Crack the dress code
Tiptoe through the minefield of summer dos without breaking a sweat or needing a blister plaster.
If there’s one dress code that strikes the fear of fashion god into us all, it’s OCCASIONWEAR! Soooo many rules, tiptoeing through the do and don’ts, before you navigate the trends. Cue screaming emoji and total panic. I have made many a fashion faux pas: heels that have been too high to wear all day, wardrobe malfunctions, clothes that said wedding guest on the hanger but just weren’t me. Sound familiar? With Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and weddings filling up most our diaries this summer, I thought I’d pop into The Lexicon Bracknell to see what gems I can find to ensure we stand out for all the right reasons.
ROYAL ASCOT, Ascot Racecourse, Berks
Clues’s in the name. Royal Ascot is June’s five day race meeting. The Queen and senior Royals trot over from Windsor Castle and for a week of hats, horses and ‘how do you dos’.
Date: Tues 19 – Sat 23 June
What to wear: Keep the fake tan light and the hems long. The Royal Enclosure has a strict dress code, skirts just above the knee, hats and headpieces (4 inch base) must be worn and straps 1 inch wide. Jumpsuits and trousers suits have got the thumbs up but no bare shoulders. Hats, headpieces and (whisper the F word) fascinators must be worn at all times. My tip, keep it comfortable and classy, this is not the Met Ball or a night at the Ritzy.
When it comes to hats, try on loads, big and bold or simple and classy, it’s your call. Just make sure you wear one. Don’t forget to wear a comfy shoe. Vertiginous heels look hot to trot at home but after an hour on your feet, you’ll be screaming blue murder.
If you’re blowing the budget on a head turning Ascot outfit, check out Weekend MaxMara’s Trophy Day collection in Fenwick Bracknell, featuring intricate designs by textile artist Richard Saja. The co-ord trousers and tops are really modern and I loved the simple A line dress. You could knock back a few glasses of fix, tuck into lunch and go back for seconds in this beauty. You may have to sell a kidney to buy it, but it’s worth every penny.
If you;re not prepared to live on baked beans for the rest of the year, how about embracing the joy of the jumpsuit. This Dorothy Perkins floral print navy number will be a summer style saviour> For Ascot, I’d throw on a smart cream jacket and a dramatic hat.
ROYAL HENLEY REGATTA, Henley On Thames, Oxon
Boats, boaters and Bolly. Royal Henley Regatta is a five day rowing phwoar fest as the best of the best haul there boats up and down the Thames. Spend 40% of your time having fun, 40% ogling hotties in Lycra and 20% watching the rowing.
Date: Wed 4 – Sun 8 July
What to wear: If you’re in the posh Steward’s Enclosure it’s skirts or dressed below the knee. Straw hats are optional but who are we to mess with tradition? Strictly no trews or culottes. Basically, dress to impress, so think cute day dresses and pop on a hat for shade.
With the no trews rule, I’d frock up to Henley in a dress. You’ll be spoilt for choice, the high street is a dress to suit every size shape and budget. Add a crossbody bag – well a girl needs keep your hands free for the Champagne flute and canapés – and a straw boater to hide your blushes in front of all that Lycra clad beef.
What to wear: Unless the dress code says wear white, avoid it like the plague. Casual just won’t cut it, so consider floaty maxi or midi dress, cute jumpsuits and cool tailoring. Ditch the hats and fascinators and and have fun with statement accessories instead. Whatever you do, do not try and upstage the bride.
FIX YOUR FACE
Now, I rarely give my make up much thought. But there are loads of smart products out there that will stop your beautifully fixed face from slipping off throughout the day. The Charlotte Tilbury girls in Fenwick Bracknell were incredibly helpful and suggested a primer underneath your foundation, add the Hollywood Flawless Filter for a natural glow and I’d recommend the Legendary Lashes Vol 2 mascara for mega volume that doesn’t give you black eyes.
KIKO Milano (a brand I thought was aimed at teens, au contraire) has a huge range of all day make up. The products are made by the same people as Chanel’s cosmetics, so I’m taking that to the bank and diving straight in. The Unlimited Double Touch long lasting liquid lipstick, £8.95, is amazing, lasts a good eight hours and although feels a bit like you’re wearing Lipcote, it has staying power and comes in 24 shades. Try Powder Foundation SPF50, £18.95, it can be used wet or dry – a face fixer with sun protection. KIKO Milano also has a range of long-lasting eye shadow sticks too, £6.95. So no chance of you make up running down your face Alice Cooper style.
Your hair? I wouldn’t even attempt to do it myself. A pro blow dry or up do, particularly when you are wearing a hat, is absolutely essential. Toni & Guy and Marc Antoni at The Lexicon Bracknell have all the grips and max hold hairspray you need to ensure a hair is not out of place. Also, one less thing to worry about on the day.
YOU’VE GOT MALE
Ascot’s Royal Enclosure is strictly morning dress (no cravats) and going sock-less will have the good and the great clutching their pearls. If you’re not going posh at Ascot, then it’s a smart suit and tie. Much the same as you would wear to a wedding. Henley’s more of a blazer or lounge suit kinda vibe. Think summer garden party and you can’t go wrong. Want to look super slick? The lovely peeps at Charles Tyrwhitt said to body swerve the matchy matchy ties and pocket squares and mix is up with clashing prints.
If your man’s in the market for some new togs Topman, Burton and Moss Bros had some lush suits in checks and pastels to mix it up a bit. And Charles Tyrwhitt had a superb range of classic suits and blazers with a twist, available in multiple sleeve and leg lengths, shirts to fit all body shapes, heights and collar preferences. Plus it has so many floral ties, they should have their own Chelsea show garden.