Black is officially Back!

Currently the 76th Venice International Film Festival is taking place in Venice Lido, Italy.  The opening of the event yesterday on the 28th August saw some amazing gowns walk the red carpet. One thing struck me as I looked through the celebrity photos …. there were a lot of ladies wearing black!

Sometimes, black can be quite aging, therefore, it was fascinating to see young starlets and models such as Elsa Hosk, Sofia Ritchie, Martha Hunt and Barbara Palvin…….. all aged between 20-31 donning ebony coloured dresses.  The reason they all looked so fabulous is the fact that they kept their hairstyle and makeup relatively fresh and unfussy. There were no bold eyeshadows or lip colours paired with the gowns, the make up was mostly a nude palette and they all worked extremely well.

At Belle Dress Hire, I have some truly beautiful black dresses which would look fabulous with a slicked back bun or high ponytail and minimal make up.  All you need is a black bag and heels and you’re good to go!  If you’d like to make an appointment please visit




New styles coming soon……

Super excited for these two new gowns to hit Belle Dress Hire! They will both be available in sizes 8/10 but can also be altered to fit a size 6 which is included in the hire fee.

I anticipate these dresses to be available for hire from early May 2019 onwards. To try these dresses as well as a large selection of other gowns please make contact through the website for an appointment.

Pastel colours for Spring Evening Wear

It’s official! Pastel, pale colours are in full bloom for Spring and you CAN wear them for evening wear not just for weddings.

I have to be honest and say I don’t offer a wealth of paler coloured dresses for hire at Belle Dress Hire for three simple reasons ….

Firstly, pastel shades are extremely difficult to wear and only suit certain skin tones. If the veins on your wrist are blue or purple in colour avoid the pastels as you are considered to have “cool” undertones to your skin and these hues will completely wash you out. However, if the wrist veins are more green or olive then you have “warm” skin tones which are beautiful with lilacs, pale pinks, yellows etc. A mixture of colours in the veins is considered “neutral” and to be honest it means you’re in between cool and warm so best to just try things on as you will suit some shades more than others.

Secondly, pastels have a tendency to look childish and are normally not conducive with black tie/evening wear but it can be done but you need to be careful! If the event is more of a younger audience who tend to have an open mind in terms of what is suitable for formal events, you would definitely be able to get away with a pink or lilac dress for example. If the event itself is in some way connected to “fashion” then you can definitely push the boundaries in terms of style and colour.

Thirdly, unfortunately the lighter, paler colours just aren’t great in terms of dress hire as with the Northern Ireland weather the fabric can get really dirty especially around the hem and dry cleaners are not miracle workers!

If you are considering wearing a pastel gown to an upcoming event, definitely do the “wrist test” first so at least you know what colours you should be looking at. You can check out some of the beautiful paler coloured styles available at Belle Dress Hire by making an appointment but meantime please view some sample photos below ….


School formal delight!

I absolutely love dressing some of my younger clientele especially for school formals! It’s fantastic how some schools have now also introduced this event for the lower sixth years as well to enjoy.

I’m not going to lie, it is actually quite difficult to dress a 16 year old for a formal. First of all, a range of fabrics and styles must be ruled out straight away, as they look simply way too aging and mature on young girls. I also try to stay away from black, just because once you hit your thirties your whole wardrobe tends to darken down to blacks, maroons, dark denim, greys, navy’s …… let’s be honest they are ultimately more flattering on the silhouette! So, I always try to encourage the 15-18 year olds to embrace brighter, bolder colour choices when they are still young enough to wear them!

I totally understand that donning a full length evening gown at 16 can be really daunting and overwhelming therefore I would advise bringing your mum or a person who’s opinion you can really trust to your Belle Dress Hire appointment. Mum’s are usually the most honest! And to be fair, they do really know you best and have the wealth of experience to help you to choose the right gown.

Here are some photos of the simply, stunning Victoria, who attended Hunterhouse formal this year.









Doesnt she look absolutely gorgeous???!!! This deep, rich purple is so different and compliments her fair, blonde hair beautifully. You can’t see in these pics, but the dress is backless and encrusted with beads the whole way round. The style was simple and effortless. The result was she looked appropriate for her age, extremely comfortable and enjoyed every moment of her night. I do hope to dress Victoria again at Belle Dress Hire as she was such a delight.

If you have a school formal in 2019, do please contact me at Belle Dress Hire for an appointment.




First Henna Eyebrow Experience!

I usually post about dress trends, new styles available at Belle Dress Hire etc but this time I thought I would share something a bit different and tell you all about my recent personal experience with getting Henna Eyebrows for the first time!

