Royal Ascot At Home

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Royal Ascot might not be going ahead in it’s usual spectacular form this year but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the fashion fun!  The spring/summer event season has been particularly difficult for small occasion wear businesses this year so I’m happy to be showcasing a few on this page during “Royal Ascot At Home”, some of whom are offering exclusive discount codes to my followers alongside charity donations. So if you’ve got a postponed wedding to attend later this year or next year,  now is a good opportunity to plan ahead and support these small businesses whilst also helping to raise money for charities helping those affected by Covid-19. Or even if you haven’t got a wedding to go to I think we could all do with a lockdown treat!

Click here if you would like to make a direct donation to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal

Find out more about the charities the appeal is raising funds for here.


Featured Brands:

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I’ll be posting a new premium hat on my Royal Ascot at Home page each day, Monday 15 – Saturday 20 June up for sale at  The Cotswold Hat Club. 20% of the purchase price will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal.


Unless otherwise stated the discount codes mentioned below will be valid from 14-30 June 2020 


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Lalage’s designs combine classical elegance with distinctive detailing for a look that embodies sophistication and style.  Her collection is feminine but without the frills so ideal for a wide range of occasions from work to weddings. This dress coat is one of my favourite styles as I think it flatters most figures and is easy to wear – I love the little brocade detailing on the cuffs and front fastening. Lalage also has a great collection of stylish handbags in a wide range of colours, handcrafted in Italy and Spain, using the finest Italian leather.

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10% of sales at Lalage Beaumont during Royal Ascot week will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal. (Quote The Lady’s Maid when purchasing).

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Rachel Trevor-Morgan holds a Royal Warrant as Milliner to HM The Queen and operates from a 17th century atelier in St James’s, London. She is renowned for her beautiful handwork and design resulting in the glamorous, feminine elegance on which she has built her reputation. Her success arises from a passion for her craft, and an understanding of the balance required for a hat to flatter and finish an outfit.

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Rachel Trevor Morgan is currently holding a special sale with 50% off her SS20 collection.


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Mojo and McCoy sell a wide range of unique labels including Saloni, Beulah and Temperley. They are offering my followers 20% off full price items using the discount code: theladysmaid20 


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Wilbur & Gussie is a British handbag brand created by London-based design duo Brett Tyne and Lucy Lyons who named the brand after their childhood pets. The classic envelope silk clutches are perfect for accessorizing elegant occasion wear and I love the way you can add a touch of whimsy by customizing the clutch with a brooch – they have everything from a frog to a fish! Their clutches have the royal seal of approval too and have been carried by The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Sussex .

Wilbur & Gussie are currently donating 10% of all sales to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. All purchases made with the code: TLMRAINBOW will receive a free rainbow crystal brooch pictured above.

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Caroline Charles has run a successful fashion business for 50 years.  A popular designer with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Caroline was made an OBE in 2002. Her classic and colourful dresses and coats are a perfect choice for formal events like Royal Ascot. She also has a really pretty range of tea dresses for more casual summer occasions. This pretty pastel “fleur” dress is one of my favourites.

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10% off full price items at Caroline Charles is available during Royal Ascot week and 10% of profits will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity AppealDiscount code: THELADYSMAID10


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Susan Caplan is a luxury vintage costume jewellery brand combining both vintage and contemporary style. There’s something for everyone here – from classic elegant pearls to big bling brooches!

15% off all jewellery at Susan Caplan is available with my discount code and 10% of profits will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal

Discount Code: LADIESMAIDxSC

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Ethereal London create some really feminine, elegant silk dresses all designed, sourced and produced in the UK. I love the way their dresses offer various sleeve lengths and hem lengths to cater for different tastes. Two of my favourites are the Ophelia Dark for autumn/winter and the Ophelia Light for spring/summer.

Etheral London are offering 10% off their full collection using the discount code: ladysmaid10. 10% of sales will be donation to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal.

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Camilla Rose hats always add a fun flourish to you occasion wear. I find they’re perfect for those hard to accessorise multi-coloured dresses. The Volute in emerald green is a particular favourite of mine,

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10% of sales at Camilla Rose during Royal Ascot week will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal. (Quote The Lady’s Maid when purchasing).


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Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 11.11.20I’ve long been a fan of the timeless elegance of Katherine Hooker coats. They currently have a sale on with up to 65% off and a new Spring/Summer collection of pretty floral tea dresses.  Katherine Hooker are offering 10% off during Royal Ascot week and a 10% donation on profits to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal.


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Sargasso & Grey make “shoes that don’t squeeze” featuring a wider toe box to  give feet a little extra breathing space. They use memory foam padded insoles for softness underfoot, and breathable arch supports to help tired feet feel fit and fresh. A perfect choice for Mother’s of the Bride on their feet all day!

