You’ve probably gathered if you read my Baby Playlist post, that music is a really passion of mine. One that I was working on making a career. One of the reasons I started my blog was to fill the hole that not being able to perform had left in my life. When one of our close friends took over the local choir, she invited Dan to take over as accompanist and me to join the group. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. How does a black outfit with red accents fit into this? Well, I’m glad you asked!
In lots of music performance situations, the standard dress code for a woman is all black. When I was at music college, one of Dan’s quartets decided to spice things up and add a pop of yellow to their all black outfits. I’m sure that this has been done many times before, bit it was the first time I’d seen it and I really liked it!
So for the local choir concert, the powers that be (Dan and our friend) decided that the choir would look great if we each wore a black outfit with red accents. I love this, as it adds a Christmassy feel to our outfits while still looking professional. Unfortunately, most of my black outfits either don’t fit or aren’t flattering with my baby bump. As I’ve had to be a little more inventive with my concert dress than I usually would, I thought I’d share it with you all!
The dress itself is one I bought from TKMaxx several years ago. I was working in retail and had to wear all black as my uniform. I had quite a few all black options, but they were all particularly smart/dressy, because they were bought with concert attire in mind. For working in retail, I needed something less dressy.
I really liked that this black dress was sleeveless. I used to get hot even in the midst of winter when working in retail. Buy this time, I had also developed PoTS (though I wasn’t diagnosed at the time), so keeping cool was essential to keep my heart rate at a somewhat manageable level. I’d throw a cardigan over this dress, pop on some leggings and either shoes or boots, depending on the season. That would be me done and ready for work.
For my black outfit with red accents, I didn’t want to wear leggings. I know it will mean that I’m colder, but to me tights make the dress look smarter and more concert appropriate. I was debating wearing a pair of red court shoes with a kitten heel and strap detail, but for some reason I just couldn’t picture this combination working in my head. So instead, I opted for my gorgeous New Look ankle boots. I bought these several years ago with a gift voucher I got for Christmas. These are my special occasion boots.
I had no idea how warm the church will be. So I knew I’d need to wear a cardigan as part of my black outfit with red accents. I’ve opted for my black ASOS Chunky Knit Cardigan. This will keep me nice and warm and can always be taken off if necessary. If you’ve read any of my fashion posts, you’ll know that I find belts really helpful to keep cardigans off my wheels. So this seemed the perfect opportunity to wear my red animal print belt.
I didn’t feel the red belt would be enough of a red accent by itself. So, my Mum lent me her red bangle. Unfortunately, this came off my wrist before we’d even started rehearsing. So I scrapped that idea pretty quickly. This is why it’s a good idea to do a practice run with your concert wear, particularly when you have extra things like wheelchairs to consider. I have a lovely ruby necklace that Dan gave me for Christmas a few years ago, so I added that. I know it’s too small to have been seen from the audience, but I didn’t care.
I also decided to tailor my makeup to fit in with the theme of my black outfit with red accents and add a red lipstick. Choosing the lipstick was hard. When you’re singing, your lips are moving all over the place. The last thing you want is to end up with bright red lipstick on your teeth. So I chose my Bourjous Rouge Edition Velvet in the shade Personne Ne Rouge. I tested this liquid lipstick out at last week’s rehearsal and it stayed put well. The only thing that surprised me was that it’s a warmer toned red than I remember. Not a problem, just a surprise!
I’ve also added a touch of Christmas spirit to my wheelchair. I don’t really know what to call these, so I’m just going to describe them! My wheelchair came with a calf strap, but with the angle of the frame and footrest, the calf strap is pointless for me. My legs fall forward more than they fall backwards. But I’m nervous of using the calf strap in front of my legs – If I were to fall, I wouldn’t be able to use my legs to help save myself. So I took the calf strap off, but that left the rough side of the velcro on my chair.
I was nervous that if I took the velcro off, I’d damage the paintwork of the frame and my chair would end up looking a mess. So I decided to make coloured velcro attachments! I’ve only got two so far, black and a Christmas design, because hand sewing them was really painful. Dan bought me a sewing machine last Christmas so I could make more, but he hasn’t set it up for me yet (and I can’t). But my Mum has told me that a sewing machine will struggle to sew onto velcro, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make any more. We’ll see.
Anyway, my Mother-in-Law had a Christmas wreath cushion type thing that she didn’t want any more. So I asked for it, to use some of the material to make my wheelchair velcro bits. I’m pleased with how it turned out, but I do want to add some additional Christmas bits to my chair, as the velcro is quite small.
I also found an ‘elf’s washing line’ in Pound Land, when I was out with my Mum and sister. So I cut this down and wrapped round the back bar of my chair.
What do you think of my black outfit with red accents? What red accents would you have added?
I wanted to wear the necklace in my long grey chunky knit cardigan post, but it didn’t work with the neckline of the dress. So instead, I loaned it to my Mother-in-Law, who is also a member of the choir.
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