Ok, those of you that know me well appreciate that I grew up during the era of thinly shaped, arched eyebrows! That’s just the way it was, that was the style back then trust me! Oh how I wish I could go back in time and talk to my 15/16 year old self and say, “put the tweezers down!” but alas it is not to be, I just have to make the best of what I have left in the brow department which isn’t much.

Being fair and blonde, my eyebrows are also very light in colour plus because of my age….. not to be disclosed ……. I find that the hairs in the brows simply no longer grow or if they do, I can’t believe I’m saying this…. but they grow in as white hairs, nightmare! See for yourself….

I normally would use a combination of a pencil as well as a thicker crayon type product to fill in my brows as naturally as I possibly can. This has become part of my daily, morning routine and probably takes the most time to do in comparison to any other make up I apply.

I did of course have the microblading treatment a few years when it first came out and thought it would be the answer to my prayers. I loved the results, but unfortunately, I found the procedure really painful as I have sensitive skin especially around my eyes, hence ever since I have been continuing to look for another “pain-free” alternative. I regularly use a home dye kit to at least give my brows a deeper colour and a sense of shape as well as having HD brows every once in a while, usually before a holiday or special event.

I have used ‘The Browtique’ at Conway Mill in Belfast, numerous times for HD Brows and brow tinting through the years and Sinead (the owner) has always done a fabulous job, so I was very curious when she told me just before Christmas 2018, that she was going to introduce a brand new, eyebrow technique using Henna dye that she described as being “a step up from HD Brows but not as permanent as microblading” in the New Year. I of course said, “sign me up!” The thought of not having to touch my brows for 2/3 weeks and then only using a quick minute to fill in a few gaps for another 4 weeks as the dye fades sounded like my idea of heaven.

So here you go, the actual photographic evidence of my new Henna eyebrows……..

So the above photos were taken straight after the Henna was applied. Ok, they are a little intense I must admit when they are first done, but after 48 hours they definitely started to tone down a little and I absolutely LOVE them. The fact that this procedure allows the person doing the technique to form brows that are measured in numerous ways to completely suit your entire face shape, is a game changer. I mean the chin measurement, between the eyes, the forehead, the width of the face ……. and there’s definitely more than that, sorry they are the only ones I can remember right now, but they are all evaluated to create the perfect brow shape before any tinting is applied. At home with a dye kit, I could never hope to mimic the shape that Sinead was able to create using a complicated measuring and layering technique with the Henna.

This photo was taken 48 hours after the Henna and I have a full face of make up on as I was out for the night but please believe me when I say I DID NOT touch my brows! No powder, pomade, sneaky pencil strokes, nothing was put onto my eyebrows…..

The lighting probably wasn’t great in the above photo as it was taken under spotlights in the bathroom, but the below photo is better and shows my brows 72 hours after application with a more natural make up look. Again I didn’t put any make up on my brows at all.

Im sure you will agree the shape is just SO good and compliments my face perfectly. At this stage, the dye has definitely toned down a little and is not as severe.

I believe the Henna Eyebrow is now fully available at The Browtique, so please contact them for more information, they can be easily found on Facebook. I will post an update in another 7 days time so you can see how my brows look. I’m hoping the “suggested” time line of 6 weeks before the treatment is needed again is accurate as it’s definitely something that I would continue to get done.

New styles coming January 2019

I am super excited about a few new dresses coming to Belle Dress Hire for the new year! Available at the end of January/early February in the smaller sizes of 6s and 8s, these styles are fairly classic in terms of shape and colour but they make up for it with fabulous embellishments and quality of fabric.

The above gown is a stunning, all black ensemble with beaded top and slinky, jersey skirt with a high leg split at the front. Black doesn’t have to be boring as this dress proves! With a bold red lip and winged liner, this style would look fabulous at any black tie event paired with a black clutch and shoes.

Next up is a gorgeous, navy blue, heavy silk taffeta gown with a sparking display across the front of crystals and silver beads. Again, featuring a leg split at the front and a tiny glimpse of cleavage through a mesh fabric this style is sexy yet understated. The heavy fabric makes it perfect for long Awards dinners and definitely for black tie weddings!

I have saved the best until last……. my favourite new style has to be this super fun, raspberry, sequinned gown!  I love it because it’s fresh, thee most amazing colour and it provides a more modern and young alternative to a typical black tie evening gown.

I definitely see this at any function paired with a centre parted, super shiny, sleek bun and large statement ear rings. The colour of this heavy, taffeta skirt needs to be seen to be believed it is so gorgeous and I guarantee will shake off those January blues!

Belle Dress Hire is strictly by appointment only so please visit the website or the Facebook page to arrange a one to one appointment.


Local brand BPerfect Concealer and Highlight review

I have never properly reviewed a product before on my blog….. until now! I just had to try and spread the word about a fabulous product called BPerfect Concealer and Highlight. This is a local, Northern Ireland cosmetics brand so always worth supporting our homegrown businesses! However, I wouldn’t say this concealer was fantastic unless I really did believe that.