15% off all shoes and bags at Sargasso & Grey and 10% of profits will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal

Discount Code: ladysmaid



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Lisa Redman‘s silk velvet headbands and bows are handmade in Lisa’s Notting Hill studio and hand embellished with enamel pearl and Swarovski crystal.

Available to pre-order in all the colours of the rainbow seen below.

Please contact Lisa Redman for enquiries or to pre-order.

10% of sales at Lisa Redman will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal.



VAAI London is an emerging designer creating elegant dresses and silk separates with an Eastern influence, designed in London and made in ateliers in the UK or New Delhi, India. I’m a dress person usually but I love their silk palazzo pants. They currently have a sale on with up to 40% off selected pieces and are donating 10% of sales to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal on purchases made with the code: THELADYSMAID. Vaai will be at the Luxury Designer Collective Pop-up in Marylebone from Tuesday 16 June.

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Katya Wildman, a former television costume designer couldn’t find the right dress for her curves so she went ahead and designed one and Bombshell was born!

Katya is an expert in designing dresses with draping and panelling in all the right places to flatter the female form. My favourite style is the new silk Grace tie front shirt dresses in these rich emerald and regal purple colours.  Bombshell is offering my followers 15% off during Royal Ascot week. Discount code: LADYSMAID15. 5% of sales will be donated to the Royal Ascot Charity Appeal.

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Keep an eye on my Royal Ascot At Home webpage for more updates next week!


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The power of a pretty shoe

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If I find a pair of shoes that I like I’m very loyal to them – perhaps too much – I once hung on to a pair of tan flats that I loved for so long, even when they had a crack in the sole and it was a sad day when I had to throw them out. I also have a pair of black brogues whose cost per wear is probably less than a penny by now. I’m not immune to the lure of a new pretty shoe however. I wonder if anyone has done a study on shoe psychology?! It’s the area of the wardrobe that’s easier to buy for as your shoe size doesn’t usually fluctuate as your clothes size can – a good thing in theory but can result in impulse purchases in practice. I bought a pair of pink satin ballet style slippers in Barcelona once (over six years ago) and I’ve never worn them outside as I’m frightened of spoiling them. I wore them once at a dinner party at home and the rest of the time they’re tucked away in their shoes bags. Practical they are not but pretty they most definitely are. I also have a pair of gold T-bar dancing shoes that I bought for a 1920s party (from a dancewear shop – I’m not sure these ones are even meant to be worn outside as they have a really soft leather sole). I never wear them now but I look at them often, like an artwork!

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

I’m still on a quest to own a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz – the shoe of dreams that must be the most famous pair ever designed and surely begins many ladies love of a pretty shoe. I saw one of the originals at a film costume exhibition at the V&A several years ago (four pairs were made for the original movie). It was quite an exciting moment! One of the original pairs was stolen from a museum in 2005 (it wasn’t me, I promise) and were finally returned just a couple of weeks ago. I remember Harrods selling some Limited edition ruby slippers in 2009, I think it was – they had a ruby slipper pop-up boudoir to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. I hot-footed it over there on an afternoon off when I was working at Buckingham Palace – alas they had sold out pretty quickly. So the quest continues for my own pair of these pretty and powerful shoes!  “Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, there’s no place like home”. 👠

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Here are some of my favourite statement shoes – not so practical but oh so pretty – if you feel like having a Marilyn/Dorothy moment this weekend! My top pick on a budget would be the Marks & Sparks silver sparkly slingbacks ✨ sure to be a favourite come party season and great if you want to combine comfort with glamour!

L-R from top left:

Annabelle blue velvet, L.K. Bennett; Fern wine velvet; L.K. Bennett; Red satin courts, Carvela Kurt Geiger; Breanna blue jewelled, Dune London; block heeled silver slingback, M&S; Jenna wine heels, Lisa Kay Shoes; Supernova velvet & gold lip, Rupert Sanderson; Stardust Brocade, Rupert Sanderson; Crystal embellished blush suede, Prada; Romy 100 gold glitter, Jimmy Choo.





Summer Shoes

Footwear is usually the one area of your wardrobe for which it is easy to shop. But come summer, it can be trickier to buy the right smart shoes for outdoor summer events, especially if they are held on luscious green lawns. To save yourself from the sinking stiletto there are three ways to go: the block heel, the wedge and the flat. I’ve rounded up some of my top picks of each style to help you find the perfect shoe to grace garden parties, racecourses and outdoor opera festivals this summer. I’ve stuck to mostly neutral shades as these will go with most outfits, but many of the shoes pictured here are available in other colours too.

