Model Nina Schubert poses on the M&G Garden at Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show in London on 19 May, 2014.  Model Nina Schubert poses on the M&G Garden at Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show in London on 19 May, 2014. © RHS / Bethany Clarke

What to wear to the Chelsea Flower Show

Blossoms or blooms, hat or no hat? Here is our etiquette guide to what to wear, what to say and what to know for London's Chelsea Flower Show

Florals are a spring prerequisite and the up coming Chelsea Flower Show the event of the season to add some petal power to your wardrobe. As one of the key dates on the British social calendar, London's Chelsea Flower Show is not the place for wallflowers but for showing off your sartorial skills in the floristry department. Whether elegant dreamy pastels, edgy luxe bold brights or delicate subtle floral lace, there is a flower for every taste...

Elegant pastels
For a truly feminine and graceful nod to seasonal florals, whimsical pastel shades offer a seamless style for the more sophisticated of dressers. A refined floor length dress, billowing maxi skirt or demure midi length dress and silky blouse in pale blue, mint, pink or lemon scented swirling florals will ooze sophistication. Team with a neutral tailored jacket and floppy rimmed straw hat for the epitome of chic.


Clockwise from left: maxidress: Tory Burch, white blazer: Paul & Joe, hat: Tomas Maier, earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane, bag: Michael Kors, shoes: Givenchy 

Chic white
If you want to keep your floral offering subtle and refined, go for an all-white or white dominated ensemble. White lace, embroidery and broderie anglaise offer a suitably chic approach to spring florals. For a bohemian aesthetic team white lace with soft brown leather and tan accessories and fringing, or for a more refined finish, go for a pure white look with a clean-cut tailored white broderie anglaise dress and fitted jacket. Black and white is another beautifully polished combination and will stand out against a backdrop of vibrant florals.


Clockwise from bottom left: sandals: Bottega Veneta, jacket: Jonathan Saunders, hat: Madewell, necklace: Dolce & Gabbana, dress: Oscar de la Renta, bag: Proenza Schouler 

Dark buds
Bright and bold floral dresses are on display in abundance every year at the Chelsea Flower Show, and the reason; they are simply fabulous. But if you want to add a touch of edginess to your bright florals, team your spring blooms with black. A rich floral midi skirt and silky black blouse combination will elevate every daytime florals, and a trilby and dark denim jacket add the required dose of urban elegance.


Clockwise from bottom left: Shoes: Thakoon Edition, denim jacket: Acne Studios, hat: Tomas Maier, top: Chloé, bag: Elizabeth and James, skirt: Preen by Thornton Ragazzi

And for the men...
Don some chinos (bright colours optional), a shirt and a blazer or linen jacket and you will feel more than adequately attired. Some gents wear ties, but more fittingly, if you really want to look the part, don't forget your panama hat.


clockwise from left, trousers: Alexander McQueen, shirt: Tomas Maier, panama hat: Gucci, jacket: Hardy Amies, shoes: Paul Smith

Chelsea Flower Show style etiquette...

• There is no dress code at the Chelsea Flower Show, but wear as you would to an English garden party with champagne and afternoon tea.
• Hats are not necessary but as a top accessory of the season, why not.
• If you are attending the charity preview evening, a cocktail dress is a must.
• Don't forget a jolly brolly incase the rain comes.
• There is a lot of walking; grass and mud to contend with so sensible, yet stylish shoes are a must. Go for glamorous flats, mid-heels or platforms and wedges.