When it comes to dressing up for big occasions – be they weddings, birthday parties, significant retirements or anniversaries, hell, even a big date – where do you turn? We want to make the most of our own body shape and personality but we’re also natural copycats (its biological; we learn that way!).

So how to combine your natural desire to pinch a look with your own individual shape and taste? Well, if it’s cocktail evening dresses you are considering, the best bet is to do some research online.  Start at a site such as Next, after that you might want to buy a load of magazines if you’re very concerned about keeping up to date with someone else’s agenda of ‘nowness’.

Or it might mean watching a bunch of movies, or studying art books and retrospectives of particular decades or eras which inspire or excite you. (For the ‘I’m vintage minded and just wasn’t made for these times’ of us? Or just the movie buffs – I don’t know!)

For others it’s all about copying celebrities, keeping an eye on best dressed lists and weekly spots in the hope of seeing something that you like, or at least catches the eye enough to think twice.

Doesn’t matter what you think about the celebrity, if you keep your eyes on the style – taking notes on what items have been accessorized with, what you like, what would suit your body, how your body is different, then you can learn a lot and pick up some great tips without paying for someone to tell you.

For wedding style, as is more and more often the case in twenty-first century dressing, you can afford to throw out the rule book. Yes, be smart and party-ready, but most importantly be comfortable in that look. You can wear black to a wedding. You can wear patent in summer. Hell, you can do away with the hat altogether if you want.