Off to the races...


by Millie Walford

With Royal Ascot in less than two months away now's the right time to start thinking about your outfit for the season ahead. Here's our Ridley London guide to the most versatile looks for the Royal Enclosure and beyond in 2019.


Royal Ascot is without doubt now a major international fashion event and highlight of the British social season. Key styles for this season include prairie style maxi dresses and bold floral prints

Suddenly the Easter holidays are behind us and we are into the Summer Term, the blossom is out in Barnes and temperatures are on the rise. Spring has sprung and here at Ridley London, we’re already starting to think ahead towards longer summer days and a packed British Social Season.  For me one of the big highlights has got to be Royal Ascot, which along with London Fashion Week is a major event in the UK’s fashion diary and a barometer of the best of British style. We’ll be there in The Royal Enclosure throughout the week with many of our friends and look forward to hopefully meeting you.

With Ladies day only two months away, I know some of you are already starting to think about your unique Royal Ascot look. Planning ahead is intelligent, especially if you are looking for an on-tend, versatile outfit that’s going to see you through a number of events this summer. And most importantly, whether it’s a wedding, or society event like Royal Ascot is going to make you look and feel truly fabulous. To give you some sartorial inspiration, Millie has put together a concise Ridley edit to dressing for Royal Ascot and beyond in 2019. We’ll also be running an invitation event at Ridley & Co on Wednesday 8 May to get you in the racing mood with a number of special guests to help you choose your perfect outfit and accessories. 



Royal Ascot has been inextricably linked with the best of British fashion from it’s inception by Queen Anne in the 18th Century. And It was Beau Brummell, perhaps Britain’s first fashion icon, who at the turn of the 19th century dictated the dress for men in the Royal Enclosure. His sense of style is still reflected in Royal Ascot fashions today. While the dress codes can seem a little outdated and stifling, for The Telegraph “Nothing matches the glamour and prestige of Royal Ascot.” Upholding quintessential British traditions is one of the things that sets the event apart, adding to the unique sense of occasion and atmosphere. And Royal Ascot’s enduring popularity in a technological age suggests that elegance and formality are still easily embraced. In fact, far from being archaic, sophisticated dressing is making a bit of a comeback, a trend dubbed ‘The New Elegance’ by Grazia magazine recently.

According to society journalist Peter York ‘….being respectable is coming back’. A sentiment reflected by fashion Supremos worldwide including  Domenico Dolce who recently launched his elegant new collection in Milan with the statement “People don’t dream of sneakers any more. They dream of something different.” Dolce and Gabbana’s SS19 show offered a glimpse of this fresh philosophy for this season, with an unrepentant move away from leisure wear towards sharp tailoring and refined glamour. So if you’re heading to Royal Ascot, 2019 is definitely the year to invest in a versatile, on-trend piece that will elegantly see you right through the 2019 Summer Season and beyond.

For most Ridley London customers, Royal Ascot is all about the Royal Enclosure, the place where everyone wants to make the most elegant impression. So our concise fashion insights guide to Royal Ascot for 2019 is focused here, where dresses cut on or below the knee, covered shoulders and hats are non-negotiable. And if you get it right for The Royal Enclosure, you’ll be warmly welcomed throughout the course. If this is your first visit to Royal Ascot, its well worth briefly looking at the dress codes for the different enclosures. Royal Ascot have also put together a helpful ‘Style Guide’ which includes a visual edit of key on-trend looks that fit the specific codes for each enclosure. If you’re a seasoned regular, there have been one or two recent changes we’re going to highlight for you.

Individuality and elegance go hand in hand at Royal Ascot and nowhere is this more pronounced than within the Royal Enclosure - where striking the right balance between standing out and fitting in is paramount. So before we look at specific styles for this summer, its worth considering how you identify the style that’s right for you. And how this can be customised to flatter your individuality. In our blog ‘get set for the season’, celebrity stylist Clare McNestry shares her expert insights on finding the most flattering colours and cuts for different skin tones and body shapes. But whatever your shape and colouring, our team at Ridley London will ensure arrive at Royal Ascot looking and feeling your most comfortable and confident. That’s because every Ridley dress, skirt, top and jumpsuit is individually made to order in London from the finest silks. So whichever style of garment you choose, it can be tailored to fit in any of our colours or prints. So you are unlikely to see anyone else at Royal Ascot in an outfit quite like yours. As a starting point, here are some on-trend styles you might want to consider for Royal Ascot this year.

