Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid's Looks

Racing Fashion – The Cheltenham Festival

Racing Fashion – The Lady’s Maid’s Guide to Style for The Cheltenham Festival

When you think of hats and horses, Royal Ascot might be the first event that springs to mind – a week in June that is as synonymous with style as it is with all things equine. March sees a very different racing event in terms of fashion: the Cheltenham Festival (13–16 March), the most prestigious meeting held at the Cheltenham racecourse, and the first notable event of the English racing calendar. Whilst the outfits of attendees are not quite so dressy as those at Ascot, it is still a place to show off your best country attire. Held in March, the weather usually calls for more practical winter wear – hats are worn but tend to be primarily for reasons of warmth as well as style, and are not obligatory; felt fedoras or berets are more appropriate than flamboyant fascinators.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 14.15.34.pngZara Tindall, The Duchess of Cambridge, Autumn Phillips and The Princess Royal pictured at the Cheltenham Festival.

The royals are the best models for inspiration when it comes to dressing for the races, pictured above in an array of neutral earthy tones. The best colours to wear for Cheltenham are autumnal shades, perhaps with a little pheasant feather flourish on the hat in keeping with the country feel. As for the outfit itself, smart country wear is the aim: tailored tweeds, houndstooth, skirts in countrified colours, rather than rainbow brights. As an outdoor event your outerwear will be kept on most of the time, so pick a smart longline tailored coat with simple separates underneath. For footwear, leather boots with a block or flat heel are advisable over stilettos; there is a wide variety of stylish leather and suede boots at Fairfax & Favor, some with elegant heels suitable for smarter ensembles. English weather in March is unpredictable so a scarf and gloves are also advisable; a patterned silk scarf or faux fur collar are stylish ways to add warmth to your outfit.

I’ve styled five possible outfits for Cheltenham below. The hat is the best signifier of how smart the look is. The first look is a fairly casual sweater and skirt ensemble topped off with a fedora hat; the last outfit features a more chic silk trimmed occasion hat from Jane Taylor London. This would be more suited to Ladies day at Cheltenham, held on the second day, Wednesday 14th March – this is the day when you will see dressier outfits, more colour and flamboyant headwear, and where there is also a competition for the best dressed lady, known as #ColourMeMarch, to add a bit of fun to the style stakes!

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 12.11.12

Clockwise from bottom left: “Soraya” coat: Hobbs; “Amberley” leather satchel in oxblood: Mulberry; cashmere turtle neck jumper in bottle green: Really Wild Clothing; “Emma” leather gloves: Dents; “Suffolk” fedora in maroon with guinea feather wrap: Hicks and Brown; mother of pearl drop earrings: Kendra Scott; silk scarf: Aspinal of London; suede over-the-knee boots: Gianvito Rossi; houndstooth check midi skirt: Luisa Beccaria.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 11.57.15

Clockwise from bottom left: brown wool midi skirt: Joseph; smoky quartz drop earrings: Kiki McDonough; blossom check wrap: Really Wild Clothing; “Neptune” beret hat with pheasant feather trim: Rosie Olivia Millinery; white cashmere polo neck: N.Peal; “Regina” mahogany boots: Fairfax and Favor; brown leather Half Moon snakeskin-effect cross-body bag: A.P.C; tweed jacket: Dubarry of Ireland.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 11.39.24

Clockwise from bottom left: block heel leather boots: Loro Piana; faux fur trim collar: Troy of London; leaf stud diamond and gold earrings: Anne Sisteron; “Provincial Lady” tweed hat: Lock & Co. Hatters; brown leather gloves: Dents; brown suede clutch: Peter Kaiser; dusty pink coat: Damsel in a Dress.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 13.36.40

Clockwise from bottom left: black suede long boots: Russell & Bromley; beret hat in emerald green: Camilla Rose Millinery; faux fur trim gloves: Reiss; “Franklin” emerald green coat: Katharine Hooker; mini hat box bag: Aspinal of London; emerald leaf earrings: Anne Sisteron; black faux fur collar: Troy of London.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 08.23.22.png

Clockwise from top left: “Citron” hat: Jane Taylor London; Toscana Lima coat in navy: Joseph; blue lace agate earrings: Monica Vinader; navy knitted dress: Altuzarra; grey suede clutch: L. K. Bennett; blue cashmere and silk scarf: Katharine Hooker; grey suede boots: Gianvito Rossi.





Storage, Wardrobe Management

New Year, New Wardrobe

Hang on to your Christmas spirit a little longer and cleanse your closet instead.

