This series of looks is for an Instagram follower who is attending all five days of the Henley Royal Regatta this summer and so needs a new outfit for each day! The dress code for Henley is one of the strictest around; not in terms of formality of dress, but in the enforcement of a certain skirt length. Women must wear a dress or skirt, and the hemline must fall just below the knee or longer. Even the royal enclosure at Ascot permits trouser suits and jumpsuits these days, so in this respect it is quite strict. In previous years it has posed problems, simply because this length of skirt has been difficult to find, mini dresses being much more prevalent. Midi-style dresses and skirts are everywhere now though, and modest styles of dress in general are much more fashionable over the last couple of years, so shopping for this style of dress is much easier now than, say, ten years ago. The style of dress, however, is less formal than ascot: you want smart summery dresses and straw boaters or panama hats, rather than formal dresses and statement headwear. For footwear I’d recommend a block-heeled sandal or wedge, which are far easier to walk in on grass and also go well with floaty dresses.
Henley is held from 4-8th July this year so the sun should be shining, but who knows what the weather will be like by July – we’ve had snow in spring this year, so I wouldn’t like to second guess what summer will bring! I would advise planning some sort of wardrobe cover-up in case the weather turns – a classic white blazer or lightweight wrap scarf are good additions to your Henley look, should the sun go into hiding.
This first look features two summery floral dresses: one pleated midi from Country Road, and one pleated maxi from Ted Baker. The Ted Baker “Nicee” dress is inspired by the beauty of an English garden and is the perfect style of dress for Henley.
Secondly I’ve featured a contrasting look: a khaki green maxi dress from Ted Baker. With a dark colour like this, I think it’s good to really make the most of the accessories to dress it up – gold or beaded sandals are a good idea, or a white bag.
This is one of my favourite looks: a nautical blue and white stripe maxi dress from Michael Kors, or a polka dot halter neck midi with belt. These dresses will look good with either white accessories or a contrasting colour like coral or red.
These looks are for a follower on my Instagram page who is looking for an outfit for a wedding at Sandhurst this summer. She specified that she needs to wear flat shoes due to a leg injury so I’ve scoured the shops for some dressy flat shoes and here are my findings! These have to be my favourite flats – pointed satin slingback in emerald green by Zara. I love this jewel-like shade of green. I’ve matched them with a pretty lace-trimmed aqua green tunic dress from Ted Baker a jewel-encrusted bag from Zara and a champagne headpiece from John Lewis. Zara is one of my favourite high street shops and they have some great dressy flats and clutches at the moment.
These two outfits are styled for an instagram follower who has a Buckingham Palace garden party to dress for this summer. As an ex-BP employee I have been on duty for numerous garden party days and have attended as a guest too so it’s something I am very familiar with. For the first look I have pictured the supremely elegant Hana dress by Beulah London. I love the subtle pleating in this dress, they call it a “hero” garment and hero it is in my book! I’ve matched it with a beautiful rose pink percher hat by Juliette Botterill, pink pearl earrings, an ivory clutch with pearl detail from Coast and ivory floral heels from Office. Now I’ve already advised her to wear comfortable shoes as there is a bit of queuing at the gates involved on garden party days and you’ll be on your feet on grass all afternoon…but I wouldn’t always listen to my advice! With shoes like this in the world it would be a shame not to wear them! Honestly though if you do opt for high heels I’d always advise to wear tights and use a shoe cushion insert to support your foot. Boots and M&S sell good value ones, otherwise you’ll get blisters and be hobbling home! Alice Bow insoles are a more luxury brand and are apparently used by the Duchess of Cambridge. M&S also have really low denier cooling tights that are good in summer and feel like you’re barely wearing anything – they’re practically 0 denier – they’re hardly there at all.
This set of looks is for an Instagram follower who has a wedding in Milan to attend this summer and will be heavily pregnant on the day!🤰Stylish maternity wear can be hard to find and maternity occasion wear even trickier! I’ve pictured two maternity dresses and two regular dresses. I’ve known a couple of ladies that go down this route when it comes to maternity occasion dress – they just size up in a regular label and choose tunic/cape styles that will cover the growing bump. I love the statement sleeves on the Ted Baker dress which will also help to balance out the growing baby bump, and the dusky rose colour matches beautifully with the floral headpiece by John Lewis and satin clutch by Carvela.
Coral pink is a great colour for summer – I’ve pictured below a pleated maternity dress by Seraphine Maternity and a chiffon cape overlay dress by Gina Baconni. If you sized up in this dress I think the cape overlay is a nice addition to discreetly cover the baby bump.
And lastly I have picked out a pretty “English Rose” dress by Tiffany Rose Maternity which I have unashamedly accessorised in an excessively romantic and feminine way! The English Rose print just makes me want to skip around in an English flower bed! Now I’m not a fan of fascinators but I think if it’s more of a floral hair clip then this is fine – I just don’t like anything too flimsy as it doesn’t really enhance the outfit.
