style, Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid's Looks

What to wear – Royal Ascot

With a week to go until Royal Ascot gets underway, I thought I’d take a closer look at the dress codes for Royal Ascot. Many of my followers on Instagram are attending and have been planning their outfits well in advance, but there are still a few last-minute ladies looking for outfits this week! Hat hire is a great option if you’ve left it too late to get a bespoke hat made or if you want a quality hat at a lower cost that you’re only going to wear once. Many of the milliners in my hat directory have hat hire options, or you could consult your nearest hat shop – the advantage of these is that you have the pick of hats from lots of great milliners all in one place. In London, X Terrace/The Old Brompton Gallery have a Royal Ascot/Summer wedding pop up shop. The Cotswold Hat Club is a new hat hire company with some pieces from top milliners, including Emily London, Sarah Cant, Bundle Maclaren and Martha Lynn Millinery. They also offer a membership for unlimited hat hire for 12 months for a one-off fee, which is a great idea for summer-season social butterflies.

Ascot has actually relaxed its style rules in recent years to include trouser suits and jumpsuits within the royal enclosure. They are aware that fashion evolves and are keen to embrace current trends. But there are still strict rules in terms of straps on dresses and substantial headpieces. Some people may not like such rules, but I’m happy for them to stay as long as possible. It’s entirely possible to find a fun and stylish outfit within these rules so there’s no need to resort to night club apparel! Dress and tradition are part of the fun of Royal Ascot. And as I say with any event – dressing appropriately is a sign of respect to your host and in this case the history and tradition that make Royal Ascot so special. Formal daywear is not something that is regularly worn by most people these days, so I think this is why some people sometimes find it hard to know what to wear – dressing up doesn’t mean wearing a party dress – the outfit should be appropriate for daylight hours not cocktail hour.

On consulting the Royal Ascot website, you will see the dress codes that should be followed for each enclosure. The strictest dress code is for the Royal Enclosure, which is relaxed a little for the other enclosures; e.g. strappy dresses and fascinators (if you must) are permitted elsewhere.

Royal Enclosure

The dress code for the Royal Enclosure is basically “formal daywear”, which is defined as:

  • Skirt/dress to be knee-length or longer.
  • Straps on dresses should be at least 1 inch.
  • Trouser suits are allowed, but they should be of matching colour and material.
  • Jumpsuits are allowed. They should be full-length to the ankle, with sleeves matching the regulations for dresses.
  • Hats should be worn. Head pieces are acceptable as long as the base is 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.

What NOT to wear:

  • Dresses of the strapless, spaghetti strap, halter-neck, or off-the-shoulder variety (including bardot style dresses).
  • Fascinators.

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For the royal enclosure I would recommend tailored long sleeve dresses or skirt/jacket ensembles. For a really stylish elegant look, I prefer matchy-matchy ensembles, so stick to two colours. Black and white is such a classy colour combination for Royal Ascot. I think it’s good to get the balance right with the black/white ratio and patterns/details so that you come across more My Fair Lady rather than Cruella de Vil! I love this ivory wide brimmed hat with black sequin lace by Nerida Fraiman – a real statement number. Ascot is a great place to wear wide brimmed hats – the sort of hat you can’t wear seated unless you want everyone behind you to hate you! This hat is definitely one for wafting around the royal enclosure in style. I’ve matched it with a white cotton weave jacket with lace trim and asymmetric hem by Roland Mouret, and matching pencil skirt. Clutch by Aspinal of London, classic black suede courts from Boden and black/gold floral studs from Accessorize. A really chic, timeless and sophisticated look.

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All white is another classic choice and a great summery look for Royal Ascot. It’s not a colour that you can wear at weddings without raising eyebrows! So Ascot is the perfect time to work those pristine stylish whites. Just be sure to protect your personal space at the Pimms bar – one drink spillage and it’s ruined. This beautiful lace dress is by Claire Mischevani. I’ve matched it with a rose & net sideswipe hat from Juliette Botterill, nude accessories from L.K. Bennett and pearl drop earrings by A. B. Davis. A perfect royal enclosure outfit fit for a Duchess.

Queen Anne Enclosure

  • Not as formal as the Royal Enclosure, but a hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
  • Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.
  • Trouser suits and jumpsuits must be full-length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Shorts are not permitted.

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Another colour that’s a bit taboo to wear at weddings is red, so Royal Ascot is a great opportunity to go for bright colours and stand out from the crowd. This stunning silk rose headpiece by Rachel Trevor Morgan is a great match for the red/black floral dress from Hobbs, accessorized with clutch from Hobbs, courts from L.K. Bennett and stud earrings from Anne Sisteron.

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If you’re more of a floaty-flirty lady when it comes to dresses, something like this summery green frock from Keepsake the Label would be ideal – sharpened up with my favourite emerald green volute headpiece by Camilla Rose Millinery. This summer frock could be worn at many other summer soirees too – evening as well as day time (bag: Zara; heels: Gianvito Rossi; earrings: Monet Jewellery).

