Although I’m working a hectic shift helping clients with their preselections at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’m wearing this outfit all day. Yes, it’s a formal dress, but it’s my birthday and reason enough to wear whatever I want. I turned 45 years young today and feel fabulous. 

It’s tradition that Greg helps me purchase my birthday outfit and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Shopping with him for my gift is part of the present and extra fun. This year we went shopping in London while on our trip. The outfit that I chose for my birthday was L.K. Bennett’s Wardour Lace Overlay Dress in a happy shade of watermelon. My in-house fashion stylist said it’s the prettiest dress he’s seen me wear, which was of course welcome validation. In two ticks the dress was mine — the only one left and just in my size — and I couldn’t wait to wear it. 

Birthday Lace - Bag

Birthday Lace - Close

I don’t wear formal dresses all that often, but when I do, I absolutely LOVE them. There is something special about wearing an exquisitely made dress that makes me feel like a million bucks. And the quality of this dress is sublime. The lace is weighty, but super soft. The lining is made of a lustrous crepe. Some of the seams are French, while others are beautifully bound with piping. There is twill tape on the inside of the black slit and an extra placket on the inside of the zipper. Truly, the finish on this dress is so impeccable that you could wear it inside out.

Birthday Lace - Dress

The fit is tailored but not too tight, and there is ample length on the sleeves and hem. The style has a high longevity factor because it’s a modern classic, and the colour alone will keep me interested in wearing it. This was the perfect birthday dress.  

Birthday Lace - Jacket Side

Birthday Lace - Jacket Close

The contrast grey lining of the dress effectively dulls the colour of the lace. It’s also why I chose to wear silver grey ankle strap pumps with the frock. When trying the dress on in the dressing room, I thought I’d need to buy light grey heels to match the lining. But all I needed to do was shop my closet for the perfect pair of grey heels, which are very comfortable to boot. The fact that they’re a few seasons old puts a spring in my step because I like outfits that remix old pieces with new ones. 

Birthday Lace - Jacket

I combined the dress and shoes with a very special light blue Radley London handbag. It was a gift from my brother Hugo and sis-in-law Keri when I went shopping with them in London. I’ve been looking for the right light blue bag for a while. The colour is versatile — much like faded denim — so it’s going to work well in my wardrobe. 

Birthday Lace - Jacket Side

Birthday Lace - Bag

I like this outfit best without a topper because it allows the lace and the colour to shine. But since I’ll be working in air conditioning all day I’ll need a jacket. Greg, my in-house stylist, chose an old cropped and fitted Diesel denim jacket as the topper. He has a thing for denim jackets so it’s no wonder that he liked this combination best. The denim effectively dresses down the formality of the frock, which is a good idea for my workday. But when I wear this dress again in a fortnight for a fancy 60th birthday party, I’ll be topping it off with something more dressy. 

Birthday Lace - Wall