21st century princess

It’s official: Boden make the best dresses. I can safely rest in the knowledge of this, as the pretty pink number I’m prancing around Notting Hill in here is the third to hang in my wardrobe, and none have disappointed yet. In fact, they’re all bloody incredible.

As you may know I have been collaborating with Boden for the past few months with the aim of creating inspiring content to promote the brand, by styling my favourite pieces from their latest collections. Each month I whittle down the items that I think suit my personal taste the most (it’s a hard life) and incorporate them into my wardrobe.

This month, Boden are encouraging us all to DRESS FOR LIVING! A beautiful sentiment which, I believe, is key to finding clothes that make us embrace the happiness in everyday life, and certainly a manifesto that reflects the way I dress.

I used to be quite precious about fancy items and would reserve them purely for special occasions, but let’s face it: life’s too short and I want to show off my favourite bits as much as possible. This is why you’ll rarely spot me in a casual outfit, and why I tend to wear whatever I feel like, regardless of practicality.

This brief was just the encouragement I needed to experiment with something a little out of my comfort zone, and when I laid eyes on this floral beauty I was enchanted but unsure if I could pull it off. In-your-face pink florals isn’t a pattern I usually go for (although now I’m questioning why because I’m obsessed) but I’m grateful for this opportunity that allows me to try new options without worrying about the price tag.

Obviously it’s proper fancy, but that doesn’t mean it’s got to sit in the back of my wardrobe and wait despairingly for a wedding invite to come along. I have to admit though, this is a LOT more than I have ever spent on a item of clothing (£250 – now down to £200 in the sale).

However, like all my gifted items, I keep them because I’ve fallen in love with them and therefore could justify the cost if I was shopping – if I ever felt something wasn’t very ‘me’ and I wouldn’t genuinely wear it I would send it back. I can now confirm pink floral midi dresses are definitely very ‘me’ – but I wouldn’t have discovered that if it wasn’t for Boden!

There’s something so effortlessly cool in my opinion about a posh dress with dirty trainers – it makes me feel so put together and definitely ready to take on anything the day throws at me. It goes to show how you can incorporate those dressy items you think will never see the light of day again to make them cost effective and feel like a princess (21st century style) – whether it’s to browse Portobello Road Market or a summer garden party with heels.

In reference to my tendency to look extra whenever I step out of the house, a close (and very wise) friend once said to me, “You could make a ball gown look like casual wear.” Obviously I took this as an extreme compliment and I feel like that’s pretty much what I’ve managed to do in this instance.

Dressing for living isn’t about matching your outfit to the activity – it’s about accepting how your clothes make you feel and wearing something that empowers you to live life to the fullest. It’s what makes you beam with confidence, pushes you to squeeze the most out of every day and be truly yourself in; whether that’s jeans and a jumper or a silky pink dress. That’s one of the few reasons personal fashion is so important to me.

That’s what fashion is all about these days. There are no rules anymore – it’s increasingly accepted that anyone can wear whatever the f*ck they want and not be judged on it. Whatever makes you feel like you’re living your best life, wear it.

DRESS Boden (gifted) | BAG Topshop (gifted, similar here) |

The dress is the most beautiful silk material – it’s light and buttery soft yet such strong quality. I think it possesses a Florence and the Machine kind of vibe – feminine and delicate but there’s something quirky about it. It’s the perfect length to team with boots or sandals in the coming months, and the long sleeves mean it can be worn all year round with the right accessories (but right now it’s ideal for Spring).

I’m feeling particularly fresh this week really appreciating the little everyday things. I’ve finally calmed my lifestyle down a smidge and so have time to relax and settle into some kind of routine – I’ve joined the gym again and am already feeling the benefits of getting back into fitness.

It’s unreal how glowing, positive and energetic you become after just a few days of regular workouts – here’s hoping I can keep it up! Although to me it’s always been about balance: I’ll do 5k and treat myself to a bottle of wine when I get home.

What are your favourite ‘dressing for living’ looks? I’m starting to feel as though all my outfits are achieving this…

Lily x

ph. Anna Herring

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