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No Glass Slippers Allowed: What to Wear to Buckingham Palace

By Amalah

So here’s my dilemma. I live in London and have been lucky enough to be invited to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party this year. July 22, to be precise. Which suddenly seems very soon.
I got the dress sorted freakishly easily – saw it online, went to the shop, tried it on, found that it fits nicely, twirled around a bit and then slapped down the MasterCard. The dress isn’t my usual style but I like it and it conforms to all the rules about what one wears to the Queen’s house (wide straps, no plunging neckline, demure length etc – picture attached).
I even have the hat sorted as one of my friends has one that I’ve not seen but which she promises me will go with the dress perfectly. It’s cream and looks kind of like the hat in the picture attached.
Which brings us to shoes and the fact that I have gone out and bought a purple dress without having any clue what colour shoes to wear with it. Purple to match the dress? Cream to match the hat? Presumably not black, right? Also, the more I look at the dress, the more I don’t even have any clue what style of shoe will go with it. Skyscraper heels are out as it’s a garden party in England in July, which equals soggy grass. But then I suppose flats are out also, as it’s a party that the Queen is hosting so it is presumably going to be kind of formal. Are stockings required? I don’t know. I’m confused. SOS.
Thanks so much!

07101872_large.jpgAh, hats! It’s a shame no one wears hats anymore. I wouldn’t have to get my roots done so often.
Since hats are definitely more of a throwback item these days, there aren’t a lot of hard-and-fast rules and guidelines to them anymore — including having your shoes always match. HOWEVER, I must completely and utterly nix the very idea of purple shoes. No. That’s just entirely too precious and matchy-matchy, not to mention a complete waste of a pair of shoes, since you will likely never wear something like that again.
Cream shoes would be absolutely fine — I prefer that shoes generally not match the dominant color of my outfit, but I do try to pick up a color of an accessory I’m wearing, be it a belt, purse, hat or jewelry. So provided you aren’t opposed to wearing light-colored shoes in a grassy area, a nice off-white or bone-colored shoe would very much compliment your outfit and the summer season.
Another color option would be a soft grey or matte pewter– colors that looks fantastic paired with lavender and other shades of purple. You could then add a similarly-colored bracelet or small handbag to tie it all together. (I would probably try to avoid having your hat, bag and shoes all be the exact same shade of cream, by the way. If you go with off-white shoes, I’d carry a grey or purple bag, I think. Three cream-colored accessories veers too closely to that matchy-matchy realm and says, “Yes, I WAS in a panic about my outfit and DID totally overthink it, thank you for noticing.”)
I couldn’t find ANYTHING about hose or stocking being required at the palace these days, so I’d feel free to default to your personal preference. Whatever you’re more comfortable in. I DO think heels are the way to go here — flats would ruin the lovely line and party feel of your dress. Not skyscraper heels, by any means, but just a nice pump height. I’m sure you’ll see EVERYTHING at this party, from old-school Easter Sunday shoes to strappy sandals to lucite stilettos and oh lord, I can only HOPE for civilization’s sake that you don’t see any flip-flops, but even that wouldn’t surprise me.
Hat.jpgPersonally, I’d go with a nice peeptoe heel with this dress — they’re insanely easy to find in every color these days, and would be just a tad dressier and more formal than say, a wedge heel, but not quite as fussy as a high-heeled strappy sandal. If you’re worried about the grass, consider a patent-leather pump, which is really easy to wipe off and less likely to get completely ruined if there’s rain or mud on party day.
(Oh, and if you do go with an open-toed shoe of any kind, pleasefortheloveofGod promise me you won’t paint your toenails purple. If you’re over the age of 10 and no longer using sparkly Tinkerbell nail polish, you are too old for the precious matchy-matchy pedicure. The End.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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