Prairie style maxi dresses


Prairie style silk dresses have already received the royal seal of approval from The Duchess of Cambridge on a number of occasions in 2019. Leading influencer Kat Farmer from @doesmybumlook40 pictured here in a Ridley London luxury floral printed silk Paloma maxi dress. The new Ridley London Carmen printed floral silk statement maxi dress is perfect for The Royal Enclosure this year.

Having already received the Royal seal of Approval, Prairie style dresses have been spotted at a number of major fashion events this year including the Oscars and are living up to their label of this season’s must have garment. Although their high neck lines can at first appear slightly buttoned up, demure prairie style dresses are both incredibly comfortable and flattering, with full length sleeves, clever ruffles and lace detailing and an ability to elongate. An effect that’s further enhanced by a statement maxi length skirt. The Royal Ascot Style Guide is teaming with prairie style maxi dresses this season making the style a sure fire hit. Of course the real key to success is working carefully with the wearer to enhance their natural body shape through precise fitting and choosing a print and colour which flatters their skin tones. Ridley London have two statement silk Prairie dresses this year which fit this trend perfectly can be tailored to fit in any of our prints. The Paloma silk prairie maxi dress is the more fitted style and features bracelet length sleeves and intricate lace detailing. While the Carmen prairie silk maxi dress is similar but slightly more wearable with an elasticated waist and full length sleeves. 

Floral printed silk midi dresses


Elegant printed silk midi dresses are likely to be popular within the Royal Enclosure again this year. Actress Helen Mirren (top left) and Holly Willoughby make a Royal impression in their luxury printed silk designer midi dresses last summer. Two best selling new pieces from the Ridley London collection for spring summer 2019: (bottom left) the Virginia and (bottom right) Grania silk midi dresses can be tailored to fit in any print.

The Royal Ascot Style Guide features a number of luxury floral printed silk designer dresses reflecting a wider catwalk trend for this season. Styles feature both pencil and flattering A-line skirts with cinched waists which accentuate a feminine hourglass silhouette and are particularly flattering for more shapely figures. While midi dresses are traditionally associated with daywear, the more versatile new styles for 2019 feature ruffles, tiered skirts and lace detailing making them perfect for day into evening. The new Ridley London Virginia and Grania printed floral silk midi dresses are bang on trend for Royal Enclosure and incredibly wearable. Offering customers a choice of short or three quarter sleeves, both styles come in a range of chiffons and are cut to skim the hips and emphasize the waist and feature v-neck lines, a combination that’s particularly flattering for larger busts or pear shapes. For a touch of added glamour, both Grania and Virginia dresses are available with statement maxi length skirts. The Vinia wrap dress offers customers the unique combination of glamorous ruffles and satin in an easy wrap design; enabling unlimited adjustment and a near perfect fit for every shape and unique physique.

Floral jumpsuits


Jumpsuits have featured prominently in The Royal Ascot Style Guide and are predicted to be popular for those looking to make a contemporary statement within the Royal Enclosure this year. (Top left) Becky from @bricksandstitches wears the luxurious new Ridley London printed floral silk Maxine jumpsuit. While The Duchess of Wessex chose for a wide legged silk jumpsuit in 2018. (Bottom) The new wide legged Lizzie printed floral silk jumpsuit by Ridley London is bang on trend for the Royal Enclosure this year.

Royal Ascot continues to recognise key trends in the ever-evolving world of fashion with jumpsuits and trouser suits recently given Royal Enclosure approval and featuring prominently in this year’s Style Guide. Last year the Countess of Wessex chose an elegant wide legged jumpsuit by Emilia Wickstead adding the Royal seal of approval to this on-trend garment. This season’s Ridley London collection features two glamorous floral jumpsuits which can be tailored to fit in a sumptuous range of printed silk satins. The Lizzie jumpsuit features a flattering hip skimming cut, V-neck line and on-trend wide leg trousers making it the perfect choice for more shapely figures. While the satin Maxine floral jumpsuit is an altogether more racey option with its plunging neckline and fitted, cut.

