I don't have much experience of posh work dos. In the past, a night out with work colleagues meant meeting at the pub for a few pints, and any stragglers still standing at the end might go for a late-night curry.
So it was a surprise to have the opportunity to attend a ball on Saturday night, organised by St Luke's for its employees and patrons.
1970s maxi dress and sequin clutch bag - gifts from Helga
Ostrich feather bolero - gift from Tania
Sandals, vintage necklace and bangles - charity shopped
The dress code was either black tie or pirate fancy dress (no, I'm not entirely sure why either...) and as you can see, I decided to forgo the dubious delights of an eye patch and parrot as accessories. 1970s-does-30s glamour all the way for me!
The retail team were celebrating the fact the St Luke's shops have won an Outstanding Achievement in Profit award from the Charity Retail Association.
Sorry, no photos from the event itself, but I can tell you that Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films is clearly the inspiration for pirate fancy dress these days. (And it doesn't look quite as alluring on most men as it does on him...)
I spotted this 1970s block-printed Indian cotton dress in a charity shop for a pittance, and although it was originally intended for sale on Ebay, I am considering keeping it.
The colours and the hand-painted gold details are so pretty.
And speaking of the Seventies, I also found this;
a dressmaking guide based on a 1976 BBC TV series.
I love the illustrations, even if the proportions are ridiculously elongated.
If only my legs were that long, I'd look far better in trousers.
1970s Indian cotton dress, 1970s leather bag and belt - charity shopped
1980s Finnish-made boots - Second to None, Walsall
Charlie and a pumpkin - free
What were you up to that year?
I was 12, I was in my final year of middle school, and the UK experienced a famously hot and dry summer. I remember Harold Wilson resigning as Prime Minister, I watched Nadia Comeneci score perfect 10s at the Olympics in Montreal, and the music in the charts was a curious blend of the sublime and the ridiculous.
Abba, Queen, Rod Stewart, Barry White, ELO and Tina Charles.
The early days of both disco and punk.
Dreadful novelty records.
The inexplicable success of the Bay City Rollers, Slik, Demis Roussos and Showaddywaddy.
And some real classics - Jolene, Young hearts run free, Play that funky music, Misty Blue, Let's stick together, and The boys are back in town.
My 12 year old self would probably have picked Don't go breaking my heart or Dancing Queen.
The 51 year old version is going with the heart-breaking majesty of No Regrets by the Walker Brothers.
Linking to Patti's Visible Monday. I never have any regrets about that!
What a fabulous outfit. The maxi and the feather capelet ooze glam. I agree, it's blokes who seem obsessed with dressing like Johnny Depp , he certainly he doesn't do anything for me.
Well done St Lukes!
You should definitely keep the block printed midi - or at least until next Spring when people are after them for the festival season. It looks gorgeous with the Second To None boots.
I've got that book, too. It seems a bit complicated so I just admire the illustrations.
Hmmmm, 1976. A long hot Summer in Tenby and spending all day on the beach in a bra and pants set from Van Allen with teddy bears printed on the naughty bits.
Love you! xxxx
Oh gosh...so much to say, and where to begin? Okay, I gotta get the men dressed as Jack Sparrow image outta my head first....sigh...not working; I can still see them, LOL.
YOU...now you look absolutely stunning! The dress is fabulous and bravo to your employer for providing an opportunity to show it off. What fun!
I too was glued to the TV for the summer Olympics. Being a gymnastics coach at the time, I was more than a little in awe of Nadia. Olga Korbut changed gymnastics forever, but it was Nadia's perfect ten that is locked in my memory bank.
Don't go breaking my heart...oh yes! And Rock the Boat, don't tip the boat over....
Love your going out Do outfit ! brilliant memories of my younger days too !, I remember that hot summer best wishes Curtise xxx
so you had a ball :-)
and did you look stunning!!! well chosen attire, curtise!!
but i love the indian dress too! once i had a similar one in a paler hue - it did bite the dust years ago....
aaand - you should be the last one complaining about her legs!!! tsss!
is the book as good as that very cool illustrations? will it be a helper for your sewing?
1976 i was 8 and i don´t have much memories on this time - i think i was very curled up in myself to survive my toxic environment. (lately i was thinking of...)
bonus points for charlie looking like a grumpy lord and that very pretty pumpkin! tons of hugs & thanx for all the lovely comments from you @moi!