This series of looks is for a follower on my Instagram page who is looking for an outfit for a wedding this summer. The wedding date is four weeks after she is due to give birth so I’ve recommended that she go for a tunic style of dress that skims over the figure and perhaps make more of a feature of the accessories or hat. I’ve picked out three tunic style dresses here and matched them with accessories.
This look features the Chatsworth Bloom Scallop dress by Ted Baker, with sheer panelling around the top and a scallop edge. I’ve picked out the scallop detail in the blush/gold courts from Dune, and added their matching clutch, classic double drop pearl earrings from A. B. Taylor at John Lewis and a statement headpiece in the same tone from Scottish Milliner William Chambers. These shoes are a great neutral court shoe for special occasions – the nude colour will go with every dress and the scallop detail and streak of gold make them a little dressier than a regular beige court. The Ted Baker dress has quite a bold print but in subtle colours so I think you can still make a feature of the hat.
Secondly we have the Flame tunic dress from Goat Fashion in a vibrant coral shade. The Flame dress is simple, versatile and stylish. Shaped for an easy fit, the dress has a round neck and an over-sized feature button on the outer sleeve. I’ve shown two looks here with different accessories so you can see how the dress can be worn two completely different ways – great if you have a busy social calendar this summer and don’t want to buy multiple dresses! On the left I’ve matched the vibrant colour of the dress in a button head piece from Bundle Maclaren, and statement earrings from Kendra Scott. If you’re wearing a block colour like this you can afford to add embellishments in the accessories so I’ve added an embellished black suede clutch from Dune with matching bag from L. K. Bennett. For a softer look I’ve used the same accessories as the first look and added a button pink sequinned headpiece adorned with an oyster and dusky pink silk flower from Bundle Maclaren with statement mother of pearl earrings by Olivia & Pearl. This headpiece could also match with the first dress from Ted Baker.
And finally a baby pink dress by Boutique Moschino featuring pretty ruffled sleeves and a square neckline, which I’ve accesorized with a classic Whitely swirl hat, the Olivia Pearl earrings, rosy suede heels from Kurt Geiger and a floral clutch from Ted Baker. I love Whiteley hats – they’re classic and elegant and look great with dresses like this if you want a sophisticated look!
Another instagram follower is quite the social butterfly this year 🦋 she has four weddings and a day at Royal Ascot to dress for! Sounds like a sequel for a Richard Curtis movie! She wants to re-wear her beautiful peachy coral flower & twist headpiece from Juliette pictured here for at least one of the events. I’ve selected some dresses and accessories below to mix and match so that she can get three more wears out of this hat!
“I make hats because I love hats. It’s an enigmatic object that serves the human purpose only of beautification and embellishment, and making one feel good, whether you’re the observer of the spectacle or the wearer”
– Philip Treacy
With the Royal wedding in May and Royal Ascot in June, now is the time to be thinking about hats! So I thought I’d bring you a round-up of all the best hatters in London and further afield, which may be especially useful if you’re new to the millinery world, and my top tips for finding the right hat if you have an upcoming special occasion this year. Finding the right dress for an event can be a hassle in itself, so if you also need a hat it can be quite challenging to find the perfect outfit. Here are some points to consider:
If you want a perfectly styled elegant ensemble, I would recommend matching the hat to the colour of your dress as much as possible. Most milliners offer a bespoke dye-to-order service where you can take your dress to them and they will create a hat to match its exact colour. Remember with bespoke services to leave as much time as possible for this to be done. A lot of hats take three to four weeks minimum to make, and are likely to take even longer at busier times eg. Royal Ascot, garden party season, so it’s important to plan ahead.
For variety of colour in your look, try picking a slightly different shade from the same colour group or a complementary colour group and then match it with your other accessories, e.g. a navy hat, bag and shoes with a paler blue dress.
If you’re wearing a multi-coloured patterned or floral dress, pick out one of the colours and match this in your hat, shoes and bag, or go for neutral accessories – this will help to pull the look together.
If you’ve chosen a statement hat and you’re building your outfit around it, stick to a simple dress and shoes and let the hat do the talking.
Store your hat properly after wear: line the crown with acid-free tissue paper and store in a hat box to protect its shape.
Price range: £600–£3,500+ Showroom: 69 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London. Other stockists: Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwicks (see website for full list of stockists).
The King of millinery, Philip Treacy’s hats have been popular with British and European royalty and Hollwood celebrities for decades. The Duchess of Cornwall wore a Treacy head piece and hat on her wedding day in 2002 and has been wearing mainly Treacy hats to major royal events ever since. Camilla always chooses his very wide-brimmed style hats, which suit her well. I particularly like the percher hats which have a silk floral detail on the underside. One of the most expensive milliners out there, but each piece is a work of art. In fact, if I bought one I think I’d be inclined to show it off in a glass cabinet in my house after wearing!
