Putting on a show
PUBLISHED: 12:35 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 21 May 2018
Royal wedding or county show, it's all about looking good
It’s show time across East Anglia with the counties bringing together town and country in glorious celebrations of county life.
First of the county shows is Suffolk’s on Wednesday and Thursday. May 30 and 31 and the hats will be out as the Suffolk Show stewards dress for the occasion. Traditionally, the men wear bowler hats while the women have outfits topped off by a complementary hat.
This year, the royal wedding has inspired show director Bee Kemball and high-fashion Fifth Avenue head steward, Angie Ashby-Hoare to offer some top fashion tips for weddings.
Bee Kemball says: “These tips apply whether you’re off to the royal wedding or a best friend’s.
1) Don’t rule out black or navy, with other accent colours it can be an elegant option
2) Invest in a great manicure (and pedicure if wearing open toes) – it finishes off any outfit
3) If you are wearing a statement hat or fascinator, you don’t need to overload with lots of jewellery, we don’t wear hats very often so when we do, let them do the talking
4) Shoes! If you’re standing on grass at the reception don’t wear stilettos, however great they look at home, as you will be staggering before you’ve even had a glass of fizz. Wedges or block heels still look fabulous, and flats for dancing later may be blessed relief
5) Clutches are elegant, but I usually have either one with a chain strap or use a small shoulder bag. You don’t want to be trying to hold that, and a glass and trying to eat a canape.
6) Pack tissues and perhaps wear waterproof mascara, in case the emotions get the better of you
7) Go vintage – if you can find a vintage dress or coat, or even a pretty shrug, no-one will ever look the same as you, and another tip to avoid “same outfit” embarrassment is buy a dress the season before and save it.
Angie adds: “My advice when shopping for an outfit for the Suffolk Show or for the wedding season is to buy something that you feel comfortable in and that you’ll wear again. Nude and porcelain colours are popular this season, as well as bright blues and reds – very patriotic for the Royal Wedding.
“Pretty feminine block colours are always a winner when paired with a contrasting clutch or handbag – it’s a look that Kate Middleton often wears.” My favourite local boutiques are Darcy B or Homespun in Woodbridge, or Collen and Clare in Southwold, Aldeburgh and Burnham Market.
When choosing footwear, choose something comfortable and take note of the terrain. Fanny and Frank in Woodbridge have a fabulous selection of footwear but make sure you wear them in before the big day.
“For jewellery, local designer Emily Mortimer has a unique collection of statement necklaces and special pieces that are perfect for wedding occasions. The Hat Club in Fordham is my go-to choice for hats and fascinators. I recommend that you take your outfit along and they will help you pair it with the perfect headpiece.
Angie suggests Javelin in Bury St Edmunds have a great variety of handbags and accessories.
Bee says: “The Suffolk Show is one of those wonderful occasions when us girls can really pull out all the stops, but you need to get it right to feel comfortable to tackle whatever you have planned for the day.
Like a wedding, when you go to the Suffolk Show, you have to look smart and elegant, but you are likely to be dressed up all day and into the evening. I can be moving between the cattle lines at 6am, then be heading into President’s lunch, and still be on my feet enjoying the band that evening - so think practically, as well as indulging your tastes.
My advice - wear a dress that you can be comfortable in all day, you don’t want to be tugging at a hem or holding your breath. If you have to arrive early like me, a warm dress-length coat is ideal, then, if the sun comes out, the outer layer comes off and you’re ready for lunch.
Accessories are also very important if you want to look smart and be comfortable – I always have a pretty printed scarf in my handbag as they can jazz up any dress, as well as keeping you warm, or covering red shoulders. Handbag choice may seem like over-thinking things, but you don’t want to be lugging round a heavy bag with things you won’t need – or not have enough room to fit your shades, phone, essentials etc Shoes; there is a very simple rule – if new, break them in, but even better, wear a tried and tested pair, and stick flats in your bag to slip on when you need to.