Who doesn’t love buying a new dress? Here at 205 on Ashley we have so much fun at this time of year, helping lovely ladies choose their best dress for the festive season.

And of course, the fun doesn’t end once you’ve bought the dress – there’s the shoes, bag, bling and cover-up to keep you cosy en-route!


Long white dress coatSo, as your outerwear is the first item people will see when you arrive at your event, let’s start there.

You don’t want to drag down the impact of your party outfit with a purely practical, perhaps a little bit boring, coat, but investing in a coat just for a party or two can feel a bit…extravagant.  We have the solution!  Look what we found when doing our buying at Oui!

This beautiful classic long winter white wool coat is timeless and ideal for those cold evening. Has two pockets, fastens with a belt and is ever so stylish. ONLY £199, size available 12, 14 & 18.



The one thing the fairy-tale doesn’t tell us is that Cinderella was positively thrilled to get those horrifically uncomfortable shoes off her poor sore feet at midnight.  No wonder she ran, she didn’t want P.C to witness the agony.

There’s an expression about shoes we would like to see dismissed from the lexicon too – ‘car to bar.’  Car to bar shoes are those deemed utterly beautiful but only wearable for the short time it takes to walk from the taxi to the bar.  More than 30 steps and you’re done.  Well blow that we say!  We’re rebelling against the notion that a woman has to have sore feet to look good.

When choosing your party shoes, consider how long and where you’ll be wearing them.  Standing about on a hard floor hurts more than on a carpeted one and if you do have to stand around for a while, choose your heel height carefully.  I was once told, by someone who knows, Lesley Garrett, actually, that the only heels she would wear to stand and sing in were wedges.  The extra support under the arch of her foot meant she was able to focus on her performance, not her feet.  We don’t say you have to wear wedges, but when you’re choosing your shoes, spend plenty of time walking, standing still and indeed inelegantly scuttling (as if to a taxi in the rain) before you hand over your money.

Here’s a lovely selection from our local go-to shoe shop, Daniel Footwear.


A small bag is a necessary accompaniment to a pretty dress.  Should it match your shoes or not?  It can, but it doesn’t have to.  If you’ve chosen a black or a navy dress, think silver or gold, or a contrasting colour such as burnt orange, ruby red or Tiffany turquoise.  This lifts a bag from purely practical to part of the finished look.

And when you go to buy your bag, take with you all the things you’ll want to carry on the night and test its capacity.  I have a fabulous black clutch from Biba that I fell in love with at first sight and bought immediately.  It was only once I took it out for the first time that I realised you can’t fit a lipstick in it – it’s too flat.   I can just about fit my phone, but then I can’t squeeze in even a mini gloss.  And you can forget any emergency ladies necessities!  Choose beautiful, think practical!



With some dresses, less is more.  A high necked dress needs no necklace, but a pair of drop earrings will look a treat.  If your dress is sequined and embellished, avoid any accompanying bling.

Melano and LoveRocks at 205 On Ashley in Hale Altrincham CheshireIf you have chosen a simple dress, then you can have some fun with the jewellery accompaniment!

Crystal based jewellery is always a good start with party outfits.  Many of us own a couple of beautiful gemstone rings, so there may be no need to consider extra sparkles here, but how about a cuff?  More high impact than a delicate bracelet, a cuff can add serious wow factor.  Match with a collar or a cascade necklace and some sparkles at the ears and bingo, looking good ladies!

Our new collections from LoveRocks and MelanO are just perfect for party dressing and such good quality, they will serve you well for years to come.  Call in and check out the range, our jewellery lines are in-store only.



So, you’re looking great…but do you feel great?  Sometimes you just don’t want to go.  My least favourite events are the ones where I am simply the partner, looking pretty on the arm of my chap.  I know nobody and frankly don’t really want to know anybody!  BUT! I’m there, so I might as well make the best of it.  It’s all in the mind – set out to have fun and even if you don’t, you know you have done yourself proud and made someone else happy.  And that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?