Shop for that very special outfit

Garden parties, summer balls, weddings, a day at the races; all these special events require special dressing and it's potentially the hardest outfit to buy in your entire wardrobe.

Garden parties, summer balls, weddings, a day at the races; all these special events require special dressing and it's potentially the hardest outfit to buy in your entire wardrobe.

Buy first thing in the season and you risk wearing the same as another; buy now and it's a little safer. Stores have wised up and deliver mid-season styles while the rest of the ranges, some looking a little tired, head for the sale rail.

The more formal the occasion the more covered a style is required with one notable exception, the ball gown; but pretty cover ups and bolero styles help those not happy revealing too much.

"Occasion" wear stands apart from day to day with the quality of the fabric, the embellishment and the finish, and it has to be said, the price, but the "shopping" part of it is half the fun. Trying to be too sensible and erring on the side of caution means that someone else will have bought as you've faltered.

Ascot saw many erring on the safe side with sharp tailored macs and cover ups against the inclement weather but instead of being a dampener, the more simple styles showed off the millinery to greater effect.

Think about hair always when choosing your special style.

It's the most important finishing touch; special dressing for special places requires very special grooming. Tick all those boxes and you're ready to join in with the summer fun.

Stockists

Phase Eight is available at Fenwick and John Lewis.

Jesire is available at John Lewis Newcastle and House of Fraser, MetroCentre.

James Lakeland is available at Designer, 15a Clayton Road (0191) 281-5351, other stockists (0207) 636-7130 www.jameslakeland.net

Vera Mont is available at Fenwick Ltd, Newcastle.

Kaliko is available at Fenwick and John Lewis, Newcastle; Debenhams and House of Fraser, MetroCentre, Gateshead.

M&S is in Newcastle and MetroCentre Gateshead, (0845) 302-12345.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer