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

12 Advantages of Fashion Boutiques

Fashion Boutiques seem to be popping up everywhere these days. This is partly because women all over the world are choosing to shop at small Fashion Boutiques instead of their larger, more generic high-street cousins. And most fashion boutiques wouldn’t have it any other way! In fact, most of them don’t even aspire to cater to a large, mainstream audience, as it would take all the fun and excitement out of boutique fashion.

Boutique Fashion is all about discovering hidden styles, reinventing lost trends, and creating timeless collections. To illustrate just how unique this experience is, we’ve put together a list of the top 12 advantages of shopping at fashion boutiques. Enjoy!

1) You get the attention you deserve

From the in-depth personal attention in store, to the detailed and always useful blogs online, Fashion Boutiques are all about providing the best service and putting you at the middle of it all. Whether it’s second opinions or wardrobe suggestions, these are experts who have real experience and a passion for the brands they stock. At Colmers Hill, we build up relationships with our regular customers. This helps us to shape our buying of future collections using the knowledge of what you favour or would like to see. This kind of responsive personal service is something the high street shops can never replicate.

When you come to our boutique you will also benefit from a personal stylist as the team at Colmers Hill have a keen eye for what suits different shapes and sizes and what’s in store that will work well together. Regular customers also know they can trust in our honest opinions, again sadly not always a given.

2) Interesting Brands

How often do you bump into a traditional, hand-crafted Indian clothing store when walking down a typical English shopping street? We know, not nearly enough times! With small Fashion Boutiques, however, you are guaranteed to find eye-catching and out-there brands.

Take Yavi, for example, a brand that we’ve recently added to our own collection. Using
ancient Indian hand-painting techniques and luxurious materials, like velvet and silk, they have created a stylish collection of traditional clothing, with a modern, oriental twist. These are real works of art and have a unique and inspiring story that really shines through the entire design process, adding a whole other layer of personality to your clothes!

IMG_3747 copy (607x800)
Hand printed silk dress at Colmers Hill Fashion

See a beautiful video showing a Yavi craftsperson demonstrating the traditional printing process of fabric.

 

3) Brands that don’t define you, but compliment you

In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages of boutique fashion brands is that their clothes allow you to really express who you are. How can you show your individual personality by wearing something plain or on every high street? Or something your neighbour might also wear?  And who wants to turn up to a wedding wearing something someone else is wearing? Where’s the fun in that?!

4) Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly

It’s no secret that high-street shops manage to keep their prices down by lowering
manufacturing costs, exporting work overseas and using cheaper, non-renewable materials. Boutique Fashion shops often take a different approach, however, turning the emphasis from quantity to quality.

Many boutique brands are environmental pioneers and use techniques and materials that aren’t harmful to the environment. Owen Barry Bags, for example, only use locally sourced trimmings and other environmentally friendly materials, along with their carefully selected British and European skins, showing that you can be environmentally friendly and trendy.

5) Made in England

Boutiques are often champions of UK plc and search out the growing number of labels that are not only designed in the UK but also manufactured here. We are great believers in this and have selected labels like Out of Xile, One Life, Retuned for this very reason.

6) Good Fits = Good Self-Esteem

We often get a lot of women desperate to find solutions to recurring fitting issues. “My legs are too short for mainstream jeans,” is one we get a lot. Sadly, more than 43% of women admit that they would skip going to the beach or the pool because of body insecurities or wardrobe doubts. Well, with small Fashion Boutiques you can rest assured that you get a unique fit that allows you to accentuate your figure and not hide it. And, by the way, while we’re on the subject of trousers, we simply must highlight Robell and That’s Me trousers. These ultra-durable, high-quality trousers offer an almost tailor-made look that is accentuated by their innovative use of materials. This makes for an incredible flattering and naturally thinning design, giving you the confidence to wear what you want, when you want.

7) Perfect for vintage, retro, or unusual styles

If you’re looking for niche styles, then Fashion Boutiques are perfect for you! We even had our own retro-themed photoshoot to show off Dorset’s Retro Revolution last year, which was a lot of fun and really showcased how versatile these clothes can be. Looking for a 1940s flowery shirtwaist dress? Step right this way! With exciting British brands like Retuned Style and Collectif consistently paying tribute to their vintage design roots, you can rest assured that there will always be a boutique shops with that ultra-feminine, highly-stylized, retro look that you’re after.

Retuned Style Daisy & Gingham Print Dress at Colmers Hill Fashion
Retuned Style Daisy & Gingham Print Dress

8) Quality

As we mentioned before, quality materials and high standards often leads to exceptional
craftsmanship and beautiful finishes. This leads to timeless products that you can rely on for far longer than just a season. A great example of this is Godske, a now multinational Danish brand that never forgot its countryside roots and unbeatable quality promise. Their strict adherence to their own strict manufacturing guidelines really proves that quality is one of those things that smaller Fashion Boutiques and Boutique Brands simply never compromise on. Other favourites include Myrine and Elsewhere.

9) Unique Clothes

We went into this a little before, but it’s definitely worth expanding on. A recent survey showed that UK shoppers own over £10 billion of clothes they’ll never wear, something probably underlined by the frustration that many people feel over bad purchases. The main reason, however, is that we buy things that aren’t unique, don’t inspire us, and don’t push us to invent a unique wardrobe that really represents who we are. Although Fashion Boutiques don’t provide all the answers to these problems, they’re certainly a step in the right direction.

10) Supporting Local & Small Businesses

Nowadays, shopping local and supporting small businesses can be an incredible rewarding experience. Not only do they have more time and energy to make sure you’re taken care of, but it helps you to keep small businesses afloat, who often reinvest a large portion of their revenue into other local services and businesses. This means you can help your community flourish and pay tribute to local styles!

