I’m going to the Chelsea Flower Show with my Auntie this year, but I have no clue what to wear. Is there a dress code I should stick to?Olivia, Wiltshire
There’s no official dress code for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (a blessing for an outdoor event where you’ll spend all day on your feet). However, there’s an unwritten rule of a certain level of smartness and dressing up, where you wouldn’t feel out of place wearing a floral summer midi dress and a blazer, a bright trouser suit or smart trousers and a statement top.
One of the biggest summer events, along with the likes of Wimbledon and Ascot, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a place for celeb-spotting and the royals, so of course, you’ll want to dress the part. An outfit nod towards the floral theme never goes amiss, but there’s plenty more inspo if florals aren’t your thing.
This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th May, so in true British style there’s no predicting how warm or dry it’ll be for your big day out amongst the flowers and beautiful garden displays. It’s that tricky time of year when you don’t know if you’ll need a coat or a jacket and when deciding on appropriate footwear is a headache.
So, whether you’re planning on going with family or friends, I’ve put together a selection of outfit combinations to alleviate that stress: including perfect jacket and coat pairings, gorgeous floral dresses on the high street, actually stylish espadrilles, and chic co-ords for the minimalist dresser.
A floral dress + trench coat
First up, it’s a ditsy midi from champions of the floral dress, Nobody’s Child. I love the frilled puff sleeves and V neckline, a fresh update to a classic tea dress style. The viscose fabric is also a good sign as you know it’ll be extra soft. The tricky part is working out what to layer over the top. Personally, I’d pick an oversized trench coat like this one from Mango which creates a smart casual contrast and will keep you warm in a sudden downpour.
A floral dress + co-ordinated blazer
Another trusty pairing for a floral dress is with a long blazer. I love this style from Zara, which will complement both the fabric and colour of Ro&Zo’s pretty printed linen dress.
A floral jumpsuit + cropped jacket
A soft blazer will also work well as a layer over a floral jumpsuit. Pick out a colour from the floral print to co-ordinate, or stick to a blazer in neutral colours like ecru, beige or brown.
A floral dress + leather jacket
I’ve fallen in love with this Rixo Georgina shirt dress – it’s perfect for a Chelsea day out. An oversized leather biker jacket will work as an extra layer, but a style in a soft shade, like this beige one, will ensure you still look smart enough for the occasion.
Floral trousers + linen layers
Moving away from colourful floral dresses to monochrome floral trousers is an alternative floral statement. Just add linen layers on a sunny day.
Wide leg trousers + cropped jackets
If florals aren’t your thing, try out a tonal outfit combination. I love the denim shade of these wide leg trousers from Warehouse, which are a part of its Premium collection. Pair with a linen shirt and either one of our favourite boucle jackets or a cropped blazer for an outfit that’s subtly smart and expensive-looking. Very Succession.
Jeans + statement blazers
As there’s no official dress code, you do have the option to wear jeans, but to keep things smart stick to elevated denim such as these off-white wide-leg jeans and pair them with something smarter like this gingham blazer from Mango.
Bright linen suit + vest top
Similar to dressing for a garden party, spring wedding or afternoon tea, The Chelsea Flower Show is a daytime event so is a great occasion for wearing a colourful suit. Linen styles are particularly good for spring and summer and are a softer alternative to the tailored suits you might wear to the office.
Suits + floral blouses
You could keep your suit outfit simple and pair with a tank top or good quality tee (as in the outfit above) or fit to a floral theme and pair your suit with a floral blouse like this 100% organic cotton blouse from Thought.
Suit trousers + waistcoats
If it’s a particularly warm and sunny day, ditch the blazer altogether and wear a smart waistcoat instead.
Think layers: bodysuits
When there’s a chill or a breeze, but you don’t want to be weighed down by an unnecessary coat, add an invisible layer underneath your outfit, instead of over the top, with one of these bodysuits that nobody would spot underneath a dress or top. Make Skims your first port-of-call.
Chelsea Flower Show-ready shoes
All of these outfits would go with a pair of smart white trainers or strappy sandals that would be comfy enough to wear all day at the event, but if you’re keen to dress up your outfit a little bit more, then these would be the shoes at the top of my wish list…