Block Heel

This is the smartest option and the closest in style to the classic court stiletto. I prefer ones that aren’t too high as they can look a bit clumpy. This is the best option for more formal events, e.g. when a jacket or hat is required.

Chloe scalloped edge block heel

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Rupert Sanderson, Powder patent heel

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Faber Novella, rose champagne Carine heel 

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Jimmy Choo Carrie Sandal

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Ted Baker Qarvaa leather block-heeled sandals

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Stuart Weitzman, nearly nude sandals

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Oasis block heel sandal

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Dune tan leather sandal

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Dune Meggan black suede sandals

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Samuele Failli pink suede sandals

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Whistles Tula Twist Block Heel Sandals, Gold

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Ted Baker, Kerria bow ankle block heel sandals

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A more smart/casual heel, so good to pair with summery tea dresses or separates. I’m not a fan of cork wedges; I think the espadrille style is much more elegant.

Russell & Bromley, Candyfloss Peep-Toe Espadrille in Nude Suede

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Castaner, canvas wedge espadrille

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L.K.Bennett, rose satin espadrilles

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Office, Honolulu Dressy Espadrille Wedges

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Office, Holiday Cross Front Espadrille Wedges

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Mint Velvet, mink wedge

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Office, Halkidiki espadrille wedges

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L.K.Bennett, black suede sandals

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Dressy Flats

Avoid the heel altogether and go for a dressy flat – a great option for tall people, and there’s a huge range of styles out there for elegant flats these days. I prefer an almond or pointed toe for dressy flats – they look smarter than round-toe ballet flats.


Zara satin slingbacks

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Boden jewelled flats

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Jimmy Choo gold leather Lancer flats

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L.K.Bennett pink jacquard flats

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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.


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.


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.



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!


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.


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.


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., 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,

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:

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,

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,,

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:

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,

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, 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.


Price Range: £90–£200. Other stockists: Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks,,

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 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!



Royal Style – Easter Sunday

The Royal Family attended the traditional Easter Sunday service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, yesterday, the venue for two Royal weddings this year. The calendar might be telling us that it’s spring, but with the weather yesterday – a chilly 8 degrees – it felt more like a day in December, meaning there was a blend of winter and spring style on show from the royal ladies present. In terms of millinery, hats are usually felt/wool in winter and straw in summer, but April is a tricky month for formal dressing, as shown by the mixture of spring/summer and autumn/winter Easter bonnets on parade.

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The Duchess of Cambridge’s outfit was the most wintery looking. Kate re-wore several items from her wardrobe: a chocolate brown bespoke wool dress coat by Catherine Walker with matching velour pill box hat – an ensemble last seen on St. Patrick’s Day 2015, during her last pregnancy. The hat is a favourite by Lock & Co, the world’s oldest hat shop, and has been worn many times before. The only nod to spring was in her blush nude accessories: Gianvito Rossi 85 pumps in praline pink and a matching blush leather clutch by Loeffler Randall, a combination she used at her last solo official engagement. She also freshened up the look with massive pearl jewellery – large faux pearl clip-on earrings by Balenciaga and a 5-pearl brooch, last seen at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2016 and 2015. This is a great example of how accessories can really update a look, even if the choice of colour for the coat/hat was somewhat sombre for Easter Sunday. I think she must be running out of maternity coats to cover the growing baby bump!


The Countess of Wessex combined spring pieces with winter colour, opting for a trendy but traditional navy blue wool trench coat – the “Millington” – from the Resort 2018 collection of Roland Mouret featuring flared split long sleeves and over-sized lapels. Sophie teamed the coat with a navy/beige straw hat – the “Fernanda” – from the Spring/Summer collection of Jane Taylor London, and navy satin pumps by Manolo Blahnik.


Princess Beatrice and Autumn Phillips opted for a more summery look, both wearing dress coats by Suzannah. Princess Beatrice wore a silk/cotton jacquard “Versailles” coat dress in ivory white featuring a round neck with a Peter Pan style collar and pleats and tucks around the waist to flatter the form. She teamed it with a matching tweed boater style hat by Emily London, beige patent (dangerously!) spiky-looking heels by Kurt Geiger and a lilac satin knot clutch by Bottega Veneta. Meanwhile, Autumn Phillips chose Suzannah’s fresh ice blue dress coat – the “Hunter” – with matching straw/lurex knot button headpiece designed by Suzannah, in collaboration with Juliette Botterill Millinery. She accessorized with dove grey suede pumps and a matching suede clutch by Emmy London.



