What to wear to high-society events!

Summer is upon us, and with it, a slew of high-society events that demand our utmost attention. There’s nothing like finding that perfect outfit, but it can be tricky, as each event has written and unwritten rules on what to wear and what not to wear. But, there’s no need to panic, as there’s plenty of time and more than enough styles and designer brands to go around! Whether it’s Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta, Goodwood, Glyndebourne, or Wimbledon, we’ve got you covered with this list of essential guidelines and tips that will ensure you look the part.

Racing off at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot has recently updated its dress code, so it’s important to be aware of any changes if you’ve been to this event in recent years. Ascot chief executive Charles Barnett stated that Royal Ascot wants to promote ‘modern and stylish dress,’ as long as it is ‘within the parameters of formal wear.’ So, what are these parameters, then?

Well, ladies are required to wear skirts that fall beneath the knee or lower and a hat or a ‘headpiece which has a base of 4 inches or more in diameter’ (their words, not mine). Strappy or off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are a no-no but you can wear sleeveless. It’s best to start with a dress you like, and then pick a hat, jacket (depending on the weather) and shoes to match. We don’t think you can go wrong with our Eucalyptus dresses, which range from sumptuously summery Rose colours, to navy floral designs, all equally stylish and unequivocally classy. From there, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect jacket or coat and you’re ready to go!

Out of Xile Silk Habotai Top and linen skirt in rose pink available from colmershill.com
Out of Xile Silk Habotai Top and linen skirt in rose pink from colmershill.com

Centre Court at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a tricky one, but we welcome the challenge, don’t we ladies? You’ll need something trendy and sleek, but also comfortable. As a general rule of thumb, it’s probably best not to go too short or tight – think billowing, stylish, and classy. Plus, you want to make sure you’re feeling comfortable, as you’ll no doubt be sitting down for quite a large part of the day.

If the weather’s good (fingers crossed!), then you’ll need some trendy sunglasses to protect you from the sun. As stylish as they may be, it’s a tad frowned upon to wear big hats to Wimbledon, as it can obscure the view for the person sitting behind you. These stylish Powder Sunglasses come in a variety of styles and will keep your eyes protected from the sun.

Powder tortoiseshell sunglasses from www.colmershill.com
Powder tortoiseshell sunglasses from http://www.colmershill.com

Looking Good at Goodwood

At Goodwood, like with many of these events, the dress code varies depending on which enclosure you’ve chosen. Make sure you’re aware of the differences before you start composing your outfit!

Eucalyptus Lily May Dress from colmershill.com

Unlike Wimbledon, hats are more than welcome and will give your outfit that extra sparkle. Plus, they are great in combination with retro dresses, which provides that incredibly sought-after vintage look. The Eucalyptus Lily May dress is perfect for this, as the red and white floral patterns can be effortlessly combined with a light cardigan and a stylish hat.  Retuned also have a great selection of classy summery dresses which would be perfect for Goodwood. Make sure to check out the Retuned Emily Red Floral Dress, which is both subtle and intricate at the same time.

P.S. The organisers explicitly mention on the website that they don’t advise stiletto heels, as the terrain can be a bit up and down, so make sure to keep this in mind when you’re putting your outfit together!

Retuned Red Floral smocked dress £69 available on colmershill.com
Retuned Red Floral smocked dress £69
Retuned retro styled lemon and navy print dress available at colmershill.com
Retuned retro styled lemon and navy print dress

Time to shine at Glyndebourne

If you’re going to Glyndebourne and you love full evening dress, then you’re in luck! If I had to pick one brand that stuck out from the rest for this occasion it would be Out of Xile, as they pretty much have everything you need to look as classy as is womanly possible! They’ve got a simply beautiful collection of bubble skirts and gorgeous Bell Dresses from their Ribbon Stripe Collection, which all come paired with their own elegant and unique design elements.

If you’re looking for a coat to combine this with, check out this gorgeous Out of Xile Linen Coat – the perfect addition to any classy outfit. It features intricate floral details on the collar and the back, providing just a little more intrigue, without compromising on the subtle nature that is so characteristic of the Out of Xile look.

Out of Xile bubble hem dress (or skirt) with Andrea Top available from colmershill.com
Out of Xile bubble hem dress (or skirt) with Andrea Top

Going Traditional at Henley Regatta

When it comes to the dress codes, we’ve saved the strictest for last. Henly Regatta is known for its strict guidelines so it’s important to get it right.