No one came dressed as a Digital Pirate? I would think the Kim Dotcom costume would be easily managed. No imagination with these men today.
I go weak kneed for anything with feathers (so long as it is no longer stuck to a bird, of course)and that is a beauty. Perfect with the dress too-and the colours are just right for autumn. The block printed dress looks great on you, and it would be a pity to let it go as it is in nice condition. Amazing how such fragile things manage to hold on through the decades.
1976 was the American Bicentennial which saw everything being painted red, white and blue. I've only now started to collect some of the '76 memorabilia as it no longer feels like it was, "just last week." It was also the year I cut off my hair into a pageboy. I think I cried for weeks. It looked better on Toni Tennille.
*Danny will come over and build you bookcases, but you'll have to pay him in cheese (he's on a British cheese kick at the moment).
Love your fancy dress, you look divine!
I was fifteen in 1976, listening to BeeGees, Steve Miller band, Chicago, and my guilty pleasure was "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band. :)
I remember those Olympics as a kid. Everyone was glued to the TV to watch the gymnastics. First and last time in my life.
I do so love your fancy dress ensemble.
Ah... the seventies... I remember them well.
You look ever so good in your evening outfit and in your cotton dress. Peach perfect.
I went to a pirate party on the Golden Hinde and I was a bit surprised by the plethora of Johnny Depp costumes! Stripy top, spotty scarf and eye patch is much easier!x
You look an absolute vision in your maxi- THAT is a proper ball gown! You look gorgeous!!!
KEEP the other dress, it looks fab on you!
I was born in 81 so I sadly missed the 70's but I think I would have liked it!x
Go St Luke's!! So pleased to hear that they value their employees and reward them with a do. You look wonderful in that beautiful outfit.
Yes Johnny Depp is the pirate of today and Robert Newton has been forgotten by all but me it seems. Curtise, you must keep the Indian block dress, it looks fab on you! That style of illustration were all the rage in the 70's, Jackie was full of them, one of yours seems to have lost a hand? 76? Hmmm, I was 14 and liked Abba, I also snogged my first boyfriend (behind my dad's garage) and was desperate to be grown up. xxx
Thanks for The Walker Bros. x
I was 16 in 1976 and had just finished my 'O' Levels when that very hot summer began. I got my first Saturday job and was earning the grand sum of 40p per hour (to me it seemed like mega-bucks) and I saved up and bought myself a black and white portable telly for my bedroom. I started in the sixth form in the September and fell in love for the first time a couple of months later. Yes, I have very, very fond memories of 1976, and I can't believe it was almost 40 years ago. I only have to listen to the soundtrack from 'Rock Follies' - anyone else remember that TV series? - and I'm back to the summer of 1976 in an instant. Love the outfit you wore to the ball and the Indian cotton dress - both really suit you.
What an unfathomable choice, black tie or pirate! You went in the right direction anyway. Setting the standard I imagine with that wonderfully glamorous outfit. Needless to say, you look dazzling. You in that feather bolero made me smile immediately. Funny you should say that about those illustrations. If anyone had asked me whose figure that looks like, I'd have said Curtise, no hesitation. Pirates of the Carribean, not for me, I'm afraid. All those tunes you describe, yes please. I was 10 and won the long distance race at the village fete, earning myself 50p. Happy days. I still go for Dancing Queen, Jolene and Young Hearts Run Free. If it 'aint broke etc. Indian block print looking mighty fine. Xxxx
Once again, our musical tastes are coinciding -- I've been listening to the Walker Brothers quite a bit this past week.... I don't remember 1976, but it was the year Troubadour by JJ Cale came out, which was an album my mum played a lot when I was a kid, and one I still love.
Keep the block-printed dress, it looks great on you, espesh with those boots!
You look so glam, of course!
Hope you had a fabulous time x
You must keep that Indian cotton dress. It is perfect on you. And the feathery bolero with the maxi. Tres chic. What a great find in that sewing book. So many things that would look terrific today. And Hey My Darling but your legs are very long and sleek and you look terrific in trousers. I'm just saying. Hmmm 1976. I was a college student in 1976. I dressed and lived like the hippie that I was and caused much stress to my long suffering parents with my love of flowers and my total lack of ambition. Not much has changed.
