How To Dress For Special Occasions

Dress Codes… What’s That?!

If there’s one thing we have not had to think about over the last year, it’s been dress codes! What with the total lack of special events, formal gatherings, weddings or anything along those lines, our dress code over the last year has pretty much been ‘pyjamas or leggings?!’ – well, for me it certainly feels that way! However I’m sure I’m not alone in being beyond excited to finally have the opportunity to get dressed up again, and I plan on seizing every possible excuse to wear a fabulous outfit this Summer. Whether it’s a garden party or a lavish celebration, give me an excuse to dress up and there’s no holding me back.

When it comes to dress codes though, we may find ourselves a little rusty, and when I think of occasions where a dress code is historically important and adhered to, it’s Royal Ascot. Not many people know that I actually worked as part of the very first team of ‘dress code assistants’ at Ascot Race Course many years ago, and our role was to ensure that guests entering the various enclosures at the race course were dressed according to the traditional dress code guidelines that have been in place for many years. Yes, to some this seems a little over the top and perhaps a touch elitist, but personally I think it’s wonderful – to have a dress code enforced in such a way ensures that traditions are stuck to, and an elegant, modest and appropriate outfit is worn by all.

Of course, if you turn up to a wedding with a dress that’s five inches above the knee, you won’t get turned away, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be offered a pashmina if your straps on your dress are too thin or (shock! horror!) none existent – as you do at Royal Ascot within the Royal Enclosure, but dress codes are important as they signify the smartness of an event, and to ignore them can be seen as downright rude.

Thankfully, Royal Ascot create a Dress Code Guide every year to guide us through what is appropriate, and what’s best saved for an evening of cocktails with girlfriends, and this year they have officially partnered with one of my favourite ladylike brands; LK Bennett to create a collection that will have you eager to catch up on lost time and get dressed up to the nines for every event in your calendar this Summer.

This blue and white Toile de Jouy cotton dress is a fabulous option for Royal Ascot and other wonderful Summer events; a breathable and comfortable material in a timeless pattern, and elegant silhouette that you simply can’t go wrong with. For a day lunching with friends, I paired it with a relaxed straw bag and sandals, while it could be equally dressed up with a statement hat and heels for a day at the races.

When in doubt, I’d always rather be over dressed than under dressed – as a sign of respect to the host, or to the occasion itself – and boy oh boy have I missed over dressing! While Royal Ascot is an occasion to certainly go all out on your outfit, don’t be afraid to get dressed up for other special events this Summer too – and if confidence is holding you back, opt for a colour or silhouette that makes you feel fabulous.

For me, that means, of course, pink! And a silhouette that has a fit and flare style to it; so fitted at the bodice, and a slight volume to the skirt. The Jolene Pink Beaded dress from LK Bennett ticks all of those boxes, and the delicate beaded designs add beautiful interest to the style. With a striking one shoulder bow detail paired with a timeless silhouette, it’s something you can feel absolutely your most confident self in, while also making a statement.

I always find that wedge sandals or espadrilles make me feel more comfortable and can add a more casual touch to a dress such as this, but then with the drama of a hat or of a pair of statement heels, you can really amp up the wow factor.

Darlings, let me know what events you’re excited to dress up for this Summer, and be sure to discover the LK Bennett x Royal Ascot collection here.

This post is kindly sponsored by LK Bennett