dress for the occasion


by Camilla Ridley

Heading to a wedding or special occasion this summer, and looking for that flattering on-trend outfit that will see you through a whole host of events season? The BAFTAs is a great place for a quick snapshot of the 5 dress trends you need to know about for this season. Our red carpet analysis is here to help you find your most flattering outfit.


Brave Ariana DeBose embracing this season's trend for block colours as she receives her BAFTA in her statement Oscar de la Renta gown

With the first spells of sunshine and warmer weather appearing, naturally we’re starting to look forward to summer and perhaps some special events and occasions we’ve got planned. And while this might seem a little self-indulgent, In troubling times it’s crucial to retain optimism and a positive focus on the horizon can really help. Here at Ridley we’re already hard at work making a number of special made to measure dresses for customers attending weddings and events this season. If enquiries and website clicks are anything to go by, it certainly seems like it's going to be a very exciting spring and summer out there. And if your one of the lucky people with a busy diary, and you’re starting to think about your wardrobe or a special versatile outfit that’s unique, on-trend and will see you through a number of events now is the perfect time to start shopping around. Especially if you want something that’s individually made to flatter.

This summer's extraordinary array of designer catwalk offerings can at first seem a little overwhelming, especially if like me you’re so far beyond the wrong side of twenty to even contemplate some of the most media ubiquitous looks so far. The micro skirt and crop top combination immediately springs to mind. However It’s worth remembering, that there is a big difference between the more visually shocking styles specifically designed to trigger an early tsunami of coverage, social media views and re-posts, and the more refined styles which become the sartorial backbone of every season. Particularly when elegant wearability, versatility and a 30 wears sustainability target is taken into account.

As well as our spring catwalk trend analysis, the BAFTAs (British Academy Film and Television Awards), last Sunday is a great place to spot these more wearable trends emerging. Particularly given the diversity, range of ages and sizes attending. Not to mention the fact that practicality and the ability to hide thermal under layers is no doubt a consideration for a traditionally cold and rainy early march evening in London! And if by chance, on exactly the same day, the critics choice awards was being hosted in LA. So we’ve analysed the most visible red carpet styles for both of these events to give you our early guide to the most wearable occasion trends for spring summer 2022. While both red carpet events obviously showcase evening wear, we're also going to explain how we see these trends translating into versatile daywear for events like Royal Ascot or a spring wedding.


1. Extreme Length, maxi dresses are back

When it comes to hem length, this season seems to be all about extremes. While a few of the younger crowd favoured social media's must have micro and puffball trends, it was actually elegant statement maxi length dresses that dominated at all the events we analysed. This is hardly surprising given their magical elongating properties and the range of ages, shapes and sizes of those attending. Because with the right heels and intelligent styling and tailoring literally anyone can look and feel fabulous in a maxi dress. When it comes to maxi dresses this season, the trend for tiers is definitely a thing of the past with the majority of the maxi dresses we spotted featuring either elegant straight or.....skirts. Some had pleats and some revealing side slits. For added versatility and for any daytime or transition occasions, I would definitely opt for a slightly shorter ankle length in favour of the red carpet scraping styles on display. Our experienced Ridley stylists are available to help you find the styles that are really going to enhance your natural physique. And because all of our statement maxi dresses are individually made to order here in London, they can be cleverly tailored for your most flattering fit. 


(From top left to right) Alana Haim, Lucy Boynton and Sienna Miller embrace this season's trend for elegant statement length maxi dresses. (Bottom left to right) two slimming maxi dresses from the new Ridley London collection in on-trend block colour and delicate floral printed silk satin 


2. Colour blocking

Block colours are a key trend for this summer, and unsurprisingly were all over the catwalks as well as the red carpets this week. Shades were vivd in bold spring like pinks, yellows, blues and reds. While shimmering statement satins appeared to be popular, I would look at materials with less sheen so think cottons, silk crepe de chine or delicate silk chiffon for daywear or versatile transitional outfits. Just make sure you pick the colours and tones that are going to flatter your natural colouring, fit your personality and won't leave you feeling overwhelmed or drowned out. Luckily, this season's colours are a real spectrum so there is something for everyone, but if you want to go for an on-trend colour that perhaps isn't in your palette, a print can help introduce new shades. And as Ridley garments are individually made to measure, you can have any style in any of our block colours or exquisite floral prints customised to fit. Our experienced Ridley stylists are available to help you find the colours and tones that are going to make you look and feel fabulous. Or you can read our previous post with colour guru Jules Standish to understand more about colour theory and identify which colours are going to flatter your natural colouring.


(From top left to right) Ariana DeBose, Zawe Ashton and Jodie Turner-Smith opt for statement block colour dresses. (Bottom) all of our new collection of Ridley London dresses can be made to order in any of our new ontrend block colours in both silks and cottons. (From left to right) the new Lola Shirt Dress in tomato red tana lawn cotton and the Heyde shirt dress in luxurious turquoise silk crepe de chine.   


3. Think sexy and show some skin

This season's revealing catwalk trend of sexy cuts, plunging necklines, bare midrifts, high skirt slits and general skin sharing was definitely on show across all of the recent red carpets events we analysed. But embracing this season's look doesn't have to mean uncomfortable exposure. I would re-position it as elegantly making the most of your best features, which let's face it is always on trend. From demure bare shoulders to subtly translucent fabrics, the latest red carpet events highlighted a variety of intelligent and elegant ways to embrace this season's dress sexy trend. And it was particularly interesting to see many of the younger attendees opting for a more demure approach. This just highlights how some of the bolder catwalk trends often fail to translate into the real world and how fleeting they can end up being. Certainly most of us have a good understanding of our own natural boundaries, and I would always look for subtler ways to embrace more extreme trends. This particularly applies if you're attending a day time event like a wedding or Ascot's Royal Enclosure, where there are strict taste and dress codes to consider. The addition of an on-trend tonal blazer is an easy way to to soften the sexiness while increasing the versatility of an outfit.


This season's catwalk trend of dressing sexy and exposing flesh was on show in all sorts of SkinFrom top left to right) Ariana DeBose, Zawe Ashton and Jodie Turner-Smith opt for statement block colour dresses. (Bottom) all of our new collection of Ridley London dresses can be made to order in any of our new ontrend block colours in both silks and cottons. (From left to right) the new Lola Shirt Dress in tomato red tana lawn cotton and the Heyde shirt dress in luxurious turquoise silk crepe de chine.

4. Shouldering the style

Off-the-shoulder, one shoulder and halter neck dresses were also in abundance across the red carpet events. All these styles are particularly flattering as they emphasise some of the naturally slimmest areas of the female form. Halternecks work particularly well........ Although these styles immediately say evening, they can be dressed down with an on-trend blazer.


5. Retro glamour

Last seasons trend of billowing three quarter length bell style sleeves was still very much in evidence, especially combined with elegant floor length gowns, plunging necklines and synched in at the waist with belts. This style of sleeve flatteringly accentuates the wearers wrists and forearms, again one of the slimmest areas, while concealing the upper arms. While many of these evening maxi dresses spotted were finished in glamorous velvets and statement metallic silks the look could be translated into a more versatile transitional day into evening look with a subtle change in materials, length and a less plunging neckline.


Ridley London's new collection of statement dresses, skirts, tops and blazers for special occasions is available to purchase on-line 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

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