A round-up of my favourite fair isles and novelty knits to wear for the festive season.
Donegal fair isle jumper – Campbells of Beuly
9 stylish dress coats for winter:
18 dresses that have caught my eye for AW 21, featuring festive checks, cosy cords and luscious velvets – it’s hard to pick a favourite!
Leon & Harper Reglisse Dress – Leon & Harper. I have the tartan version of this dress from last year – It’s a really comfy soft cotton and easy to layer with a tank top for extra warmth. I love the patchwork mix of different autumnal fabrics.
Tartan Harrogate dress – Justine Tabak. I bought this dress a couple of weeks ago and have already worn it multiple times – I love the multi-toned tartan and the loose fit – the perfect casual dress for weekend walks.
Charcoal and ruby plaid shirt dress – Brora. A great casual check dress for the festive season.
Sophia burgundy check dress – Ophelia & Indigo. I love the burgundy/blue check in this easy-to-wear cotton dress – also available in a shorter version.
Checked midi dress – Monsoon. This brown/black check dress would be easy to dress up or down for work or weekend.
Raspberry Cord Dress – Pink City Prints. I love the frill shoulder detail on this prarie style berry cord dress.
Candy Vine Margaret Dress – Pink City Prints. The burgundy velvet trim on this cotton dress is so pretty
Spot mesh fit and flare dress – Coast. I love the sheer spot mesh sleeves to add a bit of fun to this classic dress from Coast.
Novella midi dress – Jane Atelier. An elegant dress for winter weddings with the prettiest frill detail around the neckline.
Calla burgundy velvet dress – Beulah. This dress stopped me in my tracks when I spotted it yesterday. Beulah have just launched a velvet collection of dreamy dresses and this is my favourite. I love the pearl buttons and balloon sleeves. I also like the slightly raised waistline which will be flattering on petite figures.
Cotton checked midi dress – Albaray. I love the burgundy / pink mix in this easy-to-wear check dress – a great weekend throw on number.
Shae cord dress – By Iris. The popular Shae style is back in a raspberry pink needlecord. I have this style in red from last year so can highly recommend!
Forest Cord Dress – Pink City Prints. Forest green is one of my favourite colours at this time of year. This needlecord dress can be worn loose for a more casual look or cinched in with the matching waist tie. I’d wear it with burgundy boots for weekend walks.
Tahlia Yoke Dress – By Iris. I love the velvet edging on this pretty teal cotton dress. Wear with a navy thin polo neck underneath for added warmth.
Circle print lace detail emerald silk dress – Brora. I love the black lace detail on this dress – it would look good worn with a black belt.
Yascoolia midi dress – Y.A.S. This dress looks way more expensive than it is. It reminds me of something by Erdem. I love the retro style and jacquard fabric. It would be good for a winter wedding or to dress up on Christmas Day.
Emerald and charcoal gingham shirt dress – Brora. I have the navy/green version of this style from last year. I love the frill detail to the neckline and cuffs.
Veronique velvet shirt dress – Monsoon. A gorgeous green velvet dress with pretty jewelled buttons – perfect for festive events.
After a two-year pandemic-enforced break, Wimbledon is back tomorrow. I’ve always loved Wimbledon fortnight – tennis is my favourite sport and Wimbledon is the most stylish of the grand slams, largely due to the traditions of the All England Club and its Royal patronage – it’s the only tennis grand slam with a strict dress code for the players who are expected to wear all white. Respecting the principles of tradition, history and style are what makes the English carry off their seasonal events so well – not changing for change sake, and upholding certain traditions that are important to the attraction of the event. (The most important of these are strawberries and Pimms, of course! 😉 ) Ahead of opening day tomorrow, here are eight Wimbledon-inspired dresses fit for a sunny day out at SW19.
This week I played dress up over at @theladysmaid to celebrate the return of the highlight of the summer season – Royal Ascot, and in support of some of my favourite British brands. Thanks to all the milliners and brands who loaned me their pieces for the feature. If you spotted something you liked for your next fancy event, browse through below to shop the look. After the last year of zero events, small occasionwear British brands are very much in need of our support!
I love this retro style headband trimmed with rainbow ribbons by Sarah Cant Millinery. Sarah Cant’s hats are a great option if you want something more striking and original as the crowning glory for your raceday or summer wedding look. I’ve paired it with 2 dress options here – firstly the Tivoli silk dress from The Fold. I love the cut and fit of The Fold dresses. The Tivoli has a really elegant draped neckline and the multicoloured confetti painterly print is fun without being too loud. The second dress is by Rixo and available to rent at By Rotation. Renting dresses is becoming really popular these days as a way of being more sustainable when dressing for events and enabling you to wear designer dresses at a fraction of the retail price.
Juliette Botterill’s headbands and hats are so elegant, I love the entire collection. She’s a top choice if you want a refined and regal look. I recently chose this pretty mint green headband for a wedding outfit I styled for a lady in France – for her I matched it with a green Beulah dress; here I’ve paired it with a sage green silk coat with beaded waistband from Kathering Hooker worn over a matching appropriately named ‘Ascot’ dress. This ‘Buxton’ dress coat is also available in blue and cream– both with great reductions in their current sale. They are really high quality dress coats for formal occasions, expertly made in their London workshop from the finest fabrics. A great Mother of the Bride or Groom look for summer weddings.