Vivid colours and bold floral prints


Bold colours and floral prints are bang on trend for summer 2019 and feature prominently in the Royal Ascot Style guide for this year (top row). The luxurious new Vinia printed floral silk midi wrap dress (bottom row) is available tailored to fit in a wide range of on trend colours and floral prints from Ridley London.

Expect to see Royal Ascot teaming with colour and print this year. According to Vogue, this summer’s trend for bold colours and print is all about energising your wardrobe in politically and socially challenging times. So if you’ve ever fancied experimenting with colour now is definitely the time. The sheer range of colour and print shown on the catwalks for SS-19 from pastels to neons offers endless opportunity for individuality. While the Royal Ascot Style Guide features a number of fabulous floral prints and bold monochrome colours recent research and sales indicates that yellows, pinks, sage and corals will be extremely popular.

For celebrity stylist Claire McNestry “Getting the colour right really is the secret ingredient to becoming the best version of you”. But with so many options available this season, how do you choose the colour that’s really going to make you look and feel amazing? Different colours work for different people and its essential colours are chosen to enhance your natural skin tones. As Claire explains…

“The simplest way to understand which colour tones works for you is to examine the veins on the inside of your wrist. If they appear green then you have a naturally warm skin tone and you are suited to spring and autumn colours. So head towards warmer colour tones as pastels will wash you out. Your go to colours this season are rich reds, golden yellows, oranges, warm blues and greens. If your veins appear blue or purple then you are a cooler skin tone and summer and winter colours will work best for you. Summer skin tones look fabulous in icy shades and pastels so that ultra violet is definitely for you. While winter colourings are especially suited to jewel colours so think bright blue, royal blue, sapphire, emerald, amethyst and deep purples.”

If you’re feeling slightly daunted by a deep dive into bold colour and print don’t be. There are various layers of subtlety and refinement one can buy into this trend and the team at Ridley are here help you understand which of this season’s key colours are going to help you look and feel truly fabulous.



Bold Hats are an essential for The Royal Enclosure. To help you find the right hat, celebrity milliner Camilla Rose will be running a hat clinic as part of the our Royal Ascot event. Her clients include (from top left) Sofia Blunt pictured at last summer's Royal Wedding and Alica Tarina pictured here at Royal Ascot last year. (Below) some of Camilla's latest piece matched with floral printed silk maxi dresses from the new Ridley London collection.

Royal Ascot is renowned for its unique and eye catching millinery and for the Royal Enclosure, hats are a must. However if you’re really not a hat person, a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative but fascinators are not. And if you're looking for something that's unique and on-trend, celebrity milliner Camilla Rose believes this years most prominent millinery trends at Royal Ascot will include "statement bows" and "modern twists on the turban".

While choosing a hat can seem like a minefield, there are some easy rules one can follow. The most important for milliner Camilla Rose is "your hat is an expression of your personality and you should always feel comfortable and confident in a hat. Never let the hat wear you!"

For colour, try and reference tones and shades within your chosen outfit. This can either be a direct match with monochrome or primary background colours or for an easier and slightly more edgy look you can pick up on accent colours or tones within a particular print. The good news is milliners use seasonal colour trends so colour matching isn’t as challenging as it can first appear.

You also need to consider the shape of your face. For example those of us with a long, thin shaped face are better suited to hats with a wide brim as these are great for shortening and slightly widening the look of your face.

As part of our ‘Royal Ascot Ready’ event, milliner Camilla Rose will be running a hat and headwear clinic, offering insights on this season’s key trends and guidance on achieving the right look, whatever the event you’re heading to. Ridley London also offer customers an exclusive hat tailoring and customisation service in collaboration with Camilla Rose Millinery.

If you're heading to Royal Ascot or any other special occasion this summer and you're looking for a unique on-trend outfit that's going to make you look and feel your very best, or some new accessories to update a favourite dress for this season, why not join us for our special spring styling event at Ridley & Co in Barnes. Come and enjoy a glass of fizz and unique personalised insights from our expert team of stylists and special guests including: Fashion colour guru and author of the styling bible 'How not to wear black' Jules Standish. Celebrity milliner Camilla Rose, handbag desingers Aurora London and jewellery designers Tarra Rosenbaum & Harry Rocks.

On Wednesday 8 May 5.30 - 8.30pm Ridley & Co 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ. To RSVP or for further information call us on +44 (0)20 8878 7863

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