Price Range: £400–£2,500. Showroom: King Street, St. James’s, London. Other Stockists: Harrods, Selfridges.
Royal Warrant holder since 2014 as milliner to HM The Queen. The Queen wears Rachel Trevor Morgan hats almost exclusively (sometimes HM wears hats designed by her Dresser and Personal Assistant, Angela Kelly). Beautifully feminine and traditional hats and headpieces. (Photography: Catherine Harbour).
Price Range: £500–£2,500. Showroom: 253 Kings Road, London. Other Stockists: Harrods, Fenwicks, Fortnum and Mason.
Another favourite with the Royals, especially the Countess of Wessex, who has worn Jane Taylor hats exclusively to all formal royal events since 2009. Their occasion hats are chic and feminine, usually with a subtle floral or feather flourish that appears elegant without being too fussy. Blush rose is one of my favourite colours, so I’m spoilt for choice here as they have several rosy hats in their current collection. Blush pink is a great rosy neutral for complementing summer pastel or floral outfits. A bespoke service is also available to hand-craft clutches and gloves for a perfectly matched ensemble.
Price Range: £270–£575. Studio: London E3, by appointment only. Other stockists: Fortnum & Mason, Suzannah. HoodLondon.com, LoveHats.com. Consult website for other worldwide stockists.
London-based creative and contemporary milliner worn by Lady Gaga. Her current collection is inspired by optics and the rainbow of colours in visible light. Fun and contemporary pieces for those looking for something fresh and unique.
Price Range: £85–£400. Showroom: Fulham, London, by appointment. Other Stockists: John Lewis.
A large selection of affordable ready-to-wear hats available on their website. A great choice if you like quirkier contemporary hats, but they have many traditional pill box and wide-brim hats too. I’ve pictured some of my favourites above. Bespoke service available – no brief too big; they have done some pretty crazy creations for the races, including a giant parrot cage hat! Bridal headpieces and casual summer hats also available.
Price Range: £285-£425. Studio: London SW6, by appointment. Other stockists: Herald & Heart, Abi Gurney Hat Hire, Katie & Jo, lovehats.com
There’s a strong architectural influence to Camilla’s hats from her background in interior design. The “Volute” is a stand out style – a fluid, structural beret style hat available in a range of colours. Bespoke service available.
Price Range: £450–£1,125. Showroom: Wimbledon, London (appointment recommended). Other Stockists: LoveHats.com.
Emily London is really bringing back the boater! I love their elegant and dressy spin on this classic hat shape – as worn recently by Princess Beatrice. A great choice if you want a smart summery look without looking overly formal. Ready to wear, bespoke and bridal available.
Price Range: £380–£620. Showroom: Wimbledon Village, London, by appointment only. Other Stockists: Fortnum and Mason, LoveHats.com.
Juliette’s chic cocktail button hats and percher hats are popular with the younger royals: Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall and Autumn Phillips. Bespoke and dye-to-order service available. Some lovely pastel spring hues in her current collection as well as bolder colours, I’ve pictured my favourites above.
Price Range: £250-£750. Studio: 128 Grosvenor Road London, SW1 or Shropshire, by appointment. Other stockists: pop up in Selfridges May 2018.
Timeless hats all handcrafted in Laura’s Shropshire studio. Some whimsical creations too in her Butterfly House collection – always a favourite for Ladies Day at the races! Bespoke, ready to wear and bridal.
Price Range: £750–£925. Location: No. 6 St. James Street, London.
The world’s oldest hatter. A small selection of occasion hats online – classic shapes and sophisticated understated style. Experts in hat care; if your hat loses its shape then this is the place to take it to re-block your hat and get it back to its former glory.
Price Range: £185-£359. Studio: London, by appointment. Other stockists: Herald and Heart, Fulham, London.
British-Australian Milliner focusing on bespoke creations but a small collection of ready-to-wear hats are available. Some nice berets and boaters with a twist, also good for smaller headpieces/headbands.
Price Range: £180–£600. Studio: NW London (by appointment). Other stockists: Suzannah, Harrods, Fenwicks. See website for other European stockists.
Nerida worked as an apprentice to Philip Treacy for two years before starting her own label. Ready-to-wear hats available online, bespoke service also available. Elegant and sophisticated hats with subtle embellishments and classic colours. I’ve pictured some of my favourite wide brimmed hats from her current collection.
Price Range: £185–£550. Studio: North London (by appointment). Other stockists: Suzannah, Bloomingdales, Dubai, HoodLondon.com, lovehats.com
Rachel trained in theatrical costume construction which she draws on as inspiration when designing her hats to produce wearable, elegant and unique pieces with a sculptural flair. Ready-to-wear, bridal and bespoke service available.
