I don’t know about you, but our family calendar is crammed full of events this summer – from garden parties, to weddings, to festivals and day trips, it seems like it’s gone from famine to feast in terms of our levels of busy-ness! Summer is absolutely my favourite season, and though we have so much to look forward to in terms of our various plans, it can also sometimes feel a little overwhelming to plan outfits and occasionwear for all of the family.
Here are my tips for dressing yourself and your littles for all of your summer engagements…
1. A coordinating blazer and shorts set works perfectly for a summer garden party
With so many couples forced to put their wedding plans on hold in 2020-2021, it seems like 2022 is truly ‘the year of the wedding’ and we’ve been lucky to be invited to several weddings as both a couple and as a three in the coming weeks. Coordinated sets are so on trend this season, and a blazer and shorts is a great option for a more informal wedding or garden party. I’ve paired this Very set (jacket, and shorts) with a beautiful Katie Loxton bag and strappy heeled sandals. I’m all about maximising opportunities to wear new pieces, so I love that both the jacket and the shorts are able to be mixed and matched in with other outfits.
2. Add cute accessories to make dressing up ‘fun’ for children
As soon as Alba spotted this bunny basket bag, it was snatched out of the packaging and has been coveted ever since. It can sometimes be a bit of a challenge (understatement of the century!) convincing a rather headstrong little girl to get dressed up for an occasion, but adding fun accessories absolutely helps to make it fun – try sparkle hair clips, bow hair ties or some fabulous sunglasses.
3. Keep cool in a floaty maxi dress
Summer events can often be something of a clothing conundrum – especially if the weather is predicted to be hot (and we’re currently experiencing a rare heatwave in the UK, something our wardrobes almost never cater for!) When it comes to choosing occasionwear, a floaty maxi dress is a great way to keep cool but also look chic for summer parties – a black bardot dress worn with hoop earrings, red lipstick and a low ponytail always gives me ‘Spanish’ vibes and this Sosandar number will take me from day to night (or beach to bar… if I can find a babysitter!)
4. Dress down a jumpsuit with a denim jacket for effortless cool
A jumpsuit is my go-to for most occasions – I have officewear jumpsuits, wedding jumpsuits and several more casual options for day-to-day. This spotty jumpsuit can be dressed up or down – I’d wear it with a denim jacket and cross-body bag for brunch with friends or a day out with family.
5. … or a patterned denim jacket to add a ditsy detail to a little girl’s outfit
Like many little girls, Alba loves a pretty dress – and would frankly wear a party frock to the supermarket. For occasions when you want to make occasionwear look a little more casual, Alba recommends a printed denim jacket to throw on over your most fabulous gown. This River Island number is so versatile and goes with almost any outfit.
6. For a styled look, go for natural tones with your accessories
I’d wear this gorgeous Michelle Keegan denim midi dress with nude sandals and neutral toned clutch. For summer, I love woven accessories in natural, neutral tones – wicker, straw, rattan and raffia are currently very on trend in both fashion and in the home, and I think a little wicker bag would also be so cute with this outfit for a beach day!
7. Hang children’s outfits in view to prepare them for an event
Like many toddlers, Alba loves routine and predictability, so where we have more significant events or days out lined up, I tend to hang her outfits up ready so she can get excited to wear them! It takes some of the ‘surprise’ out of getting ready and she loves looking at her dresses and having pretty things hanging around her bedroom (who doesn’t?)
8. Accept that no matter what you wear… they will be centre of the attention
Of course, when it comes to dressing babies and little children in occasionwear, I find it best to accept that no matter what I wear to an event, Alba will always be better dressed than me and get the lion’s share of the attention! And especially in her Cath Kidston dress or this gorgeous Mamas and Papas number, she truly is the star of the show (but at least there’s only one of us that’s almost guaranteed to spill food down our dresses within the first five minutes….)
How would you style occasionwear for a summer event?