The designer Katherine Hooker says: “My aim is that your piece is the best item of clothing that your granddaughter and great granddaughter will find in your attic – it still looks and feels fantastic. That is the definition of a classic – it goes on forever.”
I stepped out of my colour block comfort zone with this fun colourful look featuring an eye-catching hat by Camilla Roseand multicloured dress from Mojo & McCoy. London based milliner Camilla Rose’s hats are characterised by their vivid colours and exciting shapes. They’re particularly good for matching with multicoloured dresses that can be hard to match with hats like this one by Saloni – from Berkshire based boutique Mojo & McCoy. I’m wearing the Dosado in blue and magenta (available to hire) which I was a bit scared of when it arrived! But the blue base and magenta silk bow pick out the colours of the dress really well and I can’t imagine a better hat for this dress. Whenever there is a tricky patterned dress needing the right hat partner, Camilla is always the milliner I think of as her hats are perfect for providing the final flourish rather than competing with the dress too much.
Small boutiques like Mojo and McCoy have had a rough ride during the pandemic with the endless shop closures – they stock some great well-sourced labels from all over the world, so if you’re thinking of buying a special summer dress – consider shopping small from a boutique like this. Some of my other favourites from their summer collection are this white cotton daisy embroidered dress from Pink City Prints, a silk shiffon rose patterned dress from Temperley London and this bright and breezy cotton maxi from Heidi Klein.
This red sinamay saucer hat trimmed with handmade camelia flowers is by Edinburgh based milliner Sally Ann Provan. A popular milliner with the younger royals, including the Duchess of Cambridge and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
I’ve styled it here with a powder blue poppy print dress by Suzannah London. A popular choice with the Countess of Wessex, Suzannah’s quintessentially British tea dresses inspired by the 1930s and 40s are a signature style of the brand and a great versatile option for summer events as they’re easy to dress up or down for a variety of different occasions. They’re available in a range of pretty summery prints – each exclusive printed textile is designed and painted by hand, and then digitally printed on Italian crepe-de-chine. The silk fabric feels very luxurious but comfortable too and the midi length of the skirt is really elegant – perfect for swishing through the summer season.
This look is a bit of an ode to one of my favourite colours – blush pink. The disc shape hat is a signature (and my favourite) style of Rachel Trevor-Morgan. Rachel’s hats are all hand made in her St. James Atelier in London. An expert in her craft – she has run her business for more than 30 years and knows the balance required for a hat to flatter and finish an outfit. She gets the royal seal of approval too – HM the Queen has been wearing RTM hats for the last 15 years. I’ve paired the hat here with an elegant matching blush pink pencil dress from Jane Lewis Atelier who recently rebranded from Goat Fashion. I love the slightly puffed and gathered detailing in the sleeves. The classic, sleek and unfussy design of Jane Lewis dresses make them great investment pieces – timeless dresses for formal events and easy to match with millinery.
The Fonteyn Mignon in blush pink is my favourite bag style from Lalage – it’s small enough to use as an alternative to a clutch bag for formal day time outfits but fits more stuff in, so it’s practical as well as pretty.They also come with a detachable strap so can be worn more casually too.
This stylish blush silk rose trimmed polka dot hat is from the couture collection at Lock Hatters created by head milliner Awon Golding. It’s a perfect match for this palest of pink dresses scattered with spots from Hobbs London.
I like the simplicity of this elegant floaty white spot jacquard dress from Hobbs with its fluted sleeves and black piping to give it a bit of shape. I’ve paired it here with a black side disc hat trimmed with white silk flowers and black ostrich quills by Jess Collett and a black clutch from Lalage.
With meetings of groups of six allowed outdoors in the UK from tomorrow and sunny weather forecast next week it’s time to throw your joggers in the wash and put a pretty frock on to re-enter society! We’re lucky that the pandemic has coincided with a trend for oversized dresses (got to look for a silver lining) as these are the perfect style for comfortably reclining on a picnic blanket with the added benefit of hiding the waistline so you can go wild on the sausage rolls. Other things to look for in a comfortable dress for outdoor meet ups are elasticated / drawstring waists, empire lines or smock style frocks for ease of wear al fresco. If the thought of what to wear outside your home is sending your head spinning here are my top picks for spring picnic dresses.
Wear it with:
Wear it with:
An easy to wear throw on yellow gingham cotton dress from Mango
This pretty blouson sleeve dress from Hush is embroidered with daisies so definitely belongs in my picnic dress edit.
The pretty embroidery on this linen dress from Boden gives an otherwise simple dress an extra special touch.
Small British Brands
Love the statement sleeves and oversized fit on this dress by Stoned & Waisted seen here on Emma Paton.