If you are anything like The Lady’s Maid, the last thing you want to do in the midst of January is adopt the customary New Year post-Christmas detox, diet or that strange phenomenon of recent years: “dry January” (why make the bleakest month of the year any worse by depriving yourself of a warming tipple). As the first month of the year, it is natural that the arrival of January prompts people to assess their lifestyles and want to improve, in an effort to “start as you mean to go on”. Still, The Lady’s Maid prefers to bask in the glory of Christmas until at least Candlemas. So, instead of depriving yourself of food and drink’s winter-warming sustenance, The Lady’s Maid suggests you turn your attention to a “wardrobe detox” instead.

If you have had a January Sales splurge and need to free up space for your new winter additions, then January is a perfect time to de-clutter your closet and release your inner “Marie Kondo”. Most ladies, at one time or another, have uttered the panic-stricken words “I have nothing to wear”. It is never usually true and often a result of clothing clutter – it is hard to create an outfit if you can’t easily locate one. Clearing out clothing clutter will also help you to identify what gaps you may have in your wardrobe – garments that you may need to purchase to get the full potential out of the clothes you currently have, enabling you to create outfits with ease and take the stress out of dressing.

A YouGov survey in 2012 revealed that there are around 2.4 billion pieces of clothing lying unworn per year in the UK, cluttering up wardrobes across the land; this equates to approx 46% of the national wardrobe. A similar survey in 2017 by Weight Watchers estimated the figure of wasted expenditure on clothing to be £10 billion, or £200 per adult, with only 55% of the clothes women own actually being worn. Clothing clutter is clearly an ongoing problem. Whilst some people may be hanging on to things for posterity, or “just in case” they may need it/fit in to it one day, there is undoubtedly a hoarding of unworn or unnecessary clothing going on.

With this in mind, when you go through your wardrobe, be realistic about the clothes that you wear day to day; hanging on to garments that you no longer wear takes up space unnecessarily, so try to adopt a ruthless sorting process. Divide into the following groups:

  1. Keep, wear regularly
  2. Keep, but need to supplement with new purchases in order to wear
  3. eBay/re-sell
  4. Charity
  5. Storage (out of season)
  6. Discard/recycle

If garments no longer fit or you haven’t worn them in a while, try selling them on eBay first or donate to a charity shop. Popular designer and high-street labels and occasion outfits/dresses tend to sell better than casual clothes on eBay, so consider sending casual clothes straight to the charity shop, if they are in good condition, or to a clothing recycling bank. High-end designer labels will also sell well on designer second-hand clothing websites, such or

 Keeping organised

To keep your clothing collection at a manageable level with a wardrobe that is accessible and wearable, try to resist purchasing any unnecessary items; focus instead on filling the gaps in your wardrobe that were revealed after the clear-out. Group 2 (things that you are keeping but need to supplement with new purchases in order to wear) is likely to be full of separates which only work if they have something to work with. Make a list of things you think your existing wardrobe would benefit from and focus on acquiring these items the next time you go clothes shopping. Your goal is for a versatile and manageable wardrobe to fit in with your space and lifestyle. Resist the temptation to purchase new one-off garments unless you think they will complement what you already own.

Once the detox is complete, your remaining wardrobe needs to be efficiently organised so that you can easily locate specific garments. It will be much easier to avoid clutter creeping back in if everything is suitable stored.

Here are The Lady’s Maid’s Top Tips for Organising your Wardrobe:

  • The best way to organise your clothing in your wardrobe is to divide it into sections, such as: work wear, casual wear, evening wear, sportswear. Within these sections organise garments by type (skirts/trousers/tops), and then by colour, darks to lights.
  • If you want your wardrobe to look neat and streamlined, discard shop hangers that came with your garments as these will vary in size and add bulk to the wardrobe space. If you adopt slim velour-covered plastic hangers, or slim rubber hangers throughout the rail you will keep the clothes hanging at an even level and achieve a streamlined visual effect as well as saving space.

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 10.51.08

  • Keep woollen knitwear folded to protect the natural fibres which will stretch if hung on a clothes hanger. Box-folding and arranging by colour is the best way of organising knitwear – keep different types together i.e. high-necks, V-necks, crew-necks etc for ease of location and then organise each type by colour, darks to lights. You can use a shirt-folding template to help achieve a uniform shape, or a plastic chopping board works just as well!