The dress code is meant to emulate that of a traditional English Garden Party, so think traditional clothes with a real vintage look. Trousers are a big no-no, so it’s time to get out your traditional Edwardian-styled dresses. For coats think of something along the lines of the Out of Xile Crinkle Collection Coat, a luxuriously ornate design with knotted details on the front and back, resembling rose buds. Perfect for the summer season!

Colmers Hill Fashion are here to help!

At Colmers Hill, we don’t do mediocre service. We guarantee one on one style advice and can help you prepare for any events, whether it’s the British High Society events or not. In short, we help you compose flattering outfits that truly mirror your unique personality. So, please don’t be shy, as you can always contact us for any style advice or questions about our clothes.

Credits: Images from Simon Emmett Photography, Fiona Baker Millinery for providing the fabulous hats and Jane Briggs-Harrison @janelymehair for the hair styling

Best of British: the best labels flying the flag for home-made fashion

Best of British Fashion

Fashion is big business in Britain, with consumers splashing out £27 billion on womenswear alone. And according to a recent report from Mintel, nearly 90 percent of UK adults are interested in buying clothes that have been manufactured in Britain.
Small but fashionably formed, the UK produces some of the world’s most creative and inspiring fashion talent.  We have namechecked some of the brightest and finest brands heralded for their homespun approach and endeavours to produce all their garments here in Britain.

Out of Xile

Established in 1983, Out Of Xile create womenswear for occasions, providing beautiful, flexible clothing to replace formality. Fabrics are a key element to every collection and where possible are made from natural yarn and dyed to create a tonal look – Out Of Xile is instantly recognisable for their unique colour palette. Dresses and separates can be mixed up and matched according to taste and create a flattering silhouette. Out of Xile is made in various places around the UK. See our blog on Out of Xile to read more about their fabulous creations and how they are made. Shop today.

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Out of Xile Crepe Twisted Hem Skirt and Lace Jacket

A Postcard from Brighton

A Postcard From Brighton is also not only designed in the UK but is actually made in England too, a rarity these days! Those clever people at A Postcard From Brighton use a unique vintage process which gives all their pieces a wonderful softness and look. Their styles are distinctive and instantly recognisable if you’re a fan and once you’ve owned a piece, you definitely want more. Their pledge is to keep the UK textiles industry alive and to have as small a carbon footprint as possible. The clothes not only feel gorgeous, they are super ethical too. Our next collection is due in early Summer. Shop today.
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OneLife

Best known for its summer collection which is made of 100% cotton, we love this range because it needs little care and it perfect for the holiday suitcase or your cruise wear wardrobe. Its collection is figure skimming and comes in a sumptuous range of hot and cool colours. Another designer fashion label which is designed and mostly made in the UK, OneLife is an individual look that is not found on the high street, suiting women of all ages and sizes up to Size 22. Shop Now.
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Owen Barry

As soon as you handle an Owen Barry bag, you will appreciate its difference. It has been hand cut and made by Somerset craftspeople from specially selected British and European skins. The trimmings have also been sourced and commissioned from environmentally friendly resources close to home; the inherent quality, timeless styling and love in every bag just shines through. Shop today.

Retuned

Retuned Clothing is a British designer label which has its roots in retro and vintage styling. Retuned create feminine dresses that are made to flatter petite and curvy sizes and their styles are very distinctive. The Retuned dresses come in a range of plain colours and bold prints and are often playful in their styling. Again, Colmers Hill Fashion has chosen the brand because it is designed and made in the UK. Shop today.
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In recent years, fashion has been one of the industries that have set its sights on the bigger, international picture, and it is now a truly global business that should not have to shift into reverse and become focused on only the home market. It has long been thought that fashion can only benefit from the rich mix that different nationalities bring to the table. But that is not to diminish the great fashion stories that this country has to offer, both well-known and under the popular radar.
If you like the above or are looking for that new Spring/Summer outfit then visit: https://www.colmershill.com or if you are local come and see our shop – Colmers Hill, Manor Barn, Manor Yard, Mill Lane, Symondsbury, DT6 6HG

Spring Fashion Show on the Catwalk

Who doesn’t love the Spring?! Okay so it’s been a bit slow in coming this year but it heralds a new start and a fresh look. And as the primroses and daffodils start to burst into flower, we are making big changes in our Dorset fashion boutique at Symondsbury Manor Yard, near Bridport.

Each year for the past three years, we have put on our biggest of fashion shows to welcome in the new Spring Summer fashions at Colmers Hill Fashion. It’s a time to celebrate casting off your woollies and dream of slipping into something altogether brighter, more colourful and less somber. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter clothes, but it’s time to move on!

