How to dress for this summer's weddings & parties


by Camilla Ridley

Discover a more modern way to dress for this seasons special occasions and three magical, flattering versatile summer dress that will see you through all your events, occasions and holidays


(from left to right) Our versatile Ridley London Serena maxi dress worn here by @doesmybumlook40 in the green festival flower crepe silk can be styled for formal occasions as well as being perfect for the beach club! The Lola shirt dress in tomato cotton can equally be dressed up with heels or dressed down with sandals or trainers. Finally, our new Serena dress worn here by our own @lawsongg in meadowsong printed floral silk satin looks equally wonderful styled for a wedding as it does for a more relaxed summer lunch with the girls 

It’s amazing how the recent spell of good weather has given our endorphins a much needed boost, and suddenly the events, parties and occasions we will be attending this summer don’t feel very far away. Particularly with the May Bank Holiday just around the corner. Both on-line and in-shore we’ve noticed a real shift in energy and enquiries for outfits and dresses for specific special occasions. Especially mother’s of the brides (or grooms) who are all keen to dress younger, less formally and find that unique, magically versatile statement dress that’s incredibly flattering, will give you a chic refresh, no-one else will be wearing, and will be perfect for all sorts of other occasions this season. But where can you find such a dress?

The good news is that if you’re reading this post, you’ve come to the right place. The on-trend, age defying, magical versatile statement dress is exactly what we specialise in creating for each of our customers here at Ridley. And what’s more, because each dress is individually made to order, any style can be made up in any of our fabrics and prints so you’ll never see anyone wearing the same thing as you. And it can be intelligently customised for your most flattering fit. What’s more as it’s made to order here in London, it can usually be turned around in 1-2 weeks from a fitting. And there’s no wastage so it's far more environmentally friendly with a radically streamlined carbon footprint compared with most designer and off-the peg dresses. If that all sounds the kind of thing you might be looking for, the next question is what sort of dress should you be thinking of for a special occasion this summer?


Our versatile Ridley London Carina shirt dress shown here in the harebell blue tana lawn cotton and the meadowsong printed floral silk features flattering three quarter length sleeves and is available tailored to flatter in a spectrum of on-trend solids and printed floral silks and cottons

As Anna Murphy, fashion director of the Times outlined yesterday "The top line is more is more. Because if there is one time when more is more it has to be this summer.” For those who haven’t read her insightful piece, her watch words are ‘drama', 'joie de vivre', 'full throttle colour’ and ‘extravagant detailing’. And our recent insight pieces on this season’s key catwalk trends and red carpet trends certainly support this approach. But can something that’s so statement be truly versatile and widely wearable. The answer is ‘individuality' and ‘balance'. What I mean by this is find the right dress, jumpsuit, etc. that makes you look and feel amazing and you’re going to want to wear it as often as you can. But also think about what you might wear it to. Try it on with different footwear, heels and a pair of white trainers, a denim jacket over the top and ask yourself if it really can be dressed down? Or how might it look out for dinner in a small Greek island taverna as well as the big wedding this summer or the members enclosure of Royal Ascot? Twenty years ago, no-one would be prepared to be seen in the same dress twice, but with environmental impact and conscious consumption on everyone’s lips, it’s full marks for anyone who can cleverly style and wear the same dress more than twice. Just ask the Duchess of Cambridge who’s public appearances in previously worn garments are helping to champion the 30 wears target. So what dresses will do this?


Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 proving that our Lola shirt dress in on-trend tomato red cotton can be easily dressed up for a variety of smart summer occasions as well as worn more casually. The Ridley London Lola shirt dress is also available tailored to flatter in a selection of printed silks and cottons 

While we carry a whole spectrum of on-trend styles here at Ridley, and different styles will suit different physiques and we all have unique ideas about the kind of thing we might like to wear to a specific event, there are a few styles which are a little more versatile than others, and can be more easily dressed up or down. I’d like to introduce you to three of these dresses, and I would wager that these are not necessarily dresses one would conventionally pick for a special occasion. But bare with me because these styles have been purchased by a few of our more forward looking customers specifically for weddings, and they’ve been chosen by a number of leading influencers precisely for their versatility. They can all come in our new ‘full throttle’ solid colours or any of our beautiful printed silks. They all feature on-trend relaxed cuts, pockets, flattering belted waist ties and two of them are…wait for it…shirt dresses. Not something you would conventionally associate with wearing to a wedding or smart summer event. And in many ways that’s the point, because no-one else will either. So you’ll instantly look and feel younger, more relaxed, comfortable and confident. They all look great with heels, a hat and even a blazer, as well as a pair of Stan Smiths or flip flops. And with the right accessories all of these dresses will look as smart in a vestry or at Royal Ascot as they would look relaxed in a beach club or waterfront taverna. And if they’re tailored to flatter, you’ll look and feel awesome. A dress you’ll instantly want to wear time and time again. What could be more modern? 


Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 proving that our Serena maxi dress, pictured here in both the green and black festival flower printed crepe silks,  can be easily dressed up for smarter summer occasions as well as being the perfect holiday dress. The Ridley London Serena maxi dress is available tailored to flatter in a selection of plain and printed silks and cottons 

1. Carina Shirt Dress

One of our most versatile summer dresses features an easy, relaxed contemporary cut and a flattering three quarter length sleeve, which emphasises the wearers wrists, one of the slimmest areas of the female physique. The dress can be pulled in at the waist with the tie belt to create a more feminine silhouette and the dress is finished with pretty ruffled details and an on-trend tiered skirt. The Carina shirt dress is available tailored to flatter in a selection of on-trend solids and printed silks and cottons. 

2. Lola Shirt Dress

Our sleeveless summer dress is perfect for warmer days but that doesn't mean it can't be dressed up for more formal occasions as Kat Farmer has shown. An elasticated rouched waist makes the Lola dress incredibly comfortable and wearable, while the belt tie enables the wearer to create a more enhanced feminine silhouette. The dress is finished with flattering capped sleeves and an on-trend tiered skirt. The Lola shirt dress is available tailored to flatter in a selection of on-trend solids and printed silks and cottons. 

3. Serena Maxi Dress

Our versatile statement maxi dress is perfect for warmer days and hot holidays and can be easily dressed up for more formal summer occasions. The on-trend maxi length magically elongates while the elasticated rouched waist creates a flattering silhouette, emphasising the waist, while being incredibly comfortable. The Serena maxi dress can be worn both on and off the shoulders and is available tailored to flatter in a selection of plain and printed cottons and silks.


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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