Village Enclosure

  • Less formal than the Queen Anne Enclosure, but a hat, headpiece or fascinator should still be worn at all times.
  • Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.
  • Trouser suits and jumpsuits must be full-length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Shorts are not permitted.

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I love summery boater-style hats – they will give your outfit the formal edge required but aren’t as dressy as the more flamboyant statement hats, so are perfect for the outdoor setting of the Village enclosure. This one is the Amherst straw boater with hand sculpted ice blue Lady Amherst feather by Louise Georgette Millinery. As the Village Enclosure is a largely outdoor area, a wedge shoe or block heel is advisable over a spiky stiletto. These sandals are by Oasis and the courts are Rupert Sanderson. Dresses by Goat Fashion and Alice & Olivia and clutch by Emmy London.

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Another great floral frock from Hobbs that’s great for all sorts of summer events, including the races. Pictured here with an elegant shell pink feathered headpiece by Rachel Black Millinery, bag by Zara and Faber Novella block shoes. Headpieces like this are a great choice if you want something discreet and are in a crowded area. Infinitely better than fascinators.

Windsor Enclosure

  • No formal dress code is required but racegoers are encouraged to dress for the occasion, so it is recommended that ladies wear smart attire with a hat or fascinator.
  • Fancy dress, novelty and branded/promotional clothing are not allowed.

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Again, a boater-style hat like this one from Eugenia Kim is an option for this less dressy enclosure. Or you could wear a discreet button headpiece like this one below from Vixen Millinery. Jumpsuit by Whistles, yellow dress by Top Shop; bags by Zara; shoes by Office and Dune.

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For more daily race-ready outfits head over to my Instagram page: @theladysmaid where I’ll be styling more last-minute looks before Royal Ascot next week.

 

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Royal Style, style, Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid's Looks

Royal Wedding Style

The Royal Wedding is almost upon us! I thought I would have a bit of fun and match some of my favourite Instagram wedding looks that I have posted over the last few weeks to members of the royal party in anticipation of the big day!

Lets start with HM. The Queen is quite loyal to her favourite couturier and milliner so I think it’s safe to say we will see her in a dress and coat by Stuart Parvin with a hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan. She wore yellow at the last royal wedding so my bet’s on blue this time round. The hat I’ve pictured below is by Philip Treacy, with dress coat by Suzannah.

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Mother of the Bride. It must be quite daunting for Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria,  dressing for an occasion like this. I think she would look good in a nice peachy coral or maybe a lemon yellow with ivory hat. This is one of my favourite coat dresses by Claire Mischevani with hat by Philip Treacy.

Doria

The Duchess of Cornwall. Camilla usually wears really shimmery pastel colours – and quite large wide brimmed hats so she’ll probably stick to this formula with a hat by Philip Treacy. Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.13.25

The Duchess of Cambridge. Usually loyal to Catherine Walker or Alexander Mcqueen on occasions like this. A tricky one for the Duchess so soon after giving birth but she’s lucky enough to have the expert services of the best couturiers on call so her dress dilemma will be made a lot easier with a bespoke number. The Duchess doesn’t wear green much but it would really suit her so I would dress her in a bespoke version of this lovely mint green dress coat by Catharine Walker, with hat by Lock & Co.

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The Countess of Wessex. Sophie wore a silvery Bruce Oldfield skirt suit at the last royal wedding. I’d like to see her in blush or rose pink for spring – with a hat by her usual milliner, Jane Taylor. I would dress her in this lovely pink dress by Oscar de la Renta pictured here with a hat by Philip Treacy.

Sophie

Princess Beatrice. Beatrice’s hat was one of the more stand-out memories from the last royal wedding. The infamous Treacy pretzel hat was quite a statement! Her dressing has become more and more elegant lately so I’m expecting to see her in a stylish dress and jacket and a sophisticated head piece, like this unusual floral headband from Juliette Botterill Millinery.

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Princess Eugenie. Eugenie loves a bit of colour so I’m not expecting this one to be too matchy matchy! I think she’d look good in this emerald green dress by Self Portrait with hat by Camilla Rose.

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Enjoy the royal wedding!

 

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Royal Style, style, Style Secrets, The Lady's Maid's Looks

What to Wear – Royal Garden Party

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.

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A garden party in England brings out the florals in me as you can see from the second look here – a gourgeous soft blush pink embroidered fitted dress by Karen Millen that I have paired with two hat options – the left one is by Awon Golding and on the right is another headpiece from Juliette Botterill Millinery. I think the soft pink accessories are best – L.K. Bennett clutch and matching blush suede courts – but you could also go for bright pink if you fancy more colour💕 (Dune London clutch and Kurt Geiger courts).

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Enjoy the garden party – the afternoon teas are the best!

 

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Style Challenge – Summer Wedding

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.