The product itself goes on really easily and I believe only comes in one universal colour at the moment. I specifically used the concealer on my brow bone, my chin, down the centre of my nose and slightly under the outside of the eye. This concealer just disappears into the skin and feels really silky leaving behind a beautiful, very subtle but definitely noticeable highlight/sheen. I don’t need a lot of coverage from a concealer so this worked really well for me, if you’re looking for something more substantial it may not suit.

The BPerfect concealer and highlight is actually currently on sale for £13.59 directly through the website

Here are some photos of myself wearing the product, I’ve included a picture with a smoothing filter and one without!

With smooth filter

Without Filter

Definitely look at trying this wonderful product! I haven’t used any of their other products as yet …. I believe they have a tanning line, brow products and other make up items so check out the website.

Women in Business Awards in Belfast

I was very lucky to attend the Women In Business Awards last night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shawsbridge.  I thoroughly enjoyed the night and was so inspired by the talented, hard working women all around me.

A few days ago I walked into my Belle Dress Hire room and took a deep breath…… it’s not very often that I get to wear one of my own gowns and it was actually really overwhelming! I suddenly felt immense pressure as to which style I should pick and after trying at least thirty dresses on I finally made the commitment to this gorgeous black and white gown.

I think the design inspiration behind this gown is a play on a typical tuxedo so a white, short sleeved, sequin top compliments the black, taffeta, mermaid skirt. The waist cut outs and open back ensure that the dress is feminine and elegant. I got plenty of compliments throughout the course of the evening and I have to say I did feel pretty fabulous! Initially, I did hesitate when choosing this gown as it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea but to be honest I wanted to wear something that people may not have seen before and to showcase the diversity of styles available at Belle Dress Hire.

This is a “statement” dress and does not require a dramatic hairstyle or any accessories, sometimes less is more! I felt it was best to compliment the gown with diamond studs in my ears and simply slicked my hair back into a low bun but I did add plenty of gloss spray just to give my locks a more polished look.


A “Happy Customer” is all that matters

I have had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic ladies recently, all of whom hadn’t worn an evening dress in a really long time! One lady in particular had not worn a long dress since her school formal some 30 years ago and as expected, was very unsure as to what would suit her. It was actually really lovely to be asked for my opinion in terms of what shapes, colours and fit I would recommend and my professionalism and experience really kicked in. Once we had found a dress that she loved and felt really terrific in, she then kindly asked for advice on accessories, shoes ……. it really was a very engaged appointment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Usually my younger customers who are preparing to attend their school formals are very clear in what they want! They have a shortlist in terms of style, colour and fabric choice before they even come for an appointment. In one respect the appointment has a very clear and concise direction and the girls try on exactly what they have described in terms of the gown they want to hire. This is great as the appointment time is used very efficiently and also the customer tends to be less confused about styles and fit as they try on a smaller number of dresses. However, I have to say nothing beats advising a customer to try something on that they typically would not have chosen off the rail and them being blown away at how fabulous they then look in the mirror!

I really am happy to help and advise if I am asked during an appointment, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is the customer. As long as they are happy, I’m happy!

Here are a few pics of some beautiful Belle Dress Hire customers looking fabulous …..



To make an appointment please visit the website and complete a contact form.

Fashion Darhling!

I am absolutely obsessed with watching fashion based tv programmes at the moment, both UK and America based. It never ceases to amaze me just how much fashion affects people’s lives, touching on, influencing and evoking so many varying emotions.

For me personally, fashion is purely dress up! Every day I feel different when I wake up and so that totally dictates what I then select from the wardrobe to wear. Did I get a good night’s sleep and apply a little fake tan the night before? Then I grab a more revealing top and cropped trousers. Do I feel physically cold and maybe overdid the “cheat meal” the day before? Then I grab a retro tracksuit and sunglasses to hide behind.

I don’t believe I have a particular “style” that I follow or specific brands that I will only buy, I go with what catches my eye and my mood at that one moment which is why I do have a few items in the wardrobe that I will never wear again but then that to me is the fun part of fashion.  I don’t think that anyone should take fashion too seriously, obviously not including fashion designers in that statement of course!

I feel because I am quite a free spirit when it comes to fashion choices that this really helps me to help find the perfect evening dresses for my customers. I can keep an open mind as to what other ladies might like therefore sometimes really pushing clients outside of their comfort zone and what they would usually choose to wear and that goes for colour, shape, fabric etc

I have a compact yet diverse collection of gowns for ladies to try from the figure hugging jersey style to the princess ball gown silhouette to the “in your face” fabulous print patterns.

For your next black tie event or wedding or up and coming Christmas formal get together please contact Belle Dress Hire for an appointment.