Since I published this post I noticed Kemi Telford has these new check dresses which would also be great for picnics:
Splash the cash
With minimal travel abroad over the past year and eating out a distant memory some people may have managed to save money during the pandemic so if you’re looking for a post-lockdwon splurge as you re-enter polite society these are my top pics for an extra special picnic frock :
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This weekend I wanted a distraction from being cooped up in lockdown alone, so I asked followers of my Instagram page to send me their stories of lost jewellery (everyone has one). I was surprised by how many lost jewels actually turned up, and in the most random places – sometimes 10 years or more later. So often it’s the sentimental attachment that makes losing jewellery difficult, above the monetary value. A ring inherited from Grandma, a 21st Birthday watch – jewellery inherited or given as a gift can be the only tangible attachment we have with loved ones no longer with us, or symbolic of family bonds and milestones, so it is often irreplaceable. My favourite story was a lady whose husband lost his wedding band whilst preparing a cannon to fire during a military ceremony!
Another favourite was a lady retrieving a ring, lost for 15 years, on her gardening fork while digging up veg! It reminded me of this news story where a lady dug up a carrot and miraculously her diamond ring, lost for 10 years, was stuck around it. I think sometimes the jewellery wants to be found and eventually you’re drawn to it.
There were also lots of stories of children “playing postman” with Mama’s precious jewels and dropping them down floorboard cracks. I like hearing the random places where jewels turn up – biscuit tins, candle sticks, flower pots – and so many years later. Diamonds really are forever, even if they’re not with you!
I rarely travel with anything too valuable or sentimental these days after I lost a St. Christopher pendant I bought on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence to bring me luck when I travel. The pendant wasn’t so lucky, sadly, as I lost it in Paris along with my watch. The watch turned up randomly in the bottom of a garment bag (it must have fallen off whilst I was packing), but I never found the necklace. Maybe one day it will re-surface like in your stories 🙂
I’ve also been entrusted with extremely valuable jewellery with my work, so my focus is often on my employer’s jewellery rather than mine. I once worked for a lady who lost a yellow diamond earring when we were travelling in Japan (very rare and scarily expensive). We were travelling with a photographer, so I got his camera and looked through all the photos until I found one where she was wearing only one earring. The photo was taken in a clothing store where she was trying on scarves, so we called the store and they had found it! It was such a relief – and I got extra brownie points for my detective work 😉 I’ve also often had to retrieve a chain from a drain – blue tack on the end of a skewer works well for this!
So remember – never wear precious rings when gardening or washing up! And never put your jewellery in a tissue or anywhere temporarily that isn’t a container – you will always forget it’s there!
With jewellery safe places and storage in mind – here are some ideas for trinket trays to keep near sinks, dressing tables and bedside tables, and portable travel jewellery organisers to keep your jewels safe and prevent future diamond dramas!
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If you haven’t yet added a contrast collar top to your working from home wardrobe here are 10 of my favourites available now. I think they’re an ideal top for video calls as the contrast collar frames the face nicely so looks good on screen. And no-one will notice if you pair it with sweatpants and slippers 😉
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I have selected some of my favourite British brands to feature in this Christmas style and gift guide. As most Christmas shopping will be done online this year I thought it would be a good idea to bring together some great British brands that complement each another into one virtual Christmas “pop-up” shop, and encourage people to shop from British independent brands this Christmas. Many milliners and designers, such as Camilla Rose, Bee Smith, Beverley Edmonson and Lisa Redman, have pivoted during the pandemic by introducing small accessories which are a bit more lockdown friendly than their usual flamboyant race day creations. I’ve also included a few beautiful occasion wear pieces by Laura Green, Suzannah London, Vaai and Lalage Beaumont, Claire Mischevani and Caroline Charles for those who are planning on dressing up for Christmas Day at home. There’s luxe loungewear and fancy flats from Sargasso and Grey, Yosuru, Ethereal London, Nuiami and Bombshell, for sitting room soirees. For more casual festive style, take a look at my top picks from Troy London, Really Wild and Guinea London for Christmas walks in the countryside. Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of sparkle, courtesy of Jennifer Gibson, Susan Caplan and Auree Jewellery. I hope you enjoy browsing and find something suitable to buy for yourself or to give to your friends and family and support small British brands this Christmas!
My top picks from Troy for Christmas in the country:
Enter Ladysmaid at checkout for 10% off at Suzannah London
Smart/Casual Festive Frocks
More festive velvet pieces from Bombshell:
Smart/Casual Festive Frocks
Elegant and comforatbale festive flats and low-heeled shoes. Use the code: THELADYSMAID20 for 20% off.
For the Little Ladies:
Gifts benefitting charity:
Happy shopping! 🎄
(N.B. this guide contains some affiliate links)
A round-up of my favourite pyjamas to make staying home in lockdown a little more comfortable and chic. Some of these are too good to save for sleep 😉
If you want a premium look on a budget – buy just the trousers and wear with a T shirt/top you already have:
And what to wear over them:
If pyjamas have slipped into your working-from-home uniform wearing them with a cashmere poncho knit will elevate/disguise the look a little so that you can open the door to the DPD man and they will be none the wiser that you haven’t properly got dressed ;). I’d go for a neutral poncho style or knitted gilet – super comfortable to wear and much more chic than a dressing gown.