I have talked before about how fantastic it was to be a finalist in the MAD Blog Awards, and the highlight really was the glittering award ceremony held in London at the end of last month. But one aspect of this ceremony had me worried when I first heard about it, and that was the dress code – “glam”. I haven’t done “glam” in years, arguably ever, and I must confess that clothes shopping is not my idea of fun, especially as I’ve gained a few pounds since the start of the year and I’m not feeling 100% happy about that.
But thankfully here is where another of the great aspects of being a finalist came to my aid – the opportunity to be dressed for the event. I was very fortunate to be matched with TK Maxx, who invited a group of finalists along to their flagship Kensington High Street store to be dressed all together. I just had one small concern… Could TK Maxx do glam?
I have a small confession here. I’d never actually shopped in a TK Maxx before, and I suppose I had a few preconceptions about the store. Not least that it wasn’t the first place I’d think of looking for something glam. So it was with a certain amount of apprehension that I jumped onto the train that morning and headed off the the Big Smoke.
I’ll tell you one thing, I can wholeheartedly recommend shopping with a group of friends if you find clothes shopping at all stressful. I felt slightly lost when I first headed in to the evening dress section of the store, but soon the others were bustling all around me, encouraging, showing me things to try and generally being supportive.
Early on in the process I learnt the first rule of shopping at TK Maxx – what you see is what you get. What is on the rack is what they’ve got. I fell in love with the first dress I tried on – a beautiful full-length emerald green affair, however it was one dress size too small for me, and there wasn’t one in my size on the rack. I seriously debated whether I could lose an inch from all over my body in the time between the fitting and the awards ceremony, but eventually decided it really wasn’t going to happen, and reluctantly put it on the rejects pile. At this point my fellow finalists kicked in to action, and two or three of them dashed back into the store and rapidly returned with pretty much every dress in my size in the entire store. I initially wasn’t sure about the dress that was to become my final choice, but the enthusiasm of those around me convinced me it was the right one for me.
After my dress was selected came another moment I had feared – shoes. I have an aversion to wearing high heels, which goes back to my formative teenage years when I borrowed a pair of my Mum’s high heels to wear out to the theatre, and ended up tripping over my feet and falling down a flight of stairs. Thankfully the only thing I injured was my pride, but it scarred me mentally for life. However my fellow finalists insisted that I couldn’t wear my chosen dress without heels, so I headed into the racks of shoes. I was amazed by the large selection of shoes available, and even more amazed that it didn’t take me too long to find a pair that matched my dress, fitted perfectly, were comfortable, and I didn’t feel unstable in.
We’d been given a budget to work with, and at this point I did a quick mental tally and worked out I still had plenty of that budget left, so I decided to check out the handbags as well. Again I was impressed at the large selection, and quickly picked out two or three that went nicely with my shoes. Here I learned something else about shopping at TK Maxx – there is something to suit every budget! I quickly put back the one bag that would have blown mine, and settled for one of the more reasonable (but still gorgeous) ones.
I didn’t manage to find a suitable pair of tights on the day, but popped in to my local TK Maxx back home and picked up a couple of pairs (always got to have a spare pair right?). I added my own jewellery and shawl/wrap thing to the ensemble for the evening as well.
So here’s me in the final outfit:
The picture doesn’t really do the dress justice. I know nothing about fashion, so don’t have any of the right words to describe it, but the contrast of the shiny, satiny top part and the floaty, net-like skirt looked brilliant, and I felt fabulous in it. It’s possible that the best picture of my dress from the evening is this one, taken when all of the “Most Innovative” finalists were dancing along to our video, which we’d already agreed would be the thank you speech for whoever won:
I’m dying to tell you how much it all cost, because I am so impressed with what I got for the money. The final tally is as follows:
So, not only can TK Maxx do glam, they can do glam on a budget! For less than £60 I had the most amazing outfit for an unforgettable night.
I’d like to thank Maria, Lisa, Claire, Kylie, Monika and Sally for their invaluable help and advice whilst I was choosing my outfit – it was a really fun girlie shopping trip! Thanks also to Helen from TK Maxx and Polly from Mindshare for looking after us so well.
And now the MADS are well and truly over. The dress is hanging up in my wardrobe waiting for another opportunity to be worn. The handbag is in my bottom drawer with my other “special occasion” bags. And the shoes? Well, a certain little someone appears to have her eye on the shoes:
Disclosure: I was provided with a £100 TK Maxx gift card with which to buy my outfit. TK Maxx paid my travel expenses for me to shop in their Kensington High Street store, and bought me lunch afterwards.