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What's The Dress Code?

The ultimate guide to knowing the ins and outs of today's dress codes. No matter what event you've got penned in the diary, occasion wear can be tricky. Explore our helpful guide packed full of expert tips to get you looking just right for those I-don’t-have-a-clue-what-to-wear moments…

Royal Ascot

The Royal Ascot dress code can be confusing, so we've given you some handy pointers to make it that much easier to find your ultimate winning look whilst sticking to the rules when it comes to dresses for the races…

SHOP RACE DAY

GRANDSTAND GUESTS

  • Races dresses and tops must have straps.
  • Trousers are allowed, but must be full length.
  • Midriffs must be covered (save the co-ords and cropped length tops for less formal parties!)
  • A hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn.
  • Jackets and pashminas are allowed, but remember the dress or top that you wear underneath must have straps!

ROYAL ENCLOSURE

The rules are slightly tighter in the Royal Enclosure and ladies are required to wear formal daywear:

  • Formal dresses must fall just above the knee or longer.
  • Dresses and tops must have straps that are at least one-inch-wide- note here that halter neck dresses are not allowed.
  • A hat or headpiece with a base of 4 inches/ 10cm in diameter must be worn- no fascinators allowed!
  • Jackets and pashminas are allowed, but remember the dress or top that you wear underneath must have straps.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Trouser suits (full length) are allowed and must be matching in colour and material to adhere to the Royal Ascot race day dress code.

Henley Regatta

Be sure to follow some simple dress rules and watch top-class rowers on the Thames whilst looking perfectly pulled together at the Henley Regatta...

SHOP DRESSES

STEWARDS' ENCLOSURE

Ensure your hemline falls below the knee.

  • Trousers are a no-no at the Henley Regatta!
  • Bare shoulders are acceptable, so cold shoulder tops and dipped hem skirts are a must.
  • Hats are encouraged!
  • High heels are impractical for wearing on the grass, so wear summer wedges or flats.

Black Tie

A black tie dress code on the invitation is the perfect excuse to pull out all the stops and get dressed up…

SHOP BLACK TIE

HOW TO PULL OFF BLACK TIE

  • Black tie dresses should always fall at the knee or below.
  • A black tie event calls for glamour so choose luxurious fabrics like silk, chiffon and Duchesse Satin (cottons are too casual when it comes to special occasion dresses).
  • Opt for embellishments like beading, lace and sequins for a real feeling of black tie luxe.
  • If you prefer less fuss, choose a simple gown and add a statement necklace or clutch bag to amp up the formality.
  • Beware of varying temperatures; come evening time you will want to cover up with something that complements your look. Choose a smart dress coat or wrap to take with you to the event, there’s no better time than a black tie event to put on a little faux fur.

Evening

An evening do, whether it's a sit down dinner or drinks, calls for something effortless and gorgeous…

SHOP EVENINGWEAR
  • Little black dresses are a winner when it comes to evening dresses, always choose a style to flatter your figure whether that’s classic cocktail dresses or flowing evening gowns.
  • No need to worry as much about matching your jacket with your outfit, as you can take this off when you arrive at the event.
  • In winter, a dark colour palette of forest greens, plums and midnight blues are perfect for creating an expensive look.
  • Don't shy away from separates; midi skirts and glamorous co-ords work well for evening events.
  • Special details and textured fabrics like shimmering jacquards will add a contemporary element to your outfit.

The Races

Whilst each race meet has its own specific race day dress code, here are some general tips to remember before race day arrives…

SHOP RACE DAY
  • Aim for a groomed yet individual look- you will need to look smart, but this doesn't mean wearing a head to toe matching outfit.
  • Wear something that enhances your shape so you ooze confidence, dresses for the races come in all styles so there’s something for everyone.
  • Monochrome is a winning colour palette when it comes to dressing for the races.
  • If you're not a hat person, choose a contemporary fascinator to add feminine detail to your look.
  • Wearing a simple dress? Opt for statement shoes to finish off your look with vibrancy.

LAST MINUTE CHECKLIST:

  • An umbrella, jacket or coat - for when the Great British weather really lives up to its reputation!
  • Shoes that won’t leave you sinking in the grass - think embellished flats, wedges or block heeled courts.

Theatre

Dressing up for the theatre is all part of the fun, but it's not all about formality...

SHOP DRESSES
  • Most theatres appreciate you making an effort to look well put together, but you have to make sure you're going to be comfortable sat down for a long time...so we recommend saving the cocktail dresses for girls’ night!
  • Separates are a good option and tick the box of looking on-trend yet not too overdressed. For example, culottes paired with a floaty printed top or cold shoulder top is the perfect combination.
  • Layering is key as many theatres vary in temperature. Be sure to take a fine knit jumper, wrap or cardi to slip on or off.
  • Remember, if you are off to the ballet or opera, you may want to make more of a wow-statement and we recommend carrying a statement clutch or having some subtle embellishment on your evening wear.