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 10.51.38.png

  • Hanging shoe organisers are a great space saver for flat footwear. These can be hung over a hanging rail to allow you to store multiple pairs of shoes. You can also store other small accessories here, such as scarfs, belts and gloves.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 13.47.45.png

  • Out-of-season clothing can be stored on top of the wardrobe or under the bed, to free up space for clothing in wear during the current season. Be sure that any storage boxes and bags that you use are appropriate for clothing – they should be made of breathable cotton or canvas material, not plastic. And if woollen knitwear is present, add a lavender sachet to ward off the pesky moth. Delicate garments should be folded with acid-free tissue paper to protect them from creasing.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 13.57.49.png

  • Drawer organisers are useful for keeping different types of underwear separate, and preventing you from having a top drawer full of jumbled smalls. If you don’t have drawers, then you could arrange underwear in open shoeboxes on shelves, or in similar shaped boxes.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 14.07.00.png

  • Acrylic drawers and stackable trays are a good way of storing costume jewellery and sunglasses to protect them from dust; the transparent plastic makes it easy to view the contents.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 14.12.09.png



This article also features on The Lady magazine website:





Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid's Looks

New Year’s Eve

If you’re fretting about what to wear for New Year’s Eve, The Lady’s Maid has rounded up a few of her favourite picks from the Christmas Sales to help you welcome the New Year in style.

Outerwear can be a bit of a conundrum when it comes to evening clothes – you don’t want to spoil your party look with the final layer, so it’s worth investing in one coat that will cover all evening outfits. A long-line black coat is a safe bet, but The Lady’s Maid’s favourite look for evening is winter white. A white coat is a classic wardrobe staple for evening events and will go with every outfit. Bright colours especially, like the dazzling pink dress from L. K. Bennett shown below, will be neutralised by a white or off-white cover-up.



Another option for evening cover is the cape – a chic way of shielding your shoulders from the cold winter’s night, while still revealing a glimpse of your glad-rags below. The one pictured here is not on sale, but works well with a black jumpsuit. The black jumpsuit is turning into the new Little Black Dress in terms of its wearability and versatility. This one from Whistles continues the summer’s “cold shoulder” trend and is now half-price.



The Lady’s Maid loves this metallic fitted coat by Bruce Oldfield at John Lewis. More of a statement piece in itself, you’ll want to keep it on all night! Shown here with a metallic blue dress from Ralph Lauren, available from House of Fraser, and pewter accessories.


If you’re staying at home but still want to dress up a little, why not go for fancy flats – velvet embellished flats, like these from Aquazurra, are a simple way of dressing up a plain outfit. 2017 has seen flat footwear appear more frequently in evening wear, which is a relief for those who struggle with the discomfort that the lofty heights of heels can cause after a night of partying. If you have to carry your shoes at the end of the night, you know it’s time to go home.



Happy holidays!




Wardrobe Wisdom

The Lady’s Maid is excited to share news of her forthcoming book publication with The National Trust in 2018.  Learn how to care for your clothing, pack like a pro and dress like a lady!

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 09.24.32



Style Secrets

Christmas Party Dresses 

As Christmas falls in the midst of bleak midwinter, you may find the prospect of wearing short party dresses a little uninviting. Sparkly sandals may look pretty, but they only really look good on bare legs – tight-seamed toes are a fashion no-no – so if you are wearing a short dress, The Lady’s Maid advises going for dressy court shoes so that you don’t freeze as you tip-toe around the party circuit this festive season. As a dress code, cocktail dresses are traditionally short in length (mini to knee length). Christmas is a great time to go for rich jewel shades – think sapphire blue, emerald green and burgundy red – or metallic silver/gold sequinned numbers. Here are the Lady’s Maid’s top picks for party dresses on the high street:












Style Secrets

⭐️🎄Christmas Jumpers🎄⭐️

Christmas jumpers are a fun novelty addition to the wardrobe during the festive season – you may not want to “dress up” when at home on Christmas Day so donning a Christmas jumper can be a comfy and casual way of entering into the festive spirit. They can be stylish too – The Lady’s Maid suggests selecting Fairisle or star patterns ⭐️ so that you can wear them a little longer than the 12 days of Christmas!🎄 Here are her top picks for festive knitwear and how to wear them:

Star Embellished Novelty Jumper, £29.50, Marks and Spencer

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 14.20.14

A light-weight knit that can easily be tucked into skirts or worn casually with jeans. Shown here dressed down with jeans from Mint Velvet and Grey suede boots from Ted Baker. Or dress it up with a silver pleated skirt, block heel sandals from Whistles and matching clutch from Dune.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 10.16.46

