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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.





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!



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

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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.

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Berry Red Snowflake Jumper, £26, Dorothy Perkins

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

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Star Black Cashmere Sweater, Chinti and Parker £350

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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.

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Jewelled Fairisle Cashmere Jumper, N Peal, £399

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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

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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.


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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!


Clothing Care, Style Secrets

White Wear

Inspired by the ‘all white wear’ rule that tennis players are obliged to adhere to at Wimbledon this week, The Lady’s Maid has picked out her favourite white pieces for summer. White is a very versatile colour to have in your wardrobe in summer and winter – from crisp white collared shirts to broderie anglaise summer tops. Like black, it’s a colour that never goes out of fashion and can be paired with almost any other colour. The only downside being that white shows up marks and stains more easily so The Lady’s Maid also recommends some products to care for your precious whites.


Scalloped dress, £1,950, Valentino; White cotton cami, £29, Warehouse; white jade Cabochon Drop Hook Earrings, £99, Dyrberg/Kern at John Lewis; slingback loafers, £475, Tabitha Simmons; lace bomber jacket, £107, Ted Baker; lace dress, £140, Reiss; sunglasses, £16, Top Shop; cropped trousers, £145, Reiss; across body bag, £250, Coach; cutwork broiderie shorts, £26, Top Shop; white lace espadrille flats, £115, L K Bennett.

Top Tips for Washing Whites

  • Treat stained areas properly prior to washing – rinse stain in cold water first and then treat with an appropriate stain removal product eg. Vanish or Stain Devils.
  • Wash as hot as the garment label allows using a powder detergent rather than a gel or liquid (powder detergents contain brightening agents)
  • Keep your washing machine clean – run the machine on the hottest wash with a cup of white vinegar once a month.
  • White tops will suffer more than colours from perspiration stains – so wash more frequently than colours to prevent permanent yellowing.
  • Add a whitening powder to the wash for even brighter whites e.g. Vanish Gold Oxi-action for whites powder.





Style Secrets

What to Wear…Wimbledon

Wimbledon – that most English of sporting occasions – is upon us again. In sporting terms, Wimbledon is one of the four “grand slams” – the most important tennis tournaments for professional players. But most players will admit that Wimbledon is the top tournament and the one which they dream of winning as a child. This has something to do with tradition, history, and style. Respecting these principles 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 (although the Lady’s Maid did weep a little when the players’ pre-/post-match bow to the Royal Box ended. Admittedly, it did start to become more likely to see David Beckham in the Royal box than a minor royal, so it saves the embarrassment of tennis players mistakenly bowing to footballers). But other stylish traditions are still alive and well – white sportswear is still the only colour allowed to be worn by players, for example. So strict is the “all-white wear” rule that officials at the All England Club even enforce it for undergarments – heaven forbid that a coloured knicker ruffle should be flashed.

For on-lookers the dress code is thankfully more relaxed. For general ticket-holders there are no specific rules. It is advisable to wear loose-fitted clothes that are comfortable for sitting down all day – five-set matches can go on late into the evening. And a jacket or some form of cover-up if you are staying all day.

In the debentures area the dress code has been relaxed in recent years to allow denim, although ripped jeans and trainers are still banned.

In the members area the dress code for men is lounge suit or tailored jacket, shirt, trousers and dress shoes, so ladies would be expected to match this; e.g. smart day dresses, or smart two-piece outfits.

Here are some of the Lady’s Maid’s suggestions for Wimbledon Wear – let’s hope the sun is shining on Centre Court.


Jumpsuit, £110, Whistles; red bag, £87, L K Bennett; shoes, £117, L K Bennett; Jacket, £185, Reiss



Dress, £245, Whistles; shoes, £79, Mint Velvet; bag, £225, Michael Kors; jacket, £147, L K Bennett.



Top, £145, L K Bennett; Trousers, £145, Reiss; shoes, £35, Top Shop; bag, £250, Coach.