what you're letting yourself in for. My favourites are:

Depop
This is probably the biggest app of this nature and therefore where you'll find the most variety. It will default to searching in your country, so it won't bring up loads of items you can't afford the import fees for (and I'm very sorry if it's not available in your country - but it does seem to be in the UK and a lot of Europe). You can search by whatever term you like and most popular repro brands will pop up on this app. I check in nearly daily on a 'Collectif' search to see what's been added. A lot of your favourite Instagrammers will have Depop accounts - it's always worth having a check for their username on this app and seeing if they're there. You'll see a news feed when you open the app that will show you if anyone you're following has put up something new for sale. I picked up a Collectif skirt from many seasons ago I'd wanted for ages for £10 on this app from someone I follow on Instagram :)

Vintd
This is, from what I can work out, a smaller, British version of Depop. The search functionality I prefer, because it will only search for items in your size once it has your details, so you don't get that pang of sadness like you do in Depop when something you want comes up but in totally the wrong size. The downside is there's much less on offer - I just don't check this one as frequently as Depop.

Vestiaire Collective
This one is aiming at the designer market and most of what's on there doesn't interest me. But when I'm searching for Vivienne Westwood x Melissa jelly shoes (embarrassingly often) I always make sure I check it out because this is exactly the kind of place they might pop up. Despite being a bit more 'up market', really good prices can still be had and the nice feature with this site is you can make an offer to the seller on any item and it's encouraged, rather than frowned on as it often is on Depop, for example.

And don't forget Instagram!
If an Instagrammer you like doesn't sell through their usual feed (and some do), you might find they have set up a separate Instagram 'shop my closet' account where they'll often batch update when they feel like having a clear out. For example, Southern California Belle and Junebugs & Georgia Peaches often do this. If you don't mind things that have been worn (often just once or twice), this can be a great way to pick up something sought after for a good price. Also worth noting that sometimes shops themselves will sell off end-of-line items for cheap on their Instagram accounts too. It's a very active social media platform for our vintage-loving community, so it makes sense it's all going on over there!

Zulily (and other out-of-season sale stores)

There's a few websites out there that sell off brands' out-of-season stock for what they advertise as lower prices. Now, be careful about this. Oftentimes, I find that the prices listed are actually RRP or very close to it. This aside, it can be a way to pick up a brand you can't buy for a reasonable price where you are because, for example, that brand is based overseas. In the UK, buying from Zulily is at its best when it's a US brand and Zulily often have 'retro and pin-up' sales where they have several brands' stock on offer. The ones I always watch are B.A.I.T. Footwear, Chelsea Crew and Bernie Dexter, who they have sales for fairly frequently and who are prohibitively expensive to buy over here because there are so few/no UK stockists (and the ones that have them mark them up to compensate for import taxes). This is a way to buy those brands without customs taxes which usually works out a lot cheaper than it would if you bought direct.

Signing up to newsletters

My tip is if you've got your eye on something for sale in a certain webshop, always sign up to the newsletter before you make your purchase. Fairly often, you'll receive a discount code as a thank you - which can vary from anything between 10-25% in my experience. Most shops will advertise if this is on offer on their website somewhere, but it's not foolproof, so it's worth giving it a go even if it's not mentioned - you never know your luck!

Go through checkout to a point

I'm sure everyone reading this will have at some point gone through the majority of the checkout process, but left before actually making that final payment, only to find an email appearing in your inbox a little while later to remind you you left something in your basket (duh, you know). Mostly you've done this accidentally, I'm sure, but I would advise you to do it tactically because sometimes shops will send you a discount code to entice you to finish your purchase. The crucial thing is you need to have gotten to the point in the purchase where you've at least entered your email, but I would suggest you go through until the point where you hit that 'confirm order' button and then shut the webpage down. The reason for this is you don't know at which point in your journey the website's trackers are set to contact you when you pull out of the purchase. If there is an automated campaign set up, you're likely to get said enticing code within 24 hours, most likely a lot sooner, so it can be worth the wait. Pinup Girl Couture I've noticed particularly do this - and Bernie Dexter has for me too in the past. 

