5 Places to Find Eveningwear in Winchester

A new exhibition opens at the Victoria and Albert museum at the end of this week, celebrating the history of the ball gown. While it is a piece worn almost universally to fancy occasions, there is something distinctly British about the classiness of eveningwear. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that it’s what we are used to seeing the monarchy in. Anyway, now that summer is coming up, so are all the formal events which go with it. Proms, dances, weddings and fundraising evenings, they all require something special to wear, and Winchester is an ideal place to go looking for that something.

Charming magpies — Best if you’re after a glamorous full-length 70s gown, or perhaps a prom dress from the 80s. If your main aim is to have something that absolutely nobody else will have, buying vintage is your best bet. Plus, you can complete the look with some Grace Kelly-style opera gloves. Fabulous.

Pavilion — Go here if you want to choose from a range of well-known brands and ones you haven’t heard of before. At the moment they have a good range of both full-length and shorter dresses in several colours. They also stock some rather nice menswear.

Debenhams — Reliable. Affordable. Debenhams is the place to go when you need a good dress to last you through several summer weddings. Since they stock their own brands, in-house designers and other brands like Oasis and Warehouse, you can be sure to find something which will fit anyone’s style.

The Ivory Boutique Bridalwear — Yes, they sell wedding dresses, but they also have some bridesmaid dresses, which have been deliberately designed to be worn again. Or if you feeling extravagant, I suppose you could buy a wedding dress for whatever event you’re going to — my friend wore a wedding dress to prom and it seemed to work out!

Charity shops — You’d really be surprised at the stuff you can find in Naomi House, Cancer Research, British heart Foundation or any of the other brilliant charity shops you can find in this city. Cast-off prom dresses and abandoned gowns, they’re all there, because people often end up wearing outfits like that for one evening only. It is all down to luck though, as you’ll have to wade through a lot of unloved yellow meringue bridesmaid dresses to find something stunning!

words Alys Key

image via timeout.com/

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