The Occasion Edit

It’s time to up your wardrobe game because quite frankly, we’ve waited long enough. Get ready to party with my essential occasion-wear edit and styling tips for last-minute looks to celebrate in, whatever wedding, party or events are filling your diary. This is the moment to dress up and show up - we’ve earned it!

Black and Blue

Helen Canning - Floral print wrap dress, Michael Kors

Floral print wrap dress, Michael Kors; Leather bag, Kate Spade

This dress will be a dream addition to your wardrobe. The floral print with a retro twist gives a nod to the 70’s print aesthetic that’s trending right now and the vivid blue is striking on almost every skin tone. A wrap style like this is universally flattering and always a hit with my clients, whatever their shape.

Styling tip: Complement a punchy print such as this with all black accessories to enhance the graphic look. Choose patent or suede textures which always add polish to an occasion outfit.

LK Bennett’s Floret court shoe

LK Bennett’s Floret court shoe in patent black has a more wearable heel for all day - or night - comfort.

Cream of the Crop

Neutral occasion wear look - Helen Canning

Double breasted blazer, Reiss; Sequin vest, Mint Velvet; Pleated skirt, Weekend MaxMara; Leather bag, Coach

Combining luxurious fabrics in white and cream with nude tones and a metallic touch of sequins creates an alluring outfit with a richness that can take you from day to night.

Styling tip:

With a limited colour palette, be sure to introduce a variety of textures to add depth. Note the sheer pleats, sequins and woven blazer as a contrast to the patent heels and leather bag in shades from ivory to taupe.

Reiss blazer

A neutral coloured bag on the lighter end of the spectrum can often be even more versatile than black, so it’s a great addition to your collection.

Timeless Tailoring

LK Bennett puff sleeve dress

Puff sleeve dress and leather belt, both LK Bennett; Pearl hair slide, Mood by Jon Richard; Sunglasses, Mango; Leather bag, Kate Spade

The timeless quality of a tailored pencil dress epitomises 1950’s charm which lends itself to the formal side of daytime occasion dressing. Cat-eye sunglasses are the perfect eyewear pairing along with a classic chain-strap shoulder bag you will still be using long after the confetti has gone. Embrace the volume of puffed sleeves for a look that’s as on-trend as it is flattering to balance wider hips. 

Styling tip: Pair this dress with shoes in a contrasting shade for a contemporary finish. Try these (below) to add a flash of coral.

LK Bennett Sweetheart court shoe

LK Bennett’s sweetheart shape court shoes mirror the neckline of the dress as the ideal finishing touch

Broderie Anglaise for Days

Helen Canning in Lauren Ralph Lauren and Mango

Broderie anglaise shirt dress, Lauren Ralph Lauren; Sunglasses and belt, Mango; Raffia bag, LK Bennett

This broderie anglaise cotton dress is just calling out to attend last-minute invites to summer garden parties and riverside drinks. I always champion the shirt dress as every wardrobe’s multifaceted hero piece (so much so I wrote about it last summer here) and it is the simplicity and versatility of its design that ensures it won’t be left hanging in the closet after just one wear.

Styling tip:

Raffia and caramel tones take this outfit down a daytime route, while black accessories would punctuate the look and contrast the broderie anglaise for a sharp finish.

Treat this dress as a blank yet beautiful canvas to accessorise to suit the occasion

Read 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing your occasion outfit.

Find the right outfit for you and your event with a FREE styling session with Helen and the Elys Personal Styling team. Follow @cocomamastyle  and visit for more fashion inspiration.


Main image: Long sleeved playsuit, Reiss; Belt and sunglasses, both Mango; Suede bag, LK Bennett.