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Blush floral headpiece, John Lewis, tunic dress, Ted Baker; blush satin clutch, Carvela; pink jacquard shoes, L.K. Bennett; pink pearl earrings, A.B. Davis.

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.

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Pleated coral dress, Seraphine; coral cape dress, Gina Bacconi; copper ruffle brimmed hat, Bee Smith; pink jacquard clutch, L.K. Bennett; nude patent shoes, John Lewis; ivory jacket, Phase Eight; coral drop earrings, Kendra Scott.

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.

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Left accessories: Ella pillbox hat, Whiteley Hats; dusky pink satin clutch, Ted Baker; pink suede heels, L.K. Bennett; pink quartz drop earrings, Lola Rose.

Right accessories: coral Fascinator, Failsworth Hats; crystal bobble clasp clutch, Ted Baker; rosebay suede heels, Boden.

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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.

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Look 1:

Chatsworth Bloom Scallop Dress, Ted Baker (£189)

William Chambers hat from SS18 collection (prices from £195)

Aerielle scallop back shoe, Dune London (£80)

Bonie blush suede clutch, Dune London (£60)

Double drop pearl earrings, A. B. Davis (£149)

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.

 

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Look 2/3:

Nicolette headpiece, Bundle Maclaren (£147)

Parsons statement earrings, Kendra Scott ($85)

Flame Dress, Goat Fashion (£460)

Boraa black clutch, Dune London (£70)

Gwen flower court shoes, L.K. Bennett (£250)

Diana headpiece, Bundle Maclaren (£198)

Aphrodite Statement Earring, Olivia & Pearl (£175)

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.

 

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Look 4:

Ruffled sleeve shift dress, Boutique Moschino, £410

Duchess of Cambridge pill box hat, £116.95

Brompton court shoes, Kurt Geiger, £149

Sophh palace gardens canvas clutch, Ted Baker, £65

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!

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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!

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Top left to right: Coral percher hat, £470, Juliette Botterill millinery; Wanita raspberry pink dress, £120, Phase Eight; Bella floral dress, £130, Phase Eight; Floral dress, L.K. Bennett.

Bottom Left to right: pink pouch clutch, £130, Vivienne Westweood; beige/rose gold heels, £120, Boden, Dee coral drop earrings, $39.97, Kendra Scott; rose leather heels, L.K, Bennett; Madeline beige nappa clutch, £195, L.K. Bennett.

For a slightly more formal look I’ve picked out a floral jacquard dress coat from Bruce by Bruce Oldfield available at John Lewis. I’ve matched it with two sets of accessories – one silver and one bluebell blue so that you can get two wears out of the same dress.

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Silver accessories: silver disc hat, £225, Vixen Millinery; grey satin clutch, £80, Dune London; white/grey pearl earrings, £395, Georg Jenson; grey suede heels, £80, Dune London.

Bluebell blue accessories: oval disc feather hat, £130, John Lewis; powder blue clutch, £195, L.K. Bennett; blue topaz/diamond earrings, £395, London Road; Fern powder blue suede heels, £195, L.K. Bennett.

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Occasion Hats

“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.

Milliners

Philip Treacy 

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!

Rachel Trevor Morgan

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).

Jane Taylor

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.

Awon Golding

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.

Bundle Maclaren

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.

Camilla Rose

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.

Emily London Millinery

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.

 

Julliette Botterill Millinery

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.

Laura Cathcart

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.

Lock and Co

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.

Louise Georgette 

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.

Nerida Fraiman

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.

Rachel Black

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.

Rosie Olivia Millinery

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.

Sarah Cant

Price Range: £185–£850. Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire (by appointment). Other stockists: Fenwicks, Suzannah, lovehats.com.

Quirky and feminine, Sarah’s hats combine tradition with innovation to achieve fluid, organic shapes. Ready-to-wear, bespoke and bridal.

Sally Ann Provan

Price Range: £210-£700. Studio: Edinburgh (by appointment). Other stockists: Suzannah.

Ready-to-wear occasion hats and bridal headpieces available online and in their studio. Great for cocktail button style headpieces with a colourful twist. Bespoke service also available.

William Chambers

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.

Whiteley

Price Range: £90–£200. Other stockists: Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks, LoveHats.com, hatsandcaps.co.uk

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!

Alison Roe

Price Range: £150–£250. Location: Ireland.

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.

Department stores

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.

Hat websites

www.lovehats.com

www.hatsandcaps.co.uk

Lovehats.com is a great directory featuring a wide range of milliners. The site also has a clever tool where you can upload your photo to get an idea of what the hat would look like on you!

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Hat Hire

The Cotswold Hat Club is a new hat hire company with some pieces from top milliners, including Emily London, Sarah Cant, Bundle Maclaren and Martha Lynn Millinery. They also offer a membership for unlimited hat hire for 12 months for a one-off fee, which is a great idea for summer-season social butterflies.

In my next post I’ll be looking at wedding guest style and matching some of these lovely bonnets with dresses!

 

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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.

 

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