Bargain Red Dress | Occasion Wear

People always think I have loads of formal dresses in my wardrobe but I promise I don't! Mainly because apart from choir gigs, I rarely go to formals so when the opportunity arises, I like to have something new to wear. It's more interesting for the blog and it's a chance to wear different styles and colours. So after I've worn a dress a couple of times, I usually sell it and put the funds towards the next one. As I buy most of my dresses pre-loved, either via eBay or DejaVu, it all works out well financially as I generally make back the costs.

My gospel choir do two formal concerts every year, one at Christmas which I like to go sparkly for, and one in May, which I like to dress a bit brighter for. This year, I had thought about wearing the jumpsuit I wore to the Spirit of NI awards but as it got closer to the time, I decided I didn't want to wear black.

Cue an ASOS 20% off deal last week that had me checking out their occasion dresses for something more colourful and I ended up buying these three. Showing the full price now as the offer was for one day only.
I really wanted this one to work but it was indecent when it arrived. You could see your freckles through it 😱 It was taken off pretty quickly and put back in the bag. In retrospect, I could have worn it with a close fitting nude slip but I think I would have still been too self concious. The lace detail on the shoulder was fabulous though. Size wise, I sized up to a 12 and it was still too small!! Straight onto the next one - which wasn't as bright a green in real life.
It was beautiful on and fitted perfectly in the size 12. It was pricier than I had planned however, even with the 20% off and perhaps a bit more demure than I wanted for the concert. It would make an amazing bridesmaid's dress! 
So all my hopes were on the red dress..
It was an instant winner. - the colour was perfect on me although it was a bit long and a little loose under the arms (I had bought the 12 as I guessed would be neat fitting). It was nothing the Zipyard couldn't sort for me in a couple of days though - so the decision was made and the yellow and green ones went back via ASOS's free returns - amazing service.

Underneath I wore my usual spanx cycle shorts to give a smooth line. I don't think they make you look any slimmer in all honesty but they do give a nice line under dresses and stop distracting VPL's and the like. I had a nude strapless bra on too - the back opening was just at bra strap level.

I wore my old reliable nude barely there sandals which I got years ago in Faith. They're real suede and are great for longer periods on your feet. The only shoes really that I can tolerate for concerts. These next ones are the closest to mine that I can find online and in fact, I think they're better as they have a more robust heel than mine:
 Thankfully, we changed in the interval and wore our choir black and colours for the second half so I was able to change to flat sandals then. Oh the relief.

I must give a shout out to hair and make up. I paid for an up style at Hedonist Hair on Botanic as they were one of the few places open on a Sunday. I ended up meeting Lee who did my straightening treatment last year (on the link) - I hadn't realised he'd moved salons. Of course, I was delighted to see him and immediately relaxed as I knew he'd do an amazing job. Guess who forgot her phone to take a photo of the back? It was a very simple up do - I just wanted it to look quite relaxed.

And my lovely blogging friend Nic from Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog did my face. She's also a fully qualified make up artist and does occasion make up from her home in East Belfast (or she can come to you). She did a beautiful natural base with a smoky eye and red lip. Was absolutely perfect and looked so natural. She really understands what works on older skins - it still looked great at midnight and I was gutted to have to take it off. 

You can contact Nic on strawberryblondebeauty@gmail.com to make enquiries.
And here's the finished glam look - picture taken in the less than glam corridors backstage at The Grand Opera House. It's not as beautiful backstage as it is front of house! But it gives you a good look at the dress and the colour.
Would I recommend my £23 (£29) dress? Definitely - though only if you're not self conscious of your tummy. I was definitely walking tall and holding those abs in throughout the evening! Also be prepared to have a few tweaks made to it. My additional fixes brought the total cost of the dress up to £48 so I'll be sure to get one more wear out of it.

I'll leave you with some ASOS advice. It's a daunting site and can be off-putting when you see hundreds and hundreds of items in each section:
  • Use the filters on the top of the page. Their search function is the best on the market. You can search for dresses by length, price point and size
  • Make sure you select the range you need. I always chose the ASOS regular range - to exclude Tall, Petite, Plus size and Maternity. It just helps to narrow things down to a more manageable number of items. 
  • If you're specifically looking a bargain, remember to order the items from lowest price to highest.
Oh and the best bit? They now do next day delivery to Northern Ireland so it's actually worth signing up to the annual delivery plan now.

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post - I bought my dress myself. Some of my links are affiliate links which means the brand knows you came to their site from here and they may pay me a tiny commission if you purchase and keep the item. This modest income goes a small way towards covering the costs of running this website and it is a huge support to me. Thank you x 

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