Disclaimer: I’m no fashion blogger – but this is mostly about dresses, awkward Instagram poses n’all.

When the Panda & Crumpet blog made the final shortlist of the 2012 Cosmo Blog Awards (in the sex & relationships category), lovely Claire from World of Kitsch (a former winner who I’m excited to meet tomorrow, not just because of her amazing Eames lounger tattoo) pointed out that getting through to this stage secures an invitation to the awards bash.

I have never been to an awards bash before. Nor have I ever been nominated for an award for writing before.

I tried really hard to resist an uncharacteristically girly “eeeep what should I wear?” plea on twitter, but knew I’d be able to gather up some suggestions.

I hate high street chain stores. Overpriced tat which never lasts, made by children you never see. I get anxious and stressed in crammed clothes shops and nothing made in a factory is likely to fit all your bits properly. (these Jewish genes have blessed me with a somewhat exaggerated hourglass figure – the sort which leads to bra sizes in the latter part of the alphabet, ample padding when sitting on bus-stop benches and a mismatched nipped-in waist). Most of my clothes are second hand, with the odd bit of botch-job sewing machine action.

Someone suggested I should treat myself for such a special occasion, and recommended Get Cutie dresses. I had been lusting after these Brighton beauties since living on the coast a few years ago. Fiona designs and makes dresses (and skirts, and all sorts of other goodies) based on actual body measurements and bra sizes. As if that doesn’t sound perfect enough already, the fabrics are all gorgeously kitsch 50s-inspired brights, full of birds, flowers, Mexicana and retro religious iconography.

Get Cutie fabric gallery

Get Cutie fabric gallery

Fiona had a read through the blog, and generously offered me a dress to wear for the awards, and invited me in to their sweet little shop to help me choose a dress which would fit me properly.

The last time I’d had a dress fitting was when I was bridesmaid in 1998. I was a scruffy flares and band t-shirt teenager and felt (and looked) awkward in anything remotely girly. Now I wear dresses almost every day, and have a bit more of an idea of what I like (and what suits me).

I had pre-selected some fabrics and dress styles from the Get Cutie website that I thought were ‘me’ – basically, anything with red, flowers or birds on…

…just like the rest of my wardrobe.

Get Cutie dress fitting (long cap-sleeve style in Red Fan Bird, Bluebird and Heroes fabrics)

‘Girl Poses Awkwardly in Fancy Frocks’ (long cap-sleeve style in Red Fan Bird, Bluebird and Heroes fabrics)

With a bit of friendly encouragement (I have to say – having that beautiful dressing room to myself whilst being handed piles of gorgeous frocks was a completely calming and stress-free way to shop) I quickly realised that if ever there was a time to go a bit out of my comfort zone, this was it.

Long cap-sleeve dress in Lady Yang fabric

Fits like a dream, and in colours I would never have chosen myself. Yikes.

So… the dress I’ve ended up with for the Cosmo Awards is full of pinks. And greens. And bits of gold. It’s flattering and comfortable and bold and bright.

It’s the perfect combination of being something a bit different for me, but without being too bonkers.

I’m going to attempt to wobble my way there in some red and gold Irregular Choice shoes that I’ve had for years and only worn twice.

Now I just have to remember to iron it. And take it with me to work to change in to. And to not spill anything down it.

More photos and things after the weekend, then, I suppose! Looking forward to an evening of fortune tellers, goodie bags, booze and boogies with other finalists (including my lovely pal Katie who is almost certainly in with a much better chance than us in the same category).