11) Discover New Styles & Brands

There’s nothing more exciting than finding a new brand that really works for you. Trust us, there’s plenty of gems out there. You just need to know where to look! Like a well-kept
secret, boutique shops often do a lot of the preliminary scouting for you, sourcing products and brands from all corners of the world and all walks of life.

12) From Follower to Trend-Setter

The beautiful thing about fashion is that everyone can be a trendsetter. Whether it’s fabulous dresses or cute little accessories, with small boutique shops you can be the talk of the town, wearing trendy clothing before they hit the catwalk!

Get your perfect holiday clothes here!

What to wear on the plane, on the beach, in the evening?? How to fit it all in the suitcase? How to mix and match? It’s all here with our Colmers Hill Fashion holiday edit!

Be inspired by gorgeous, colourful outfits to make you feel like a million dollars without spending it. Dream of relaxing on sun-drenched terraces in head-turning outfits that will make you look and feel great. And coming down to earth for a minute, imagine actually being able to close your suitcase and stay within the boring baggage allowance.

Which holiday clothes are winners

Planning what you’re going to take on holiday is time very well spent. Frequent travellers and fashionistas make a two week, mix and match wardrobe look like an art form. The difficult part is deciding what to take and being ruthless about the rest. The clothes you’ll wear are usually lightweight and don’t crease. They need to work hard for their place in your bag, so they must look great, be useful, mix with other things and be appropriate for the location!

Elsewhere crossover tunic gives a cool look for the summer and is light and easy to pack
Elsewhere crossover tunic gives a cool look for the summer and is light and easy to pack and doesn’t crease easily.

The golden rule of holiday packing: however much I love it, I won’t take it unless I really think I’ll wear it.

For ease, let’s assume we’re all going somewhere sunny and beachy with opportunities for a bit of glamour in the evening.

Our Colmers Hill hot picks are a) fashionable b) individual, c) comfortable and d) versatile

What to wear on the plane

Go for comfort all the way. If you are delayed (which is NOT going to happen) you need to be able to relax. And that goes for the flight too. You may have forgotten how small an economy seat is. Our best travel companions are layers and stretch. Think trousers, leggings or maxi skirts. Avoid wearing white, unless you love doing laundry on the first day of your holiday. Layering allows you to can strip off when you hit the heat at your destination and vice versa when you return to Old Blighty.

The aptly named A Postcard from Brighton range fits the bill perfectly. Check out the Fifi stripe maxi skirt with Farrah striped top and a cheeky Sammy lace trimmed vest underneath.

A Postcard From Brighton available at Colmers Hill Fashion is made from best quality jersey that doesn't bag and washes perfectly
A Postcard From Brighton is made from best quality jersey that doesn’t bag and washes perfectly

Myrine’s Emil lace trimmed trousers are made from fabulous, lightweight stretch material. Don’t be put off if you’re not sure about lace: the trim can be turned down or up for a more casual/dressy look. Wear with Bohemia’s tunic in either grey and white scribble design or plain blue. These outfits will also look great in the evening with statement jewellery such as this chunky cuff bracelet and Owen Barry metallic clutch bag.

Myrine Emil Trousers from Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Emil Trousers come in a variety of colours and are made of a comfort stretch fabric. The lace trim can give you a lovely evening flourish but can be hidden by turning down the cuff if you don’t want it to show during the daytime.

What to wear during the day

Cool dresses are your best friends, in cotton or linen. Myrine’s Pearl daisy print dress is swingy and pretty and can be dressed up in the evening with pretty sandals and maybe the Emil trousers.

Myrine Pearl Dress sold by Colmers Hill Fashion
Myrine Pearl Dress with a daisy print. A soft jersey dress, perfect for hot weather as recently tested by Britain’s latest heat wave!

Deck’s new linen dresses are proving really popular – be quick and snap one up while you can. Choose from navy, silver or hot pink in various designs. These are great for day or evening wear.

DECK Linen dresses at Colmers Hill Fashion
DECK linen dresses are available in-store at Colmers Hill Fashion in a range of colours and styles. This is an embellished dress, but there are plain dresses with cap sleeves available too

What to wear in the evening

This is when we get to indulge ourselves and make the most of all those lovely print dresses and separates. If you’ve got a tan, you can really go for it with stronger colours and a bit more bling. If you like black, take some as you will always feel great in it.

Myrine’s gorgeous strappy Amele maxi dress is very classy on its own or with the Joy sheer cardi in either ivory or mauve for a bit more coverage. Alternatively your statement dress could be the Eucalyptus Lily May dress a classic retro dress with oodles of English charm. If you want to show off your figure, this Friday on my Mind black mesh heart dress is a proper head-turner.

Myrine Amele Maxi Dress available at Colmers Hill Fashion with a pretty floral print and crossover straps on the back
Myrine Amele Maxi Dress with a pretty floral print and crossover straps on the back

Darling’s Aiofe floral skirt is incredibly versatile and will look great with any number of coloured tops, for example their Quinn coral top or the Dion ivory pearl trimmed layer top

Trousers-wise, you can’t do better than a pair of Deck super-slimming trousers in white or black. They look great with either flats or heels. Team with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top or a cute Collectif 50s inspired top.

DECK white trousers with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top available at Colmers Hill Fashion
DECK white trousers with a Pour Moi cobalt blue top

If you think you might want a little more warmth, either a Luella cashmere mix poncho (choice of colours available) or a stripe sweater in pink or blue is just the ticket – especially on the flight home.

Lastly, if you’re coming to Dorset on holiday, do pop in and say hello. You’ll find lots more gorgeous jewellery, watches, scarves and accessories in the shop. They make great souvenirs. Just saying.

Wherever you go, have a wonderful time!

 

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 🙂

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