Berry Red Snowflake Jumper, £26, Dorothy Perkins

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 15.44.18

Features pretty diamanté snowflake embellishents. Shown here with a maroon pleated skirt from Ted Baker and Burgundy velvet heels from Boden.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 15.33.43

Star Black Cashmere Sweater, Chinti and Parker £350

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 14.40.14

Luxurious and playful – this starry “forever sweater” is shown here with cashmere star wristwarmers and hat from Brora, black scrunch suede ankle boots from Carvela Kurt Geiger and a winter white coat from Ted Baker.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 15.21.32

Jewelled Fairisle Cashmere Jumper, N Peal, £399

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 15.16.50

Farisle is a stylish alternative to the novelty jumper and looks trendy as well as traditional. Perfect for cosy Christmas weekend walks. Seen here with tan leather Dune boots a tan Jaeger wrap wool coat and cream cable beanie hat.


Fliss Fairisle Jumper, Monsoon, £55

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 14.56.04

This cosy cream/grey fair isle jumper from Monsoon features pretty sparkling beads across the pattern. Shown here with a long wool skirt from Joseph, grey suede ankle boots from Mint Velvet, a faux fur jacket from Reiss and star earrings from Estella Bartlett.


Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 16.20.51



Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid Recommends

Christmas Stocking Fillers

With the arrival of Advent, The Lady’s Maid’s mind has turned to the small matter of Christmas shopping. This post looks at her favourite ideas for Christmas stocking fillers with a Lady’s Maid’s leaning.

Liberty Print Sewing Roll Kit, John Lewis, £15.95



No Lady’s Maid would be without a sewing kit. This useful sewing kit from Liberty has everything you’ll need to make basic sewing alterations on the go. Features a classic ‘The Strawberry Thief’ Liberty print.

Katie Loxton Travel Jewellery Case, “Sparkle Everyday”, John Lewis, £19.99



This pretty gold leather heart jewellery case, lined with grey suede, is the perfect travel accessory to keep your jewels safe on the go so you can sparkle every day everywhere!

Cashmere Pilling Comb, M&S, £5


If Father Christmas has brought you a luxury cashmere jumper this year, you will need to give it plenty of TLC to keep it in top condition. Knitwear is prone to pilling (little bobbles) after wear, so a pilling comb is essential for all those who covet cashmere. (See Caring for Cashmere for more tips on the care of woollen knitwear).

Golden Lily Lavender Eye Mask, Morris & Co., £16  


If the festive season gets a little too much, you can relax in style with this Golden Lily Lavender Eye Mask from Morris & Co., featuring a classic William Morris print.

Vintage & Co. Fabrics & Flowers Scented Drawer Liners, Heathcote & Ivory, £7


Scented drawer liners will help keep your clothing fresh as well as repelling bugs such as moths. These vintage fabric and flowers patterned liners from Heathcote & Ivory will also add a touch of colour to your drawers and shelves. (Fragrance Notes: Orange Blossom, Sweet Birch, Gardenia, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Coconut, Peach, Amber and Vanilla). See The Scourge of the Moth for more tips on how to repel this pesky pest.

Mini Initial Lavender Pillow, Museum Selection, £9


Delicate, hand-embroidered cotton pillows filled with lavender inspired by Victorian embroidery. Lavender is particularly hated by moths, so place these in your knitwear drawers to help keep moths at bay.

“Star of Wonder” Myrrh & Opium Flower Scented Candle, M&S, £7.50


Christmas candles create a cosy ambience on winter nights at home – this Myrrh and Opium candle from M&S is subtle and exotic without being overpowering.

L’Occitane Refreshing Verbena Bauble, M&S, £12


The Lady’s Maid’s dainty hands suffer in wintertime, especially when she is hand-washing delicates! This festive bauble will add a little luxury to your hand-care. Inside the gold bauble there are three L’Occitane verbena surprises: verbena soap gently cleanses, and the hand cream and body lotion protect and moisturise hands and skin, leaving behind an invigorating scent.

Twelve Poems for Christmas, Seren, £5


A sparkling anthology of Christmas-themed poems to peruse over the festive season.

Charbonnel et Walker Milk Chocolate Handbag & Heels, John Lewis, £7


Stylish and tasty – the perfect gift for every shoe-loving lady!

How to Dress for Success, V&A Shop, £9.99


Edith Head, Hollywood designer to the stars, offers no-nonsense fashion advice straight from the 1960s. There is still much to learn today from Head’s witty style tips and delightful drawings. Bound in real cloth with ribbon page marker and foil embossing.

Happy Advent!