We hold the annual Spring fashion show in the glorious Symondsbury Tithe Barn attended by around 180+ people. Raising money for Weldmar Hospicecare, this year’s show raised a staggering £3,250.00 through ticket sales, auction and raffle bringing the total raised to just under £10,000 for the last three shows.

The Colmers Hill Spring Fashion Show is hosted by Graham Barton of Clive Emson Auctioneers and better known for his appearances on BBC Homes Under the Hammer. In addition this year, we welcomed Lindsay Punch, professional stylist, to talk about the fashion trends for the Spring Summer 2018.

The buzz is palpable as soon as the doors open, not least amongst the models and backstage crew who have spent weeks planning the event. The barn itself is beautifully dressed with lots of zesty lime green and cream floral displays, lanterns and fairy lights. The models have all been pimped and preened by The Shed Hair & Beauty Boutique and are sipping Prosecco backstage for Dutch courage.

We opened this year’s show with a fantastic “Vogue” dance to get us into the mood performed by triplets, Megan, Emma and Victoria and then the new season’s clothing range got it’s first outing on the catwalk.

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Our ranges include both casual and special occasion wear from designer labels including: Out of Xile, Myrine, Ralston, Cotton Brothers, Sandwich Clothing, Bariloche jackets amongst others. Many of these collections are now online at http://www.colmershill.com.

Take a look at a few of photos below and watch the VIDEO by following the link … with thanks to one of our lovely customers for offering to compile the video.

 

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Credits: Simon Emmett Photography

We won!! Colmers Hill Fashion named UK online boutique of the year

Colmers Hill Fashion wins Best UK Online Boutique for its website www.colmershill.com
The badge of honour!

You could have knocked us over with a feather when the phone call came in saying that  www.colmershill.com had won Best UK Online Boutique category of The Boutique Awards, hosted by The Boutique Hub.  Surprised, shocked, proud, happy – yes, all of those.

 

The team (especially Penny because she does most of the work) hasn’t stopped smiling ever since. When Penny set up the business two years ago, she only had £5,000 to invest. All the money went on stock and she had to do everything herself – even really horrible things like SEO. She  built the current website and worked hard to find low cost ways to get Colmers Hill on the map. 

 

What makes this a special achievement is also the economic climate. Apparently,  according to the experts, we’re in the midst of a ‘Retail Apocalypse’, which sounds really nasty. And it is, if you’re a big high street brand. On the up-side, it’s the small businesses like ours which are bucking the trend. You – our lovely customers are making this happen by buying local and choosing independent boutiques. Thank you so much! Please can you carry on?  

 

You can be reassured that this fame hasn’t gone to our heads. We almost forgot to write a blog about it because we’ve been unpacking, pricing and uploading gorgeous new Autumn stock from our faves Myrine, Luella and Out of Xile but also new labels Cotton Brothers, Soaked in Luxury and Ralston.

 

If you haven’t shopped online with us before, you’ll find the same friendly personal service and attention to detail that you’d get if you were shopping with us in person.

 

Next up, our Autumn round-up of what’s hot this month!

 

 

 

 

Why personal fashion style is all about meat and potatoes!

This blog is all about how to create the perfect wardrobe.  How you choose clothes that are useful and also inspire you. How to experiment with fashion and be more individual in your fashion style. How to avoid overdoing it, without playing it too safe?

Designer Michael Kors said: “70% of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30% should be icing and fluff—that’s color, pattern, shine, accessories.  Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.”

Erm ok, so let’s take a look at the meat, potatoes icing and fluff. Or maybe a more appealing metaphor is a cupcake: a perfect vanilla sponge topped with your choice of icing and decoration.

Best fashion basics

Two thirds of our wardrobe should be hard-working basics. These will be well-fitting, stylish and versatile.  For us at Colmers Hill, this would be our deck super slimming capris or full length trousers. Alternatively, Myrine Emil trousers.  Your colour palette will certainly include neutrals in both dark and light shades such as navy, petrol blue, black, charcoal, sand, silver, ivory, or white.  Choose shades that are the most useful for you.

D.E.C.K trousers (£59) coupled with the Cocoa 100% Cashmere Boxy Cardigan (£210.00)
D.E.C.K trousers (£59) coupled with the Cocoa 100% Cashmere Boxy Cardigan (£210.00)

Skirt basics include simple cuts and colours with enough detail to keep you interested and give you shape. A pencil skirt from Eucalyptus or a midi skirt from A Postcard from Brighton are also great staples.

