by Camilla Ridley
Chelsea Flower Show is synonymous with floral summer dresses, but it's not just a fashionable celebration of horticulture that makes them so enduring. There are several hidden advantages to wearing a statement floral summer maxi dress.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Majesty The Queen embracing the Chelsea Flower Show floral dress code in 2019. (Right) BBC presenter and Chelsea Flower Show regular Rachel de Thame in her Ridley London printed floral Sadie swing dress in 2022
For me, nothing screams spring like the Chelsea Flower Show (which starts next week) and a fabulous floral print dress. Whether it’s a maxi dress, midi dress, shirt dress or on-trend co-ord, printed floral dresses have become as much a part of Chelsea as the beautiful gardens, a refreshing glass of Pimm's, Monty Don, and the iconic red-coated Chelsea pensioners. Chelsea Flower Show really marks the start of the British Summer Season and is perfectly timed with everything coming into bloom and London being at its most beautiful. And it's no surprise that after a long British winter and two years interrupted by covid and now the War in Ukraine, everyone’s absolutely itching to get out there and celebrate - a literal blooming of people as well as nature. And there’s no better way to do this than with colour, glamour and a dress that celebrates this fabulous time of year.
Despite a catwalk shift towards plains this summer, I’ve no doubt we’ll see an array of statement floral print dresses at Chelsea Flower Show again this year and many of this season’s events beyond. I can say this with some certainty looking at the number of floral dresses that have been purchased by customers already, and the dress choices by the celebrities and broadcasters wearing Ridley London at Chelsea Flower Show this year. Beyond fashionability and fashion statements, there are also a number of practical reasons why floral dresses have become such an iconic stalwart of British summertime.
(Clockwise from top left) The new Ridley London Manon dress in the vintage style Carline Rose floral print. A Chelsea Pensioner and visitor embrace the floral trend. Presenters, style gurus and floral fans Kat Farmer and BBC Radio DJ Jo Wiley show off their stunning printed floral maxi dresses. Campaigner, Author and Influencer Dame Deborah James pictured in her statement printed floral Ridley London Octavia Maxi dress last year with her husband Sebastian and Chef and presenter Raymond Blanc
Prints are usually made up of a number of colours, and the new floral prints we have at Ridley London this season are no exception. This makes a printed floral dress far easier to team with a variety of different coloured accessories, jackets and sweaters to bring a whole new look to an outfit. In turn, this results in a high number of potential wearing occasions, and in a more conscious world increasingly driven by sustainability and a 30-50 wears target, this type of versatility is definitely a benefit.
The key to any garment is a combination of how flattering and comfortable it is, and while bright on-trend plain colours can really pull a punch in terms of standout, they can occasionally be more difficult to wear, especially if like me your the other side of 40, children, and not the size 8 you once were. In essence, It’s far easier for the human eye and brain to interpret forms and volumes wrapped in a single colour than a pattern which can be strategically placed to distract and camouflage and flatteringly draw attention to the naturally slimmer areas of our physiques.
While bright solid colour dresses are on trend for this summer and visually enticing, there’s also a high risk of staining to consider. Particularly if you’re thinking about luxurious materials like silks that can only be washed at cooler temperatures or dry cleaned. Where any stain becomes highly visible on a plain fabric, patterned fabrics more easily hide these imperfections as the print is what the eye takes in. This makes floral print dresses far more wearable.
Different colours suit different natural physical colouring combinations and if matched correctly can make us look younger, fresher, slimmer and healthier. Conversely, the wrong colours can diminish our complexions adding years to our age. Printed fabrics enable a wearer to combine a flattering ‘dominant’ background colour with on-trend accent colours within a print that might not be in the wearer's natural spectrum. Enabling each we’re to embrace a multitude of on-trend colours without worrying about how it might look.
(Clockwise from top left) BBC presenter, award winning garden designer and Chelsea Flower Show regular Arit Anderson pictured in her Chelsea garden last year in her Ridley London printed floral Sadie Swing dress. Joan Collins embracing the floral dress code. Fashion Influencer mashatheone pictured at Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 in her luxurious printed floral silk Ridley London dress. A beautiful floral garden design at Chelsea Flower Show
Whose ever arrived at that special event to see two people in pretty much the same outfit? Awkward? While we all want to wear something flattering and on-trend, no one wants to look exactly the same as anyone else. Whether you're thinking of something bold or a little more subtle, dressing for the Chelsea flower show or a summer wedding is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate our individuality and unique personalities as opposed to blindly following the crowd, by choosing something that’s unique, that’s made to flatter. And this definitely seems to be the way fashion appears to be moving as a whole, with much more emphasis on personal style and self-expression, however subtle and refined this might be. While particular styles and cuts of statement dresses can be copied by multiple labels and quickly become ubiquitous, print and colour bring an extra dimension to outfits, helping to ensure that no one else will be seen in quite the same thing as you.
Customising Ridley London's beautiful new floral summer prints
At Ridley London, we’re absolutely passionate about floral prints for all these reasons and more. In fact, I would go as far as to say, that summer just isn’t summer without a beautiful floral print dress. Our incredible archive of unique floral printed silks and cottons is like an Aladdin's cave and we’ve literally got something for everyone from bang unto date, to bold retro and dainty vintage styles. And what makes a Ridley floral dress really different is that it's individually made to order for every customer, right here in the UK. Not only is this far more sustainable as there’s no wastage and very little carbon footprint, but it means you can have any of our dress styles made up in any of our beautiful floral prints, and it can be tailored to flatter. And if you’re thinking a unique floral dress might be what you're after for this summer, some incredible new floral printed silks and cottons have just arrived.
Ridley London's new collection of statement floral summer dresses is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097