Harvey Nichols event dressing

The Harvey Nichols guide to summer event dressing

18 Apr 2024 | Updated on: 23 Apr 2024 |By Hitanshi Kamdar

Dress to impress this social season with a little help from Harvey Nichols

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Harvey Nichols

Given how casual dress codes have become over the last few years, we wouldn’t blame you if you had a minor meltdown every time an event invite rolled in. Comfortable loungewear and no-frills work dresses are all well and good, but navigating the ‘black-tie’, ‘smart casual’ and ‘eveningwear’ dressing dictats scrawled at the bottom of an invitation calls for something a touch more glamorous. Enter, the Harvey Nichols event dressing guide.

Whether your diary is filled up with beach parties, evening cocktail soireés, or summer weddings, the key is to invest in timeless, versatile pieces that will look great for years to come. While a statement dress is essential, stocking up on elegant jewellery and accessories that work with different styles will help make event dressing a breeze.

We’ve dug deep in the new season drops at Harvey Nichols and unearthed designs perfect for every summer event, from afternoon tea at a garden party to sparkling wedding toasts, a day at the races and beyond.

Cocktail hour

When it comes to high-octane glamour, 16 Arlington gets it right every time. For your next evening event, turn up the heat in this sensual velvet mini dress featuring a fun feather trim. Pair with a voluminous blowout, statement crystal-embellished earrings from Rosantica and a Mozafarian diamond ring. The finishing touch to this flirty look? Self-Portrait’s crystal-studded micro bag is guaranteed to turn heads.

16 Arlington Adelaide feather-trimmed velvet mini dress

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Self-Portrait Crescent Bow micro suede bag

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Rosantica Vetro crystal-embellished drop earrings

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Mozafarian Diamond half eternity ring

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Beach party

Unless your host plans on braving the biting winds of English shores, a beach party invite means you’re heading somewhere with warm sands, clear blue skies, and balmy weather. Your outfit should reflect that – while still being dressed up. A classic, neutral palette is your friend here; Jacquemus’ ecru midi dress with a keyhole cutout delivers a show-stopping yet simple beach look. Accessorise with Simone Rocha’s pearl drop earrings and a pop of red courtesy of Lanvin’s sculptural leather clutch. Finish with a pair of sunglasses: Loewe’s rectangular frames are chic and glamorous.

Jacquemus La Robe Sierra Bretelles ribbed-knit midi dress

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Simone Rocha pearl drop earrings

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Loewe rectangle-frame sunglasses

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Lanvin Haute Sequence leather clutch

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Garden party

Dressing for daytime events can be tricky, but seasoned style mavens know better than to stick to safe florals for a garden party. Instead, opt for this ethereal blue plissé organza mini dress from Zimmermann, its tiered skirt and puff sleeves adding a feminine touch to your outfit. Amp up the femininity with Completedworks’ gold-plated mismatched earrings and Alighieri’s dainty pearl bracelet. Gianvito Rossi’s block-heel sandals provide a gilded edge without compromising on comfort.

Zimmermann plissé organza mini dress

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Completedworks Flower 18kt gold-plated drop earrings

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Alighieri The Calliope pearl bracelet

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Gianvito Rossi Stivale 65 metallic leather sandals

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Summer wedding

Apart from the cardinal rule of no white, weddings give you the freedom to experiment with formal event dressing. That said, trying not to outshine the bride is always a good idea. Opt for an understated yet glamorous outfit such as Stella McCartney’s lustrous draped pink satin gown detailed with a crystal-embellished shoulder strap. The floor-length gown demands towering heels – we recommend Aquazzura’s crystal-studded silver sandals. Complete the look with Alexis Bittar’s flower drop earrings and Magda Butrym’s satin bucket bag with a floral appliqué and pearl top handle, perfect for storing your lipstick for pre-photo touch-ups.

Stella McCartney Falabella one-shoulder satin gown

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Alexis Bittar Pansy 14kt gold-plated drop earrings

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Magda Butrym Magda small satin bucket bag

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Aquazzura Wild At Heart 105 leather sandals

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Shop the full event dressing edit at harveynichols.com