Facebook re-sell groups

I'd never really paid much attention to Facebook sell groups until recently and it's become apparent I've been missing out! For those that don't know, they're places that people sell items secondhand (but sometimes unworn!), particularly for much-loved reproduction brands (although they do exist for true vintage too). The slight downside with these groups is that the people selling in them are usually also following them because they love the brand, which consequently means they know exactly what their items are worth, so the really sought after/rare pieces are not going to come dirt cheap. But there are definitely bargains to be had, particularly for pre-loved items, so it's well worth joining a few. I follow the Bernie Dexter and Collectif group, but I know the Pinup Girl Couture one is very active too and there's now one for Lindy Bop too. There are also some groups that are only open to your area - there seem to be quite a few in Australia, for example. So it's worth having a search around on Facebook and seeing what you come across.

eBay followed searches

This is one of my favourite ways to search for bargains, but I only found out about it about 6 months ago. Before that point, I barely used eBay because I found it so tiresome to keep searching for the same things over and over again. Followed searches take the pain out of that! I mostly use this option in the eBay app, where whenever you run a search there will be a +Follow option that appears top right. Once you've selected this option, now when you open the app and use the main menu options, you'll see the 'Following' section - when you click through you'll be taken to a list of your followed searches and if any new items have appeared, you'll see a blue dot. Click on that and you'll just get a list of everything that's been listed since you last checked. I prefer this way of following the searches, but you could also opt to get notifications whenever something new that you're looking for is listed. If it's particularly rare, that could be a good option so that someone else doesn't beat you to it...

eBay brand shops

We're not done with eBay yet, there's also some brands that sell off samples, seconds or old season stock for cheaper on eBay stores away from their main websites. Tara Starlet used to have a great one where I picked up lots of pieces for as little as £5, but as they've just ceased trading that probably isn't going to be an option anymore. Collectif have one too, as do Glamour Bunny and you're going to find things on sale that aren't in the sale sections of their websites. There's probably more of these out there than I realise (do flag any you know of in the comments and I will come back and edit!) - keep an eye on who the seller is when you look at things from a favourite brand on eBay, in case it sounds like the brand themselves...

Bloggers & discount codes

If a blogger you follow collaborates with your favourite brands, it might be worth keeping an eye on their posts for discounts. Often when we strike up these partnerships, we'll either ask for or be given a discount code for our readers. Brands that I've seen do this often are Hell Bunny and Voodoo Vixen - I myself have the discount code cicim20!% that will get you 20% off at hellbunny.com right now. Some bloggers will share these on Instagram too, so if you like our style it might be worth keeping an eye on who we're working with!

Clarks' online outlet (UK only)

Ok this one is quite specific, but I feel like not many people know about it - and I'm really sorry for my readers outside the UK as it doesn't appear they ship to you. If you are in the UK, you will know Clarks for making good quality shoes and having a variety of more timeless, classic styles on offer. Full price, they can be on the pricier side. But if you're not bothered about having the latest styles (and hello, we're into vintage fashion so that's clearly not an issue!), checking out their online outlet store now and then is well worth doing. Just look at these cute heeled brogues they've got for £19 currently!


This isn't an exhaustive list, it's just my favourite ways to pick up bargains online. There's a few other good points about shopping in the online and physical worlds in Miss Amy May's post from last year, so I highly recommend checking that out too.



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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Outfit: plaid pants

Well, isn't that an imaginative post title? But sometimes, you just gotta tell it like it is... Anyway, I'm not sure the star of this show is these cigarette pants, but the scenery. It doesn't get much more perfectly autumnal than this - blogger done good. 

Oh ok, back to the clothes. Well, these cigarette pants I spent months looking for... and then Collectif brought them back anyway (last year) and I snapped them up. So I apologise because if you want them you're probably going to be back where I was trying to find them forever. The reason I couldn't feature them right away, though, was because they were such an odd fit on me. My usual size 8 just didn't fit well at all - it was baggy in the hips and waist, oh and of course approximately two feet too long but that's standard. So a tailor basically cut enough material out of them to make another pair, but it took me an awful long time to get round to sorting it.

I do really love how high-waisted these are - I think they're the most high-waisted thing I own, in fact. So much so that I can tuck crop tops like this one into them and they don't even end up falling out. It's just a shame that they're not as fitted as I wanted them to be - you'll see in these shots they're still a bit loose in places. It kinda looks like that's the intention, so I think I just about get away with it...