Wow, you look very swish. What a beautiful fancy frock. I hope that the ball was great fun except now I have an indelible image of middle aged blokes dressed up as Jack Sparrow. Oh dear. Wasn't it "international talk like a pirate day" this week? Maybe that was why? I love your Indian block print dess, it looks like a keeper. The colours are great on you. Nice illustrations in that sewing book too. I have another BBC one by the same author. Not really read it though. 1976, the year that The Damned released "New Rose" *sigh*. I was six of course but still. I remember it being so warm that Mum sat in the garden and that it was boiling even in Scotland. Changed days. :) Xxxx
Ah, those swashbuckler wanna-be's. I guess men wanting to be pirates is like women wanting to be, heck, I don't even know any more! I hope the answer is not princesses! You look stunning in your gala attire. I love the Indian dress. Why not hang onto it until you're more sure what to do?
I remember when that fashion illustration style was so popular. I had sketchbooks full of wildly distorted women. Haha. I don't know the Walker Brothers, but Play that Funky Music will be playing in my head all day. I just watched Wild Cherry on YouTube: open jackets and hairy chests and bell bottoms. Haha!
Both dresses are fabulous, but that first look is everything to me. You look beyond amazing!!
I bet you had a little something to do with that profit! You deserve a ball, and a chance to wear that fabulous gown! I adore that maribou shrug - positively glam.
Ah, 1976. I also remember the US Bicentennial (we're right near the border by Seattle, so picked up all the US TV stations), and the Olympics (in Montreal!). In '76 I was 9, so I was into the Carpenters and John Denver back then. I loved playing fashion show with my Barbies, and I definitely had that horrible "Oliver" haircut.
1976 I was 21 and listening to the Ramones and Patti Smith. Tossed out all my "hippie" clothes and wore black, white and red for years.
You look like the belle of the ball, love both outfits
In 1976 I was 7 and waiting for my brother to be born. I don't remember much more than that - must have killed too many brain cells.
Your fancy dress is gorgeous and the Indian cotton will be perfect for warm days.
The sewing book is so cool! I'm sure you'll get loads of information and inspiration from it.
Keep the dress-it is wonderful! In 1976, of course we were doing the bicentennial thing in the USA. You know, that one war where we were no longer the colony's. I'm pretty sure I was dressed for multiple things in patriotic garb. I would have been in 4th grade and I do remember a rollicking rendition of "My Country Tis of Thee", to the tune of your "God Save the Queen".
Dear Curtise ,I prefer your etnic dress and denim jacket,you look very stylish.Best :)
Gorgeous maxi and Indian print dresses - reckon you should keep the latter as it looks great on you.
1976 - I was seven and remember lying on the drive reading a book during the heatwave. Music-wise I was into the Bay City Rollers (Mum brought me a nylon t-shirt with their picture on it from Woolworths) and ABBA xx
In 1976 I was 14 and listening to pretty much the same as you. I was at high school so it was all pretty much the beginning of boys and such things!! Love what you wore to the ball, and the other frock you got is gorgeous. I like how you teamed it with your denim jacket. Far to good on you to end up on Ebay just yet, enjoy it first.
Well done to the charity and all it's fab volunteers for raising so much dosh.
Could be it was pirate themed as Saturday was 'talk like a pirate day', honest it was!
Love the maxi dress and the purple outfit is pure 70's as is Bay City Rollers who I still love listening to even now.
You do look fab! Love the little furry jacket.
In 1976 I was up to all sorts of "dubious delights." drug induced dubious delights of course. ;)Oh, the things we did to our poor young minds back then.....
The dress is definitely a keeper Curtise, it looks great and we've got the same boots. I sometimes think we were seperated at birth when I see we have so many things the same.
But we couldnt have been of course as I was rocking 21 in 1976 and wearing dark green flares, a dark green zip up cardi and, I knew I should have saved them, platform shoes.
My hair was an horrendous style and I had the most awful blue eye shadow on. Motown and American soul import records where my thing and drinking to much vodka when I worked on the doubles bar in the local nightclub. There were only six days in the week then as I never saw Sundays hee hee xxx
Fabulous fashion sketches and happy memories of the 70s music.... loved it !
How lovely to be awarded for all the hard work with a ball; you look great.
While I was in Hastings I heard of the pirate festival they have in July when thousands of people turn up dressed as pirated ... lots of Jack Sparrows me thinks !
Fab outfit !
there can be only one - Jack Sparrow ! Jonny D ......
