London in the heat: I know many, many people who can’t stand city heat, but I personally love hot weather in a city. When I lived in London I used to relish the hot days because you then get warm nights as well. What can I say, I’m a summer girl…!
I know that working out what to wear in the heat in the city can be problematic, but when you factor in a smart event then it gets even trickier.
I had the opportunity to put this dilemma to the test (can you put a dilemma to the test? is that possible?) two weeks ago when I attended the Chelsea Flower Show with my blogging buddies the Over40Collective as guests of German fashion brand MADELEINE. If you’re not familiar with them, their target market is the 35-40+ woman who wants great quality and timeless classics (with a few trends thrown in here and there).
There’s so much to talk about following our day together: It was a day about clothes, flowers, gardens, friendships, food and champagne. Firstly, clothes.
MADELEINE is a brand I talked about last year when I discussed simple SS16 basics for your wardrobe. I remember then that the quality of the clothes and shoes was second to none, so it was great to look through their website and choose something to wear for the flower show.
And here began the dilemma… what do you wear in London to a smart event in the summer heat? It may have been raining for the best part of this week, but in the run up to the flower show we’d heard talk that a mini heatwave was on its way. MADELEINE were our hosts for the day and they very kindly gifted an outfit to each of us… To me they’re the perfect brand for occasionwear so I thought them taking seven 40 and 50 plus women [bloggers] to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was a perfect match.
My “brief” was (this is purely a self-imposed brief, simply me giving myself guidelines so that I didn’t end up choosing everything on the website!): An outfit of comfort (for food and walking), staying cool (because of the heat) and style (we had VIP tickets to the flower show so of COURSE we had to be stylish).
Firstly: The quality. MADELEINE clothes are beautiful. (All the girls in the collective agreed that their clothes are beautifully made.) Yes, they’re more on the pricey side, but you absolutely get what you pay for. My top and trousers were 100% silk, the exquisite beading on the cuffs makes the sleeves hang really elegantly and they’re both machine washable. Bonus.
Secondly, trousers with a wide leg and an elasticated waistband = Comfort City. Is it just me who’s not “afraid” of elasticated waistbands? Why do they get such a bad rap? If you’re not tucking a top in then elasticated waistbands are the waistbands of choice, surely? Often trousers don’t fit me on the hips as well as the waist – it’s always one or the other – so expanding waistbands are a plus point for me. Plus it means you don’t get uncomfortable whilst eating.
And thirdly – the shoes. Oh, the shoes! I wore these ALL day. I walked around in them ALL day (almost). I only took them off late afternoon and changed into flats not because they rubbed, but because eventually the balls of your feet ache when wearing (any) heels. If you want a comfy pair of heels for wearing all day without getting blisters or even noticing you’re wearing them – THESE ARE THE ONES YOU WANT. Trust me – they’re on sale and would still be worth every penny even if they were still full price. (Plus they flatter everyone.)
Madeleine black block heel crossover mules (they’re not so easy to see in my photos)
So huge thanks to MADELEINE for an absolute blast of a day: It was wonderful. It was the perfect occasion to wear their clothes, the venue was superb and we had great fun and some incredible food.
Scroll down to see the rest of the girls’ outfits, what we ate and drank, and to see some of the flowers. Though to be honest, there wasn’t much time for seeing flowers… We were having too much fun in our cosy little VIP tent!
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW BEFORE? AND ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH MADELEINE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
Clockwise from top left:
The Chelsea Flower Show
What we did, ate, saw and drank. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far: 27°C (that’s hot for the UK at any time of year, let alone May)…
MADELEINE treated us all to an overnight stay at The Lodge Hotel, Putney – a boutique hotel where every room is different… mine was stunning and exactly how I now want my bedroom to be decorated. I tried but failed to get these chairs in my overnight bag.
The stunning flower displays – but oh boy it was hot under the huge tent thingy.
Food by Raymond Blanc
Lunch (and afternoon tea) was truly AMAZING. It was cooked by none other than Raymond Blanc himself (though I have a feeling he had a few helping hands and it wasn’t just him sweating away in the kitchen). Lots of summer flavours, fresh, light food and seasonal ingredients. However I had one complaint: In the picture above there’s a coffee flavour macaron disguising itself as a salted caramel macaron. Guess who doesn’t like despises coffee, and guess who chowed down on the wretched thing.
Have you seen that scene in Big where Tom Hanks innocently eats caviar and promptly spits it out? That’s what I wanted to do. I just hope to god Raymond didn’t see me spitting the half I ate into discreetly into a napkin 😳 (not my proudest moment)…
The Over40Collective in German fashion brand MADELEINE
I think you’ll agree the clothes were absolutely exquisite – beautiful tailoring, great details and flattering colours. And somehow we all chose things that complemented each other. I (we) seriously can’t recommend the brand enough. It’s a well-established German brand that has been selling in the UK for a few years and are really making their presence known right now. Annette (Lady of Style – above left in the red, many of you know her already I’m sure) is our German colleague and she introduced MADELEINE to us, and we’re so glad she did.
Apparently we were the only people to have our pictures taken with Raymond – though I think he relished the thought of having his photo taken with not just one, but SEVEN women.
Left to right:
I could bang on all day about these ladies – I’ve never met a more supportive and lovely bunch of women. We never run out of conversation, we’re all incredibly supportive of each other (both on a personal and professional basis) and I think they’re all great role models for this often catty and competitive blogging business. It was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with them, as always.
Do click through to see their blog posts about the day and to get the links of what they’re wearing: They all looked the absolute BOMB. For us all to get so many different looks from one brand that truly reflect our differing personal styles was quite a feat.
We all hope to be working with MADELEINE again very soon, hopefully to show you their AW17 collection. Watch this space (fingers crossed).
I just want to say massive thanks to the following for making the day so memorable:
– To the team at MADELEINE for hosting and gifting us such beautiful outfits
– To BrightLight PR for looking after us so well and arranging all our transport and accommodation
– To Rebecca Spencer for the fantastic photos and making us all look so fabulous while we wilted in the heat…!
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by and the outfit was gifted by MADELEINE (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.