Adding colour, pattern and shine

This is the icing and decoration on your cupcake. Detail on clothing is a very personal thing and everyone has their favourites as well as their absolute no-no’s.  Some of us love stripes and hate florals, others love florals but hate sparkle, another wince at a frill but love a pintuck – you get the gist. When it comes to sparkle and shine, some of us are happier with a muted metallic whilst others want the full bling – with extra bling.

When an item of clothing or an accessory appeals to us, it’s an emotional reaction. We don’t think too much about it. Enough to say, it gives us a lift. It’s great to express ourselves with the fun aspects of fashion.  We don’t need to take it too seriously but if you’re worried about overdoing it, stick to either sparkle or pattern but not both on the same garment. Many of us get stuck in a rut, thinking we can never wear florals or geometrics or diamante but keep an open mind and give things a try. We change as we get older and our fashion style needs to keep up!

Darling Quinn top (£35) from Colmers Hill Fashion
Darling Quinn top (£35)

Here are some of our very favourite ‘toppings’

Darling Dion top: lovely ivory crepe tops with pearl trim.

Cocoa pure cashmere jumper: amazing colour with a contrast trim and button back.

Myrine floral tunic top: an unusual wildflower pattern does all the work.

Out of Xile vintage tulle edge cardigan: gorgeous colours and just the right amount of lace.

Darling Fara top in duck egg blue: pleats along the hem and cuffs give this top a lovely swing.

Of course, you can switch things around and have your icing on the bottom eg our metallic print jeans and your cake on top with a simple ivory blouse from Darling.

Floral print stretch mid-rise jeans available at Colmers Hill Fashion £45
Floral print stretch jeans available at Colmers Hill Fashion £45 worn with a simple basic A Postcard From Brighton vest top

 

Since we discovered Michael Kors’s quote, we’ve all been taking a good, hard look into our wardrobes at home and working out how close we are to the 70% rule. Suffice to say, there’s work to be done but at least we’re heading in the right direction!

The next blog will be about Wardrobe Malfunctions. Yup – we’ve all been there.

Colmers Hill Fashion is holding its first Styling Masterclass in the Autumn with top stylist Lindsay Punch. The class will teach you how to put together a “meat & potato” wardrobe from the new Autumn collection at Colmers Hill! For tickets or more information see details on our Facebook Event Page.

Autumn Style Masterclass at Colmers Hill Fashion with stylist Lindsay Punch
Autumn Style Masterclass at Colmers Hill Fashion with stylist Lindsay Punch

Photography courtesy of Simon Emmett Images

Aagh!! What’s the dress code for Wimbledon, Ascot, Glyndebourne..?

If you are going to any of the big society events such as Glyndebourne, Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley etc and you need help, do not worry. Desist from stress. We have rifled the Colmers Hill Fashion rails so you don’t have to. You can look fashionable, whatever the occasion, whatever the weather. There’s no need to sacrifice your comfort by freezing, boiling or being uncomfortable all day.

In short, whatever the ‘appropriate attire’ or dress code, ladies, we can work it to our advantage!

And she’s off! Outfit ideas for Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is a fashion event. Forget about the horses. The enclosure you go to dictates how much you should dress up. Warning: this is not dressing up in a humorous way. The website clearly states ‘fancy dress and replica sports shirts are not permitted’.  Oh right, we’re not going then …

Smart, fashionable trousers are ideal for the turf. Steer clear of linens that turn you into a crumpled paper bag by lunchtime. Our deck trousers can be worn capri style with pretty flats or full length with a heel, depending on your height. The stretch keeps you comfortable and holds its shape all day. The cut is very flattering madam. Choose from lovely summery colours – aqua, hot pink or dusky pink or play it cool with black. Wear with a Darling top, for example the Dion pearl trimmed top or Dottie jacket with its beautiful embellished buttons.

Darling Dion Top in ivory available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The pretty Darling Dion Top with pearls detailing on its tiered hemline
Darling Dottie Jacket in white worn with the Darling Marion Dress in Navy available at Colmers Hill Fashion
Darling Dottie Jacket worn with the Darling Marion Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion

If you need to wear a hat, a dress and jacket are a good team. Our Eucalyptus tea dresses such as the Rosa navy floral are gorgeous prints in styles that flatter all ages. Team with heels or flats, with a pretty Out of Xile vintage tulle edge cardi. They are great for any formal occasion and happily dress down with a denim jacket on another day. Our favourite milliner Fiona Baker makes headpieces to order which will slip into a small bag if the weather turns iffy.