You look really glamorous in that maxi and bolero! I believe this image of a pirate inspired by Johnny Depp's character will haunt everybody for yet some time. What do I remember about 1976? Not much...actually the only thing I remember is my 8th birthday celebration and only because one of my mom's friends gave me a real nail polish as a gift. The first nail polish in my life, so exciting :)
The Indian block dress is a keeper -- perfect for those boots that make your long legs appear even longer. And how crafty of the ball planners to entice the gents to attend by permitting them to play pirate! Women, of course, are more appreciative of the rare opportunity to carry a sequin bag and wear a feather boa.
1976? The BiCentennial celebrations were happening in every small town and I was an aspiring reporter taping interviews on the street for local radio stations and newspapers. The best of these were the memories related by the elders: one nonagenerian solved an old arson mystery by suddenly remembering what he'd seen as an 8-year-old "sleepin' up in the loft with the dry goods..." I've been told the tapes are still in some libraries. Wonder if there are pix of me in those skinny jeans, clunky sandals, and BIG sunglasses?
That 7oties maxi dress is a thing of beauty....such a fashion treasure! That feather bolero is so glam...and such a perfect pairing with that maxi dress. You arrived to that ball in style.
However, I must add that I really like that other 70ties dress (Indian cotton is it?)...that outfit is also very fabulous.
...and yes pirate fashion is not something that many man can do as well as Johnny.
I'm as confused as everyone else by the idea of black tie and pirates, hmmm. Your frock is just fabulous though.
Both my 6 year old me and my 44 year old me would choose ABBA, but also ...maybe Rainbow - Stagazer or Blue Öyster Cult - Don't fear the Reaper. You look like a fan of Aerosmith anno 76 in that dress!
I sooo love seeing you in that frock, although I do get pangs of envy as it never fitted me. Love it with the capelet, fecking ROCKING!
That's a good looking book.
You glamazon, you! You look delicious and perfect for an elegant soiree! Gorgeous print on you, Madame, every piece a winner!
Peasant dress ... KEEP IT. Please! Brilliant with the boots and your bob. If I could manage to look like you do in this outfit, I'd wear it every day. Forever. Really.
Thanks for the reminder that it's wonderful to dress up. It's one of the things I do like about the restaurant. I can doll up if I want or go casual. Nice to be able to go all snazzy to work when I want.
Fancy Dress Pirate or black tie. Hummm. Sounds like a compromise by the planning committee, 'cause one of them HAD to wear his Jack Sparrow outfit for some reason. What an interesting event it must have been!
I love the Bay City Rollers, for what that is worth. They are really good when vacuuming. This block print dress is also my favourite outfit ever. I love Indian block printed cotton and of course I love these colours. This is my favourite type of the 70;s look. I was kinda rockin the kid version of this in the seventies. Love that handbag too! xoxo
That's a weird double theme!! Your frock is wonderful (well they BOTH are) and I LOVE that bolero! Also in love with that sewing book, especially the wacky line drawings, so great. Any good projects in the book?
I love your formal outfit … much better than a patch and a parrot!
Dancing Queen all the way for me … I LOVED ABBA … and still do … but don't tell anyone ;0)
I love both those outfits! I have a little feather shrug that I never wear, even though it looks great because I'm afraid of leaving feathers everywhere. You have inspired me to wear it at least once this fall.
The cotton dress is perfect with your denim jacket (I purchased one this spring and have been wearing it over everything) and those burgundy boots.
I remember that illustration style from the 70's with the mile-long legs. In 1976 I was 15 and in high school, most likely listening to Abba, Queen, Rod Stewart, and whatever other pop stars were on the radio then. I had weird private musical taste - I listened to Cher and Barbra Streisand when I was at home. I remember watching Nadia Comeneci score her perfect 10's! I still will get up and dance to Abba.
You look fab! And perhaps the reason those trousers are all right down to the floor in the fashion illustrations is to hide the giant platforms you'd need to get legs that length. Could be worth a go...
In 1976 I was two. My dad was in the RAF so I'm not exactly sure if we were living in the Netherlands or Germany at that point, but we were somewhere in Europe.
Your ball frock is delightful. 1976 I was 10 and remember the Montreal Olympics, I even had a souvenir Australian Olympic team t-shirt which I loved. I also discovered Abba which of course remains a life long musical love.
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