What to wear to a black tie “Out of Africa” party? Hec, I have no idea!

The minute I saw the invitation I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. What does one wear to a combined 50th and 21st black tie birthday party which is held by an eminent QC at a Manor house, the theme of which is “Out of Africa”?


The thoughts that went through my head were along the lines of: “Shorts might be nice but I’ll be surrounded by 21 year olds so won’t go there. It would be easier to be a man as I could just wear a printed bow tie. Does the “Out of Africa” reference mean as in the film or “Out of Africa” as in a cultural sense?” Not knowing any other guests, it wasn’t as easy as making a quick call to try and get a handle on what others thought, so really I was flying solo. In essence this meant playing it safe, giving a nod to theme in something that I was happy to wear again and in which I wouldn’t feel too conspicuous. Equally as Mr G has known the host for over 20 years, I felt that that it was important to embrace the theme.


After the invitation had arrived, I spent an evening trawling the internet to see what I could come up with for an “Out of Africa” (as in the film) outfit but it proved a little tricky to fit it in with the black tie theme and there was a danger of falling wide of the mark. Having decided to adopt the animal print approach, I concluded that Karen Millen was probably the “go to” brand for something animal print inspired. With a two hour slot at Bicester that weekend off I went.

Karen Millen certainly had a good choice of animal print inspired pieces and I picked up these black trousers, reduced from £120 to £30 within 10 minutes of arriving.  In all honesty I perhaps wouldn’t have chosen these trousers had I not got the party to go to but I can see myself wearing them in the future with black winter boots and an oversized jumper. The fit was also good too – close but comfortable!

This little fella was an accessory I picked up having arrived at the party. Issues of animal cruelty aside, I kept having to push to one side thoughts of how he may look as a pair of shoes, or a handbag and wondering whether his skin might be big enough for both. Perhaps that would be a bit matchy matchy though…..

As to the shoes, these too were bought at Bicester, from LK Bennett in the sale. They were reduced from £295 to £95 so clearly not the cheapest shoes in the world but definitely ones that I will wear again.

Doing double print with the shoes and trousers was again not quite me – especially given that they were animal prints – but as it was all black and white and given that it was a themed party, albeit a smart one, I figured that it was OK and only mildly OTT.

The black blazer is a very old one from the GAP and I also wore a yellow and diamond cuff from Karen Millen and a Topshop necklace. With Mr G in his zebra print bow tie, we were quite well co-ordinated – not in a Posh and Becks matching leather trousers and leather jackets kind of way I hasten to add, nor in a Kate and Wills matching African headdress kind of way – but more in a George and Mildred kind of way.


As an aside, you know how at a Halloween party you might tell the children that you were serving witches eyeballs, frogs legs and bat wings to eat? Well when we were asked whether we wanted to eat zebra, springbok, python or crocodile, I thought they meant that it was all really chicken or steak. It wasn’t. All I can say is that the Pavlova was delicious!



  1. The Find Boutique Bootcamp
    September 22, 2013 / 8:01 pm

    Your new friend was actually dinner?!

  2. Minna Ojala
    September 22, 2013 / 9:17 pm

    Can I see a man in a skirt in the background…?

    September 22, 2013 / 9:48 pm

    Oh no…..I have a huge snake phobia, I can't even watch them on the tv, let alone have one round my neck!! But worse you were invited to eat one……..Huge yuk, its just not right sorry!! xx

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.