Princess Eugenie, who is the second bride-to-be to marry in Windsor’s chapel later this year, brought several splashes of colour to the proceedings in this striking paint-spattered effect dress by Oscar de la Renta, with fuschia knot detail percher hat by Juliette Botterill Millinery (from their AW 14 collection). Eugenie teamed her dress with a black leather clutch by YSL and black suede pumps by Prada. At least if you spill something down this dress, you wouldn’t really notice!


Seasoned royal dressers The Queen and Princess Anne brought some much-needed colour to brighten the day. HM chose a vibrant cerise pink dress coat with matching hat trimmed with a spring bloom, while the Princess Royal opted for a stylish turquoise shade for her coat and matching trilby style hat.Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 08.33.32.pngNotable absentees from the Easter Sunday service in Windsor yesterday were Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – the next time the royals gather in their finery at this chapel will be for their wedding in May!



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.





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.


dark pink sequin dress, L.K. Bennett, £275 (reduced from £550); white wool wrap coat, Max Mara, £730, Black box clutch, Dune, £40 (reduced from £65); black satin stilettos, Karen Millen, £65 (reduced from £99); rose gold tourmaline drop chain earrings, London Road, £295, MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour, “To Matte With Love”, £17.50; Dior Vernis Nail Polish, “The Icons, Bonheur 661” £20.


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.


black jumpsuit, Whistles, £89 (was £179); black pearl studded court shoes, Dune, £84 (was £120)
Ivory cape, The Row, £1,375, studded clutch bag, Carvela, £39 (was £79); Starry Night diamond star stud earrings, London Road, £595; Dior Rouge “Precious Rocks” Lipstick, £35; Opi Nail polish, £12.50.


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.

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metallic navy chevron dress, Lauren Ralph Lauren, £90 (was £180); Metallic dress coat, Bruce Oldfield at John Lewis, £114.50 (was £229); pewter clutch bag, Dune, £32.50 (was £65); Pewter heels, Steve Madden, £85; claret red lipstick, Bobbi Brown, £24; OPI nail polish, £!2.50; drop earrings, Ted Baker, £59.


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.


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silver midi skirt, Reiss, £150; off-white top, Reiss, £85 (was £130); stellar embellished velvet flats, Aauazzura, £318 (was £636); swarovski crystal drop earrings, John Lewis, £25 (was £50). Gathered midi skirt, Reiss, £65 (was £130); sparkle jumper, Jigsaw, £68 (was £98); bronze leather flats, L.K. Bennett, £67; baroque faux pearl and crystal antique gold drop earrings, John Lewis, £8, (was £16)


Happy holidays!



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.




Royal Ascot

The Lady’s Maid offers her advice on how to dress like a Royal at Royal Ascot this year.

In a fashion age where anything goes, the Lady’s Maid is relieved that there are still some occasions where one has to follow certain rules before getting dressed. Thankfully, Royal Ascot still adheres to strict dress codes for racegoers, at least within the Royal Enclosure. But from frequenting this most sartorial of race meetings herself, the Lady’s Maid has noticed how many young women do not know how to “dress up” for a day event. Often the dresses on display would be more suitable for a nightclub than broad daylight. There is a time and a place for body-con satin and open-toe stilettos, and it isn’t amongst horses.

On consulting the Royal Ascot website you will see the dress code that should be followed:

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 one inch
  • Trouser suits are allowed, but they should be of matching colour and material
  • 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, halterneck, or off-the-shoulder variety
  • Fascinators

The strictest code is for the Royal Enclosure, which is relaxed a little for the other enclosures; e.g. strappy dresses and fascinators are permitted elsewhere.

So, with this dress code in mind, the Lady’s Maid offers some tips and looks on what to wear for Ascot this year.

Top Tips for formal daywear dressing.

  • Stick to two colours – one for the outfit and hat and one for accessories.
  • Neutral accessories are great for formal dressing – nude/tan/black will go with many colour choices.
  • Avoid bright colours unless you accessorise neutrally – there is a reason the Royals are mainly seen in all shades of neutral – it may seem boring, but it is hard not to look elegant in oyster or champagne.
  • Avoid flimsy fascinators – The Lady’s Maid would rather see a hatless head than a few feathers stuck on to an Alice band – they add nothing to the style of an outfit.
  • If you have chosen a statement/flamboyant hat let the hat speak for itself and stick to a simple/unfussy dress and accessories.



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Hat, Rosie Oliver Millinery; Dress, L K Bennett; Shoes, L K Bennett, Bag, Dune.


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Hat, Peter Whiteley; Dress, L K Bennett, Bag, Dune; Shoes, Dune


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Hat, Rachel Trevor Morgan; Dress, Reiss; Bag, L K Bennett; Shoes, L K Bennett.