The Rosa is floaty chiffon tea dress by Eucalyptus with pretty cap sleeves and a contrasting tie belt available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The Rosa is floaty chiffon tea dress by Eucalyptus with pretty cap sleeves and a contrasting tie belt

It’s your advantage: what to wear at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is more smart casual but it’s a challenge for spectators, not just the players. When you’re seated for long stretches, swivelling your head from side to side, you need to be comfortable. And if you plan to be on the Centre Court, or TV, you need to look good.

Spectators are sitting ducks if it gets really hot or cold, so a longer skirt or a print culotte such as our Darling Hilda culottes are practical. Wear with flat ballerinas or a heeled sandal.  Layer your top half to give you options if the weather changes: the simple ivory Darling Quinn top and a cute Friday on My Mind honeycombe cardi will be perfect. Take a big statement tote to keep your day’s clobber in. Alternatively, check out Myrine’s Anna floral tunic or Amele maxi dress – super comfortable and sooo pretty!

Myrine Amele Ankle Dress with pretty floral print available at Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Amele Ankle Dress with pretty floral print
The pretty cotton Myrine Beth Dress with its crossover straps on the back available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The pretty cotton Myrine Beth Dress with its crossover straps on the back

Fortissimo belissimo: look gorgeous at Glyndebourne

If you’re going to the festival at Glyndebourne, full evening dress is The Thing. Enter stage right Out of Xile. Their lovely dress and coat combinations will really make you look and feel the part.

Out of Xile Reversible Dress in Marine Blue from Colmers Hill Fashion
This is a clever reversible Out of Xile dress so you can have a totally different look for two different occasions.

Out of Xile’s outfits are superbly cut and the fabrics have a beautiful evening-y subtle sheen. A dress and coat in their uniquely dyed fabrics are the most versatile combination and will keep you warm. There’s no need to spoil the whole effect with a massive puffa – take a Luella cashmere wrap/poncho instead. Great jewellery and an Owen Barry metallic clutch will finish off the outfit perfectly.

Va va voom: glorious Goodwood style

Go faster with our range of retro dresses which are perfect for Goodwood. Polka dots, florals, geometric designs: take your pick. Our new Collectif dresses in black or red spot or red cherries are real show-stoppers. The Eucalyptus Gillian dress is a beautiful modern vintage design in a subtle shade of blue or make a statement with the stunning Lily May dress in red and white floral. Alternatively, if you want to channel your inner Avenger, Desigual’s Hello dress is the bomb.

The retro style Eucalyptus Lily May Winter Rose Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion
The retro styled Eucalyptus Lily May Winter Rose Dress

 

To keep your look authentic, make sure to choose retro style accessories such as a pretty Josephine hat in natural and blue linen with silk roses.

If you are going to any society events, we hope you have a great time. If we can be of any more help do email usfind us on Facebook or call 01308 426517.

One to one service and styling advice come as standard, for all our customers at Colmers Hill 🙂

Out of Xile: Turned out beautifully

For the mother of the bride, seeing a son or daughter getting married is one of life’s most emotional moments. There’s a whole mix of feelings and memories – it only seemed yesterday when you were struggling to change their nappy! Now, you’re the watching them create a new life and family of their own.

Out of Xile Boucle Dress and Coat in Deep Sea Blue
Out of Xile Boucle Dress and Coat in Deep Sea Blue

 

30 years of gorgeousness

Big moments require something special to make you feel your best. Out of Xile has risen to the occasion for over 30 years with its unique style, proudly made in England, combining beautiful fabrics, bespoke colour dyeing and fabulous, flattering cuts.

Out of Xile Windsor Stripe Dress and Coat
Out of Xile Windsor Stripe Dress and Coat

Of course, you don’t have to be mother of the bride to wear their designs. Maybe you ARE the bride? Congratulations! Maybe you’re off on a cruise, going to a graduation ceremony, attending a memorial service. There are many special occasions that require Just The Right Thing.

Out of Xile is one of our favourites for just the right thing. There’s just nothing that this family firm of designers doesn’t know about fabric, colour, cut and the female form. They don’t follow fashion, they set their own trend, based on us, their customer. For example, we like a dress with shape but we don’t want it sticking to our bodies. We like a bit of weight and swing in the skirt, which needs to be a good length. We like the fabrics to look gorgeous and yet feel comfortable with a bit of stretch. We’re often not keen on our knees and upper arms, so a bit of coverage there is required. We like a bit of quirkiness and individuality. It’s nice to know that there’s a limited production run, so when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Out of Xile Jacquard Chenille Coat over a Crepe Hitch-hem dress
Out of Xile Jacquard Chenille Coat over a Crepe Hitch-hem dress

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