Anyway, this is an outfit I might very well wear to work (perhaps minus the accessories as I'm too lazy for all that on weekdays), and I feel like it's good to share one of those every once in a while. I also like sharing more casual outfits here and there, and that's just what I've got coming in my next outfit post...

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit

Autumnal vintage outfit with neck scarf and high neck jumper

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit

Autumn trees in Cambridge

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit

Bow and Crossbones Linda hoop earrings in black

Autumnal vintage outfit with neck scarf and high neck jumper

Autumn leaves in Cambridge

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit

Collectif Bonnie blackwatch cigarette pants autumn outfit
Scarf: gift
Top: New Look (old)
Trousers: Collectif 'Bonnie' (last year's)
Shoes: Clarks (old)
Bag: Top Vintage (last year's)



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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Outfit: grey and fuschia

I'm finding it fun to season jump at the moment - which is easy to do when the weather is pretty consistently cold and dreary. One day I'm more wintry, the next more autumnal. I think this outfit is somewhere in the middle, but you'll see there's still leaves on the ground that mean the last few days of autumn are clinging on.

Grey always feels like a winter colour to me, but pair it with a fuschia-based tartan and it warms right up. I have to say, I really love this pattern - it's such an unusual colour and I really don't have anything else in this kind of purply-pink. Both this skirt and the top are from Vivien of Holloway. Despite this brand being the very first I became aware of in the vintage reproduction world, these are the first items I've owned from them - but that's not because they don't have lovely stuff, it's because I had a sneaking suspicion I was too short for it all. VoH's pieces are on what I consider to be the more authentic length side of repro, but being someone who was probably short by the 50's standards, let alone today's, I thought I might have some issues with skirt lengths being practically on my ankles.

Turned out this was a pretty fair assumption. Thinking a pencil skirt might be more forgiving if it's a bit too long, I had to laugh when it turned up and was well past calf-length on me. But here's where it gets a bit strange - VoH state this pencil skirt is 28" long, but I'm pretty sure mine was longer than that. Unfortunately, I forgot to measure it before I altered it, so we'll never know for sure, but put it this way - I've altered this skirt to measure 27.5" long now (I'm 5'1") and I know I took it up by just over 3"... I'm still not sure at this point if I received an anomaly - VoH kindly measured other stock in the shop and they are apparently 28" long, so it looks that way... And would be just my luck (or I really can't measure?!)! I wanted to be honest about how much I'd altered it, but this probably isn't all that helpful considering...

Anyway, the alteration itself was super simple. I am a complete novice at hemming and take my circle skirts to a tailor, but armed with some hem tape and an iron, I simply folded the existing hem over twice and fixed it into place (I have a fear of cutting fabric!). Because the split at the back is very long, doing this didn't alter the overall look of the skirt once I was finished. Altering like this has given me a skirt the length they look on the VoH models and now I'm really happy with it! It's well made and the snug (spot on to the size guide) waist with generous hips space creates a really flattering shape, with the vent giving plenty of movement.

And all of this is not to mention the top! I've wanted one of these slash-neck tops for ages, but every time I went to finally buy one all the colours had sold out. D'oh! Fortunately, this time a couple of the grey colourways were in stock in my size so I went for this light marl effect one and I'm not disappointed. The jersey is thick, so it's a great basic to have around at this time of year. In fact, I've already worn it three times since I got it, because I keep finding it goes with all of my work skirts, so a big thumbs up for this colour. I also saw on VoH's Instagram that other colours of this top are due back in stock very soon - and the black is back in! - so it's worth keeping an eye on the site right now if you did have your eye on one!

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with Erstwilder necklace

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review

Sainsbury's classic 'french style' ankle boots

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey

Vivien of Holloway slash neck top in grey with heather pencil skirt review
Beret: ASOS
Necklace: Erstwilder 'Patsy's Peepers' necklace (sold out)
Belt: came free with Hell Bunny Jackson dress
Bag: Lulu Guinness (old)
Tights: Primark
Shoes: Sainsbury's



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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Shoes to show off - alternative vintage style footwear for weddings and occasions

Before we all get swallowed up by Christmas, while I've not said much about it recently, wedding planning is still, of course, underway right now! It's not long before we're on the wrong side of half a year before the big day, which is a fact that is rather freaking me out right now. And yet, when I speak to anyone about it they inevitably tell me I'm working way ahead of schedule. What they don't realise, however, is I'm not a last minute procrastinator type. I'm the type that does their homework on the day they get it so that it's over and done with... and that's kind of the attitude I've taken towards wedding planning too. It's just an endless series of chores and I want them all done yesterday!

