HEWI London Loves Royal Ascot
5 Complete Looks by Stylist Jennifer Schneider
Navigating the dress code for Ascot can be overwhelming if not bewildering (especially your first year) and purchasing an entirely new outfit can be very costly. Therefore, I have devised 5 complete looks from Hewi's current offering, from appropriate dresses to coordinating hats, shoes and bags. Once you understand the dress codes, preparing an Ascot look can be really exciting. You are attending the most sought-after occasion on the British social calendar, I'll help you get prepared, so you can enjoy the experience and have a fantastic time.
First, here is a quick cheat sheet of the dress requirements for the Royal Enclosure (the most formal) to keep handy while preparing your looks
1)Dresses & Skirts must fall just above or just below the knee
2)Dresses & Tops must have straps with a width of one inch or greater
3)Trouser Suits & Jumpsuits are permitted; however, they must be full length and in matching materials & colours
4)Hats, are to be worn. For the Royal Enclosure your hat must have a solid base of 4 inches or more. For other enclosures fascinators are acceptable.
Second, a few tricks and tips
1)Buy a dress that is appropriate for the occasion but that you love and will wear for other occasions as you will not want to wear it to Ascot next year and you don't want to spend your hard-earned cash on a one trick pony.
2)The same goes for your hat. Opt for one that has a very neutral base that you envision being able to wear again with a completely different look for a later season. Perhaps not Ascot next year but maybe the one following. I suggest building a hat collection of 4 different shapes that cover all the bases and rotate through them over the years. Make sure to choose ones you love and are very comfortable wearing.
3)Shoes, they need to be formal and cannot have too much exposed skin, but that doesn't mean they need to be boring. I love to wear a contrasting shoe to pop an outfit. For this matter, I do this with all the outfits I style. Shoes are a great way to energise a simple look. Again, buy a pair you love AND that you can bare to stand in all day. And please, break them in before Ascot.
4)Handbags, a great day bag will become incredibly useful if you get it right. Think of all the weddings, anniversary parties, christenings, etc. Make sure the scale and proportion is correct for your frame, look for a neutral or a pop of colour that works it at least 70% of your wardrobe you intend to wear it with. Look for functionality like a chain strap, secure clasp closure and ensure your phone fits alongside your lipstick, keys and whatever else you carry with you.
Classically Elegant with structure in Roland Mouret. I love wearing white and it is easier than you think with all of the occasions besides weddings you will be attending. Here I paired a bubble gum pink pair of Gucci pumps and The Rows embroidered satin hobo bag for a sense of whimsy. However, you could easily pick any pastel hue and even combined two if pink is not your thing. As the dress is quite angular I paired this Philip Treacy headpiece which is equally strong with its vertical angle yet soft in its round shape.
Inspired by Amal Clooney's perfect ensemble for the recent Royal Wedding I couldn't help choosing this bright yellow Stella McCartney dress. Perfectly tailored, chic and sexy with a punch of colour, this look is wow without being over the top. I love the tonal contrast of the Rupert Sanderson Pumps, and while I would often go for a more paired down bag, because the dress is so simple I think you can just get away with it. I love the full and romantic shape of the hat adorned with flowers. Without it the outfit could be a bit flat and one-dimensional. Instead, with the hat the outfit is dynamic and perfect for Ascot.
This Valentino dress is the dream for anyone pregnant or looking to become pregnant. With the elasticated waistband you can raise it above your bump and when not pregnant move back down to your natural waistline. I love to accentuate the waist and this two-tone Mulberry that belt pairs perfectly with these Valentino heels. If you are more of a muted colour person this palette is for you.
There is something about minty green and sky blue for me. But it needs to be grounded with black to bring a sophisticated angle. This Alexis dress exposes just the right amount of skin while being appropriately covered. I love the sculptural edges of these Roger Vivier heels that look like a deconstructed lace pattern design to me. With a Chanel wristlet and a beautiful clean black hat, this outfit is chic and modern without being a slave to fashion.
To illustrate how to maximize your accessories I have styled two looks with one hat and shoe combo. On the left a classic Oscar de la Renta fit and flare dress, accentuated with a belt and on the right a romantic vintage Prada dress that oozes style. The key is to build palettes that work for you and that you always love. Avoid colour trends and instead choose what works for you. This is the best part of English style, it is style not fashion that counts.