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What to wear – Glyndebourne

With Glyndebourne Opera well underway I thought I’d bring you a selection of my favourite black-tie summer dresses. The annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera takes place from May to August in the grounds of Glyndebourne House, East Sussex. The founder of the Festival, John Christie, started the tradition of wearing evening dress during the Festival as he felt it was one way that the audience could show their respect for the performers. Black-tie dress is customary still. You can get away with a short dress for black tie these days but I prefer long, so that’s what I’ve selected here. As it is an outdoor event it is advisable to go for a block-heeled sandal or a dressy flat rather than spiky stilettos. There is no way of reliably predicting the English weather from May to August, so I would definitely bring some kind of cover-up. A pashmina wrap or cropped dressy jacket are the best options to keep warm and stylish.

For the dress, I like the idea of picking something that fits in with the outdoor setting – spring/summer florals, pale colours and lightweight chiffons, for example, rather than heavy velvets. You want to sashay around the grounds, and blend in with nature like a pre-Raphaelite beauty! And something with a loose skirt, preferable un-creasable, that makes it easy to picnic in style.

Here are some of my top picks available now:

Cassidy maxi dress, Alice & Olivia A pretty billowy ruffled silk-georgette maxi dress with a crochet-knit waistband and lace-trimmed hem from the Pre-fall 18 collection. Inspired by the country setting and costumes in the Academy Award-winning film Atonement.

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Cold shoulder gown, Dundas. An ethereal sunny yellow gown fit for a Grecian Goddess!

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Bouquets of painterly blooms adorn this stunning Malcolm open-back floral-print cloqué gown by Emilia Wickstead. Perfect for posing amongst the peonies!

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Another gorgeous colour for summer in this Alexis V-neck crepe maxi dress by Marni. A simple style with an edge of drama in the wide belt and skirt ruffles.

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La Fleur crepe maxi dress, Free People.

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I love this Whimsical Gown in rose quartz by Needle & Thread. Featuring a pretty ditsy floral pattern, and made of layers of tulle. A really romantic dress perfect for a night at the English opera.

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Floral embroidered mesh maxi dress, Self-Portrait .  A pretty long-sleeved floral mesh bodice with pleated maxi dress in a soft shade of blue.

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Mint green maxi dress with asymmetric shoulder, Ted Baker.

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Phase Eight, Anastacia embroidered dress.

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Adrianna Papell, long beaded dress in rose gold.

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Floral print chiffon maxi dress, Self-Portrait

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I love the fresh aqua hue of this Lace-trimmed Swiss-dot tulle gown by Costarellos. Topped with a leaf lace pattern – perfect for black tie summer soirees.

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The Little White Dress

If there’s one dress that screams summer it’s the little white dress. Simple, stylish and it looks great with a suntan. I love designs with a bit of broderie anglaise trim or frill to add a feminine touch, or button detail for contrast. Wearing white is great in summer as it reflects the heat rather than absorbing it so will keep you cool. The downside of wearing white is obviously that it is more prone to visible marks – so it will probably need washing more than other clothing. Wash as soon as you notice any marks – once they settle it will be harder to bring it back to its original pristine condition (particularly make up, sweat or sun lotion). Most of these dresses are cotton so will withstand a higher temp wash which is best for stain removal (check the care labels though – if there are delicate lace trims or linings hand-washing or dry-cleaning may be necessary).  Adding whitening or brightening agents to the wash will help to maintain the brightness too. And if you leave to dry hanging outside then the whites will benefit from the sun’s natural bleaching rays. Here are some of my top picks available now for every budget. There are some great budget little white dresses available that look just as good if not better than some of the designer options!

Designer:

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Sarafina lace-paneled embroidered cotton-voile midi dress, £650, Talitha

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Corsail lace-insert cotton dress, £975, Zimmerman
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Sofie broderie-anglaise cotton dress, £460, Sea

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Embroidered cotton silk dress, £696, Burberry

 

Mid-range:

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Y.A.S High Neck Lace Midi Dress With Asymetric Hem, £120, ASOS.

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Belted pleated pointelle-trimmed cotton midi dress, £195, Michael Kors

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Aileen Zinnia Dress, £168, All Saints

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Ivory Broderie Anglaise Dress, £89 (reduced from £129) Mint Velvet

 

Budget:

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Embroidered midi dress, £39.99, Zara

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Ruffled lined dress, £49.99, Mango

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Broderie midi dress, £65, Oasis

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Embroidered dress, £69.99, H&M

 

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