Some, admittedly, are much nicer chores than others. Should I at this point stop and reflect on the fact I'm calling my wedding a chore? No, good, let's move on! Shoes - now shoes is something I can get behind. Although actually, I was completely dreading this part of my outfit because I have such problems finding shoes I like and that fit me - particularly court shoes. And that's a real shame, because strapless shoes look best with dresses to my mind, but particularly with the wedding dress I've chosen. I slightly digress, because actually what I found when I started looking into it is that there's tonnes of amazing formal shoes out there to choose from, particularly if you want something a bit outside the norm! And this is me - plain white satin heels that blend into the background weren't going to cut it. Add to that, my dress will show my shoes off, so they had better be good.

So, I've pulled together some of my favourite finds from my hunt into a few groups here - and I'll add to this that these don't have to be bridal shoes, they're just darn pretty heels for any special occasion. Maybe even a Christmas party (let's be honest, there's no escaping it now).

And yes, I have chosen my pair and yes, it's one of the ones below :) 

Alternative and quirky vintage style footwear for weddings - both the bride and the guests


Ok, so this is obviously the most 'bridal' of my three collections here. Cos white. And Rachel Simpson is known for being a bridalwear brand, over here at least. But I couldn't not cover the slightly more traditional route, right? Many of this brand's pairs can easily work with shoe clips, so you can pretty up with flowers etc (like the ones on the left that have a definite space for these to attach). Bottom left's Irregular Choice shoes you may have seen before on the feet of my lovely friend who was a bride earlier this year - you might remember I had matching pink ones! These shoes are really sweet and covered in subtle glitter, so they're a bit special too. I can also vouch for them being fairly comfortable, for heels. But if a bow ain't your thing, the taller, pointier heart version top right could be worth a look. Hearts on your wedding shoes - it might be cliche but when they're as cute as the two pairs up top here, how can you resist? I know the Vivienne Westwood pair has long been out of stock, but they still pop up all the time, in many different colourways, on eBay, so if you have your heart set on them and aren't buying them last minute, I would bet a pair in decent condition will come along for about £100 or even less if you're lucky. I could have done a whole post about BAIT's shoes as they're one of my favourites, but this pair bottom right I especially love as they're a bit higher than their usual, but with a platform so I would bet they're pretty comfortable.

Alternative and quirky vintage style footwear for weddings - both the bride and the guests


I'm not done with glitter yet. What says special more than silver and gold? Chances are you'll be wearing jewellery on your wedding day, so it's not a stretch to tie your shoes in with your sparkly adornments. What a surprise, here's Irregular Choice again - the bottom right pair are seriously bridal appropriate to my mind and the thinner heel takes the cutesy edge off the bow somewhat. If you do need a shoe that's going to strap your foot in, the Miss L Fire and Minna Parikka beauties here are really rather special and will look amazing with a wedding dress, short or poking out from the bottom of a long one. If you want something that's more classically vintage style, the Bettie Page pair have that lovely perspex toe that was also seen on Miss L Fire's Cinderella shoes a while back. I really wish they were still making these shoes - they may have been my wedding shoes if I'd been able to get my hands on them.

Alternative and quirky vintage style footwear for weddings - both the bride and the guests


Wearing a pair of coloured shoes if you're the bride might not be everyone's choice, but I really rather like the idea. It would easily cover your something blue, or be a great way to reinforce your colour theme. And really the colour world's your oyster because a white dress is going to go with an awful lot. You could pick a more subtle pink like the Bettie Paige and Minna Parikka pairs, or you could go romantic red like the BAIT pair, if it's a colour you're using generally (or to go with red lips!). Or how about multi-coloured sequins like the top right Irregular Choice pair - why not? Bonus points for those shoes as the heel is rather special.

So what do you think, would you wear one of these pretty pairs on your big day? Don't say no, 'cos my shoes are in here ;)



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