Price Range: £255–£875. Location: available for appointments in Hampstead, London and Manchester. Other stockists: lovehats.com
Stylish, elegant and wearable beret style percher hats. Lots of colour in her latest collection, so a good choice if you have a bright outfit to match. Popular with the younger royals – Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice. Bespoke service available.
Price range: from £195. Showroom: The Italian Centre, 168 Ingram St., Glasgow, Scotland. Other stockists: Harrods, Fortnums, Fenwicks, Joyce Young, LoveHats.com. Samuels Hats (New York).
William Chambers likes to mix traditional textiles with more contemporary materials not frequently seen in millinery, e.g. leather, plastic and latex. Ready-to-wear, bespoke and bridal pieces available.
You can’t go wrong with a Whiteley. I love the simplicity of the pillbox hat which Whiteley does so well, as seen on the Duchess of Cambridge. You can’t fail to look elegant if you’re channeling Jackie O chic!
Irish milliner based in County Tipperary. Eye-catching, colourful and elegant hats. A great choice if you want to dress to be seen at the races. Bespoke, ready-to-wear and bridal collections. Hat hire service also available – a good option if you’re on a tighter budget.
For those on tighter budgets, department stores such as John Lewis or Fenwicks offer a great range of affordable hats and headpieces. Here are some of my favourites available from John Lewis.
The Royal Family attended the traditional Easter Sunday service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, yesterday, the venue for two Royal weddings this year. The calendar might be telling us that it’s spring, but with the weather yesterday – a chilly 8 degrees – it felt more like a day in December, meaning there was a blend of winter and spring style on show from the royal ladies present. In terms of millinery, hats are usually felt/wool in winter and straw in summer, but April is a tricky month for formal dressing, as shown by the mixture of spring/summer and autumn/winter Easter bonnets on parade.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s outfit was the most wintery looking. Kate re-wore several items from her wardrobe: a chocolate brown bespoke wool dress coat by Catherine Walker with matching velour pill box hat – an ensemble last seen on St. Patrick’s Day 2015, during her last pregnancy. The hat is a favourite by Lock & Co, the world’s oldest hat shop, and has been worn many times before. The only nod to spring was in her blush nude accessories: Gianvito Rossi 85 pumps in praline pink and a matching blush leather clutch by Loeffler Randall, a combination she used at her last solo official engagement. She also freshened up the look with massive pearl jewellery – large faux pearl clip-on earrings by Balenciaga and a 5-pearl brooch, last seen at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2016 and 2015. This is a great example of how accessories can really update a look, even if the choice of colour for the coat/hat was somewhat sombre for Easter Sunday. I think she must be running out of maternity coats to cover the growing baby bump!
The Countess of Wessex combined spring pieces with winter colour, opting for a trendy but traditional navy blue wool trench coat – the “Millington” – from the Resort 2018 collection of Roland Mouret featuring flared split long sleeves and over-sized lapels. Sophie teamed the coat with a navy/beige straw hat – the “Fernanda” – from the Spring/Summer collection of Jane Taylor London, and navy satin pumps by Manolo Blahnik.
Princess Beatrice and Autumn Phillips opted for a more summery look, both wearing dress coats by Suzannah. Princess Beatrice wore a silk/cotton jacquard “Versailles” coat dress in ivory white featuring a round neck with a Peter Pan style collar and pleats and tucks around the waist to flatter the form. She teamed it with a matching tweed boater style hat by Emily London, beige patent (dangerously!) spiky-looking heels by Kurt Geiger and a lilac satin knot clutch by Bottega Veneta. Meanwhile, Autumn Phillips chose Suzannah’s fresh ice blue dress coat – the “Hunter” – with matching straw/lurex knot button headpiece designed by Suzannah, in collaboration with Juliette Botterill Millinery. She accessorized with dove grey suede pumps and a matching suede clutch by Emmy London.
Princess Eugenie, who is the second bride-to-be to marry in Windsor’s chapel later this year, brought several splashes of colour to the proceedings in this striking paint-spattered effect dress by Oscar de la Renta, with fuschia knot detail percher hat by Juliette Botterill Millinery (from their AW 14 collection). Eugenie teamed her dress with a black leather clutch by YSL and black suede pumps by Prada. At least if you spill something down this dress, you wouldn’t really notice!
Seasoned royal dressers The Queen and Princess Anne brought some much-needed colour to brighten the day. HM chose a vibrant cerise pink dress coat with matching hat trimmed with a spring bloom, while the Princess Royal opted for a stylish turquoise shade for her coat and matching trilby style hat.Notable absentees from the Easter Sunday service in Windsor yesterday were Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – the next time the royals gather in their finery at this chapel will be for their wedding in May!