Every woman has a favourite dress in her wardrobe
What outfit do local celebrities reach for when they simply must look their best? Four of them tell Laura McGarrity how they dress to impress
As we move into a new year, we can often find it difficult to make a clean start and part with old possessions. For us girls throwing away a favourite dress is never an option. No matter how many dresses hang in our bulging wardrobes there is always one that is special — that go-to garment which is pulled out for those occasions when we want to feel our best.
When we are wearing it we feel like the proverbial million dollars, giving us confidence, no matter what the event.
We spoke to a few local women about their favourite dress, the one they will never throw away and what favourite dresses they wished they owned.
MaryRose McGrath (39) is a bridal and womanswear designer. She lives in Belfast with her son Christopher. She says:
An old favourite dress I have is a limited edition Kate Moss dress from Topshop.
I bought it two years ago and was quite lucky to get it because there were only a few in the Belfast store. It cost £120.
Surprise, surprise it is black. I always seem to wear black. It's a 60s-inspired mini dress and is a jersey crepe fabric. I loved it because it has a really opulent trim of ostrich feathers around the cuffs.
I use a lot of ostrich feathers in my own collections and that is a sort of signature of mine.
So when I wear it people always ask me if it is my own design. I really take it as a compliment. I would have loved to have designed it.
The shape of the dress is very simple and clean and because of that I think it's very timeless and can be very flattering.
The 60s shift dress is a shape that suits me and my shape, so I will always wear it. It is also going to be very on trend for spring/summer next year.
I have worn the dress to dinner parties, work events and Christmas parties and always feel great in it. Next time I will be wearing it will be to go for dinner in Il Parata, which is a new restaurant my boyfriend designed the interiors for with his company Oscar and Oscar.
I wasn't drawn to the dress because it was designed by Kate Moss. To be honest, because a dress or garment is designed by someone famous it doesn't really make me want it more.
I don't give a monkeys who made it, I just care how well it is made.
Saying that though, one dress that has really inspired me and I love, is a dress from a diffusion line of Victoria Beckham.
It’s a simple shift dress with a scalloped neckline that comes in pink and black, but is really well made.
Victoria Beckham has a real eye for design and is very talented. Her dress is one that influences me the most.
Pat Jordan Scott is owner of Jourdan, a boutique on Belfast’s Lisburn Road. She lives in the city. She says:
My favourite dress is undoubtedly a sequin trimmed yellow kaftan I bought from our 1984 evening collection. At that stage we were trading in Queens Arcade prior to moving to the Lisburn Road.
Regrettably I am now larger than when I first wore it but the joy of a kaftan is its ability to cover size increases, whilst always looking bang up to date.
That is the reason I love it so much. It is very flattering. When I wear it, it always gets complemented on and I often hear those great words, ‘you look like you have lost weight'.
The retail price then was £119 and it was designed by Gina Bacconi. I originally bought it for a New Year’s Eve Ball in the Europa Hotel in Belfast and since then I have worn it to every type of event you can imagine — black tie dinners, balls and holidays.
I have also lent it out to many different people — a close friend of mine actually wore it for her wedding in the Turks and Cacios Islands in the Caribbean.
Evening wear has a greater longevity fashion wise than most other garments. We frequently see photographs of daughters wearing the same prom dresses bought from us by their mothers for their school formals more than 20 years ago. There they are with the matching boas and all looking right up to the minute.
I’m planing to wear my kaftan on a trip to the Middle East this year.
One of my favourite dresses ever is the dress Iris Robinson wore to meet the Queen during her visit to Dublin in May of this year. We sold the Gina Bacconi dress to Iris for £299. It really has become one of the iconic dresses of the last few years because she looked so well in it. People flocked to buy the dress here in the North as well as coming up from the South and it is one of those dresses that looks good on a size 8 or 20. It's very flattering for curvaceous women.
It was such a hit that the designer has made a mother-of-the-bride outfit with matching jacket for Spring, Summer 2012.
Brenda Shankey (40) managing director of Jason Shankey Male Grooming. She lives in Belfast with her husband Jason and their children Lauren (10) and Will (8). She says:
My favourite dress for Christmas parties or black tie events is a black dress I got to wear to an awards gala in 2009. I had it created by Belfast designer Una Rodden. It is a black, floor-length dress and is very classic.
The dress cost £300 and I have had it three years.
It is timeless and very flattering. I went back to Una to get a second dress because I was so pleased with my black dress but she suggested designing me a belt to make it a bit different.
So now every time I have a big event Una makes me a new belt and the dress always looks on trend and a bit different.
I went to the Belfast Telegraph Woman Of The Year Awards a few weeks ago and Una made me a gold and silver chain belt for it and it felt like a new dress.
I like Una's designs because she hand makes each dress to your shape and size, so it fits really well. I am quite small and curvy so it's hard to find something that fits as well and is as flattering as my black dress.
I have a lot of black tie events and awards I go to throughout the year, like the Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet and the Business Awards, and my black dress is my go-to dress. It is even better when I know nobody is going to be in the same outfit.
I'll wear this dress to death.
At my age I know my own shape and what suits me, so I don't follow fashion or trends really. I try and dress to suit my shape so classic styles are usually what I go for where possible.
Like most girls, I would love to own the dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. It is so simple and timeless and would suit any shape or size.”
Kirstie McMurray (39)is co-presenter of the Cool FM Breakfast Show with Pete Snodden. She lives in Bangor with her fiance Andrew Brisbane and her children Connor (13) and Katie (11). She says:
My favourite dress to wear to parties or events is one I got quite recently from Karen Millen. I was invited to the EMAs in November at the last minute and I needed to get something special for it. I was in House of Fraser with my fiance Andrew and we were on the escalator and at the top I saw a black sequin dress.
It just shouted at me and I really had to have it. It cost £235, which is much more than I would usually spend on a dress, but since it was such a special event Andrew bought it for me as a treat.
It is long sleeved, fitted, covered in sequins and quite short. At that time I had been training loads and going to the the gym all the time, so I felt very confident in it.
I tried it on recently and after not going to the gym for over a month it doesn't look as good, but that is what the New Year does to you.
It will be my motivation to go back to the gym. I will be feeling great in no time.
Usually fashion isn't my thing and I am normally a jeans type of girl. I wear dresses, but never feel very comfortable in them. I
have always loved the red dress from Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts' character is taken to the opera. I would love to own that dress.
My EMA dress is probably the most ‘me' dress I will ever find. I can be a bit rock chick so it is perfect.
I will be wearing it for years to come.”
dresses we all remember ...
- Pippa Middelton's figure-skimming Alexander McQueen bridesmaid dress for her sister's royal wedding in April last year, became even more popular than Catherine's wedding dress and has since sparked a line of high street copies.
- Audrey Hepburn's black shift dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's has spanned decades as being the perfect little black dress since 1961.
- Liz Hurley’s daring 1994 black Versace dress caught people’s attention at the |première of Four Weddings and a Funeral as it was held together by large gold safety pins and left little to the imagination.
- Everyone seems to remember Jennifer Lopez’ green Versace plunge dress she wore to the Grammy's in 2000, which plunged to below her navel and also had a thigh-high slit.
- Marilyn |Monroe's white dress that she wore in the 1955 film Seven Year Itch became an |iconic image with her skirt billowing up. It recently sold at auction for £2.9m.