If there’s one dress that screams summer it’s the little white dress. Simple, stylish and it looks great with a suntan. I love designs with a bit of broderie anglaise trim or frill to add a feminine touch, or button detail for contrast. Wearing white is great in summer as it reflects the heat rather than absorbing it so will keep you cool. The downside of wearing white is obviously that it is more prone to visible marks – so it will probably need washing more than other clothing. Wash as soon as you notice any marks – once they settle it will be harder to bring it back to its original pristine condition (particularly make up, sweat or sun lotion). Most of these dresses are cotton so will withstand a higher temp wash which is best for stain removal (check the care labels though – if there are delicate lace trims or linings hand-washing or dry-cleaning may be necessary). Adding whitening or brightening agents to the wash will help to maintain the brightness too. And if you leave to dry hanging outside then the whites will benefit from the sun’s natural bleaching rays. Here are some of my top picks available now for every budget. There are some great budget little white dresses available that look just as good if not better than some of the designer options!
The Cartier Queen’s Cup Final, held in Windsor Great Park, is a key event in the English social season, attracting the world’s greatest polo players and a VIP guest list to match.
In terms of dress code, ladies should be thinking smart/casual summer day wear. For the Royal Box and Clubhouse a summery day dress/tea dress, skirt or tailored trousers would be appropriate. Smart/casual is hugely open to interpretation – you don’t want to appear too formal or too casual. I always find that accessories are a key component with this dress code – the right shoes, bag and jewellery will really make a difference, and a great pair of sunglasses won’t hurt either. Wedges or a block-heeled sandal or fancy flat would be the best footwear choice. (See Summer shoes for some ideas.) A cream blazer is a great wardrobe staple for smart summery events – it will work with floral dresses or summer trousers and instantly adds the smart to smart/casual.
A floral tea dress is your saviour for smart summer day events like this – easy to wear, smart but not too formal. Here are a few of my favourites available now:
Channel Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in this summer polka dot number:
You can’t go wrong with a little white dress for the summer season – this dress by Y.A.S was recommended to me by an Instagram follower – a great smart and summery wardrobe staple.
Or go for a floaty frilly number teamed with a blazer:
If you’re dressing to be seen amongst the VIP crowd, go for something a bit more special like this floral stretch-silk georgette midi dress with contrasting waistband by Red Valentino:
Wide leg trousers in summery colours and prints are also a great option – stylish and chic – wear with just a top if the weather allows, or keep a sleek and chic blazer on standby if the sun goes into hiding:
This series of looks is for an Instagram follower who is attending all five days of the Henley Royal Regatta this summer and so needs a new outfit for each day! The dress code for Henley is one of the strictest around; not in terms of formality of dress, but in the enforcement of a certain skirt length. Women must wear a dress or skirt, and the hemline must fall just below the knee or longer. Even the royal enclosure at Ascot permits trouser suits and jumpsuits these days, so in this respect it is quite strict. In previous years it has posed problems, simply because this length of skirt has been difficult to find, mini dresses being much more prevalent. Midi-style dresses and skirts are everywhere now though, and modest styles of dress in general are much more fashionable over the last couple of years, so shopping for this style of dress is much easier now than, say, ten years ago. The style of dress, however, is less formal than ascot: you want smart summery dresses and straw boaters or panama hats, rather than formal dresses and statement headwear. For footwear I’d recommend a block-heeled sandal or wedge, which are far easier to walk in on grass and also go well with floaty dresses.
Henley is held from 4-8th July this year so the sun should be shining, but who knows what the weather will be like by July – we’ve had snow in spring this year, so I wouldn’t like to second guess what summer will bring! I would advise planning some sort of wardrobe cover-up in case the weather turns – a classic white blazer or lightweight wrap scarf are good additions to your Henley look, should the sun go into hiding.
This first look features two summery floral dresses: one pleated midi from Country Road, and one pleated maxi from Ted Baker. The Ted Baker “Nicee” dress is inspired by the beauty of an English garden and is the perfect style of dress for Henley.
Secondly I’ve featured a contrasting look: a khaki green maxi dress from Ted Baker. With a dark colour like this, I think it’s good to really make the most of the accessories to dress it up – gold or beaded sandals are a good idea, or a white bag.
This is one of my favourite looks: a nautical blue and white stripe maxi dress from Michael Kors, or a polka dot halter neck midi with belt. These dresses will look good with either white accessories or a contrasting colour like coral or red.