Spring is in full bloom and those inevitable garden soirée invites will soon be reeling in. As such, I think it is always wise to have one or two charming options sitting in your wardrobe. Unfortunately, garden party dress codes are so vague that finding a few options can be very difficult.
Traditionally, English garden parties are held during the late afternoon to evening and hold a certain formality. There is an unspoken style expectation of elevated and casual; a delicate balance which can be challenging to achieve. Despite this, it is certainly not impossible and with a generous dose of sartorial knowledge, you can ensure that you are prepared for any garden party invite posted through your letterbox.
The vibe– Feminine, semi-formal, whimsical.
Find the fine line between the the whimsicality of a picnic ensemble and the polished presentation of a wedding.
When finding an appropriate outfit for any event, it is important to carefully consider the environment. Your outfit will be much easier to find and style if you subtly match it with its setting. In this case, florals will elevate your garden party outfit to one of considerable charm whilst animal prints and geometric patterns can look out of place.
When it comes to classic florals, Needle and Thread are my go-to. Their current Spring/Summer collection sees some beautiful, delicate designs, which the brand is so commonly known for. Their Wallflower Gown comes in three soft shades, all of which feature delicately gathered strips of tulle and borders of intricately scattered pastel flowers. This perfectly matches the whimsical and colourful setting of a garden party and thus, is why I thought this dress was a wonderful candidate.
Florals are considered to be a very feminine print or detailing, particularly paired with a dress. However, they can just as easily enter the realms of edgy rocker. Taylor Momsen provides a great example here. Therefore, if your personal style is not as feminine as mine, don’t rule florals out completely.
To ensure you walk the fine line of semi-formal in a successfully sartorial manner, I recommend opting for a simple silhouette. You can then elevate this with delicate details or opulent embellishments. This could be intricate elements such as small ruffles and gathering or a topaz necklace.
Light and airy
Elaborating on the statement above, pastel colours and light fabrics further fit perfectly with the setting of a garden party.
Breathable materials to ensure you stay cool under the sun and light shades to also reflect the sun’s heat will not only ensure sophisticated charm but is highly practical.
Pick a colour scheme from blush pinks, sky blues, mint greens, lively lavender or lemon yellows for a radiant outcome. Alternatively, if you are not one for much colour then perhaps look at whites, creams, nudes or sand tones. For a cohesive look, I always stick to my two or three colours as to avoid an overbearing outfit. If you live in a hot country or are attending a garden party at the peak of summer time, it is advisable to check the composition of your garment for linen and cotton. Try to avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon.
Whilst it is essential to dress for the environment and event, it is more important to implement your own personal style into every occasion. Browse through some established designers and make a list of your favourites to ensure quick thinking when the invites start reeling in. From Needle and Thread to Self Portrait, simply having some beloved brands on hand alongside these style tips, will ensure that you are prepped and ready.