I was nominated in the ten most outstanding people at the JCI awards last week. It was quite surreal, and also my first nomination, so I was very excited. The event was held in the Mansion House on Tuesday and I wanted something pretty and elegant to wear.

Granted being over-dressed is better than under-dressed, when it comes to formal dressing it's tricky to get it right but these are my tips: 

Know your clothing comfort zone:

Getting to know your shape is very much a trial and error thing but once you know it, it makes shopping much easier. I am more aware now that I am happy to show off my arms and shoulders but don't like anything clingy around my hips. With this in mind I look for a-line pieces that flow below the waist but have a nice detail around the neckline or shoulders. For this reason this dress felt like a perfect fit as it draws the attention upwards where I am happy for it to be focused and away from the areas I want to detract from. 

I had seen this dress in a Penney's look book months back and it stayed in my mind. I love the colour of it and the subtle polka dot print. The fabric also has a gorgeous shine to it which makes it feel so glam. When I actually tried it on I was even more pleased as the length is perfect on it and even in the smaller sizes (I'm wearing an 8 here) the length is generous. Being brand new I also knew I would likely be the only person in it! 


Buy Reasonably Where You Can:

Years ago I used to keep my eyes out for dresses in the sales. Nowadays I invest more in my casual, practical pieces and try to get occasion wear looks more reasonably or re-wear things I already have in a different way. My reasoning behind this is that I often find that once you have worn something a few times, especially if it's a statement bright piece it's very memorable and no matter how much you might have paid for it, you can feel a bit bored with it. When I saw this dress for €18 I was absolutely thrilled. It was an easy investment and a new look for the night.  I also think this would also be stunning for bridesmaid dresses or perfect to wear to a Summer wedding. 


Colour wise - let one thing pop:

I always think one thing should add a splash of colour or sparkle to a look Whether it's a bright red lip, a statement earring or necklace, or in this case a bright bag, one piece should pop. I loved this primary red bag and I think it brings the whole look together. It's practical enough to hold my phone and a few bits of make up and also can be worn as a crossover. 


A metallic sandal is one of your best investments:

A silver or gold sandal add a dash of sparkle in particularly to neutrals - black, white, grey, navy. I'm always looking for mid-height heels in universal colours or metallics and these silver ones shone out, literally. The heel is the perfect height to wear comfortably for a few hours and the strap adds extra support.  


Hair and Make up are just as important as what you wear:

I am a late arrival to realising the sheer magic of hair and make up. It all seemed too complicated and to be honest too expensive until Youtube came along and showed me a few things. Now I love the glam side of things so much. 

I had worked with Michelle T  for make up before and I was thrilled when she offered to help me get ready. I showed her pictures of what kind of make up I felt would work and thankfully she agreed.  I wanted a defined but not too smokey eye and a really glowy base. With the blue tones in the dress I wanted to make my eyes look as bright as possible and she used loads of gorgeous brown tones to highlight them and kept the skin very dewy. 

 Michelle is a total perfectionist and we had so much fun getting ready. She teaches classes out in Meath and if I was nearer I'd be signed up in the morning! I added lots of Vita Liberata Body Blur onto my legs which are now smooth after my lasering in Anu Beauty. 

For my hair I went to Holly Murphy in Peter Mark on Grafton Street and she did this up-style in a matter of minutes for me with face framing curls. 


I didn't actually win the award. I was sitting beside the fabulous Joanne Larby from The Make Up Fairy who won and she was well deserving. I am still slowly finding the confidence to have more of a voice and dedicating more time to charities and causes I care about. Last week I spent the whole day down in the ISPCA in Longford and I am going to be running the Women's Mini Marathon for them in June. (You can sponsor me >Here< if you like) I feel I've a long way to go but being there on the night was enough for now! 

Fingers crossed this wont be my last nomination! 

Lots of love, 

 
 

Dress -€18 Penneys. Shoes €16 Penneys.  Bag €8 - Penneys. All items are in-stores nationwide now. 

*Thank you to Penneys for collaborating with me on this post.