Well what a summer so far – it’s been a whirlwind of events, the Jubilee, Royal Ascot, Henley Royal Regatta, Wimbledon, Henley Festival, Glyndebourne and now the Olympics.
Up until recently the weather has been truly appalling, but we Brits made the best of it (we always do don’t we?) and it looks like summer has finally arrived!
So we thought we’d share some of our highlights and observations of the summer’s events so far:
First, the Jubilee. Stunning us all with her seemingly endless energy and fortitude (that river pageant must have taken it out of her, standing for hours in that dreadful weather), the Queen and her support team showed us all how dressing for formal occasions should be done http://tinyurl.com/82w99qo. Effortlessly chic in colour coordinated outfits; dresses, suits and coats (we know tops and skirts are having a moment, but they’re simply not smart enough for formal events and just look wrong with hats); no bare legs; no sandals; fabulous hats http://tinyurl.com/clms4ec.
‘The Queen is not interested in high fashion’ says one of her couturiers ‘but she is very interested in her clothes and is very particular.’ It’s an excellent philosophy, and one which we wholeheartedly recommend, high fashion and formal dress are not easy bedfellows.
It was great fun to see the waves of nostalgia sweep the country as street parties popped up all over the place and ladies braving the rain in pretty Horrockses inspired tea dresses.
We had a flurry of purchases of our blue Joan dress; it’s just the thing for Jubilee events and the rich blue on a white background is patriotic too – especially teamed with red accessories. So popular has it been that we’ve almost sold out in that colour way now.
To Royal Ascot and the new tightened up dress codes were a triumph with ladies looking really elegant, everyone was remarking what a difference it made and how good everyone looked http://tinyurl.com/blarl5z. Just one observation though, ladies in trouser suits with a typical ‘Ascot’ hat just don’t look right. The only way to pull off this look is with sharply tailored ‘Al Capone’ style suit teamed with a Fedora.
Gina, Rita, Katherine and the Peacock dress all went to Royal Ascot this year in a variety of colours. The most popular colour choice was blue, albeit in a range of shades from the palest sky, to the richest Royal blue.
For Henley Royal Regatta, Marilyn, Joan and Peacock swished their full circle skirts through the enclosures, while we enjoyed brief outbreaks of sunshine and dodged the rain and howling winds!
One lesson we learned from this year’s goose bump inducing series of events is to go for either a dress with sleeves or a dress and matching jacket next year to cope with the vagaries of the British weather. That and always take at least one pashmina too just in case!
Another lesson to be born in mind for next year is however much you love a large hat ( and don’t we all) – it’s a really good idea to have a smaller, ‘plan B’ hat so, on the day if it’s impossibly windy swap for the smaller one. There is little more tedious or painful than ‘hat arm’ – spending the whole day hanging on to your hat while you’re arm aches and the blood rushes to your shoulder! It’s far easier to anchor something small (as long as it’s 4 inches across for the Royal Enclosure) with elastic and hat pins and you can hold your head high and your arms by your sides all day with impunity!
One great find which was a real lifesaver on the boggy ground was Clean Heels www.cleanheels.co.uk. They’re fantastic for protecting your heels on grass and protecting you from sinking into the mud! They make plain ones and charming ones with crystals and flowers.
On the subject of shoes, we saw a lot of ladies wearing shoes they couldn’t walk in. Nothing spoils a look faster than hunched deportment with a face contorted in pain. These big summer events always require lots of standing and walking, so learn how to carry yourself in your heels and wear shoes you can walk properly in. Avoid what the delightful Manolo Blahnik calls ‘furniture shoes’ (not elegant) think ladylike courts, and never ever wear brand new shoes for the first time at occasions like this. Wear new shoes around the house a few times first to soften them up and find out if there are any pressure points that will hurt or give you blisters. If they do, invest in a shoe stretcher to ease them (John Lewis does a great one). Being able to stand and walk with poise and elegance will do more for you than any amount of designer clothes. Holding yourself properly can give you real presence. Keep your back straight slightly leaning back, hold your head up, and point your toes forward swinging legs from the hip and placing your toe down before your heel. Let the Duchess of Cambridge be your role model – see how she walks tall – and glide gracefully through the rest of the season!
Stay glamorous X