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6 tips for chic courtside dressing at Wimbledon 2019 next week

Krissy Turner
Model Erin O'Connor opted for a shirt dress and white T-bar shoes, both by Emilia Wickstead for Wimbledon last year.  - Getty Images Europe

Wimbledon kicks off next week; the two week-long, world-famous tennis tournament that attracts royalty and celebrities alike to its South West London grounds. And while the focus is, of course, the tennis itself, with everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Sienna Miller frequenting the annual event, there is always an element of fashion prowess to keep one eye on too. 

There is no official dress code for Wimbledon and in fact, sartorial requirements for spectators have relaxed in recent years (shirt and tie were once mandatory in the members' area), but there is an unspoken rule that attendees should make an effort, particularly if you're heading to one of the hospitality areas.

Guidelines advise against ripped denim and sports attire, bags are required to be smaller than 16" x 12" x 12" and both oversize hats and selfie sticks are banned, but other than that, you are free to wear what you want.

From the right level of literal dressing, to finding the perfect balance between smart and casual: here are six tips to heed from some stylish Wimbledon guests... 

Sport separates 

The Duchess of Sussex wore a Ralph Lauren Collection striped shirt and white wide-leg trousers as she watched her friend Serena Williams play in the women's singles final on Saturday 14th July. Credit: PA 

While dresses are generally the most popular item of clothing to wear at Wimbledon for women (and let's face it, wafting around in a fabulous printed dress clutching a bowl of £12 strawberries and cream in one hand and a pint of Pimm's in the other does have its allure), separates are not to be sniffed at. 

Make like the Duchess of Sussex, who last year opted for a blue striped shirt  tucked into high-waisted trousers for Wimbledon last year, offering up inspiration for a summery feminine look that doesn't skimp in the comfort department. What's more, separates are less prone to creasing than dresses and jumpsuits which, for an occasion that requires lots of sitting down, is a godsend. 

Comfy shoes are key

Poppy Delevingne sports a red, white and blue ensemble with comfy plimsolls for the tennis last year.  Credit: WireImage 

Whether you're spending the day amidst the club's debenture holders or walking around the grounds with a general admission ticket, comfortable footwear is essential. There is nothing fun, nor glamorous, about clambering over spectator benches and navigating grass in stilettos. (And those who haven't been before, take note, it's a bit of a walk from one end of the grounds to the other). 

Flats (see Poppy Delevingne's white sneakers) and mid block heels are preferable. But if you prefer a high heel, then opt for a wedge espadrille with ankle ties. Your calves, lower back and balls of feet will thank you come 6pm. 

Dip a sartorial toe into the literal dressing pool

Lilah Parsons wore an off-shoulder navy and white dress by Monsoon for her Wimbledon outing.  Credit: Getty 

While literal dressing, a technique often called on by fashion-savvy royals, is not a method we're used to employing, Wimbledon offers up an opportunity to do so in a low-key and stylish way. We're not suggesting you resort to a pleated skirt and cable knit jumper (best leave dressing to a theme to the Duchess of Cambridge, who donned a cream knitted Alexander McQueen dress for the championships in 2012, that could have been a chic ballgirl outfit), but wearing white or blue is a stylish option.

Think folksy blouses and polished midi dresses, à la Lilah Parsons. And don't be afraid to incorporate colour and jazzy accessories. Both will help ensure you're not mistaken for a player. 

Employ a high/ low mix

Actress Vanessa Redgrave dressed down an ivory suit with flat brown sandals and a white tee.  Credit: WireImage 

While Wimbledon does call for a degree of effort to be made, unlike other pinnacles of the British summer event calendar, like say, Ascot, the absence of a stringent dress code means a smart/casual mix is preferable. Case in point is actress Vanessa Redgrave, who looked uber chic at the tennis last year in a cream suit, which she gave a casual spin via a white tee and flat sandals. 

In the interest of looking effortlessly polished, other combinations to try include a T-shirt paired with a statement skirt or a maxi dress and trainers. 

Be prepared

Emma Watson wearing a three piece white trouser suit by Ralph Lauren Collection with a matching hat Credit: WireImage

July it might be, but the unreliable British weather means that even if it's a scorcher of a day when you set off in the morning, the likelihood of you encountering a shower at some point, or at the very least, a bit of cloud cover, is high. So plan ahead and make sure you have a cover-up in tow that you won't be embarrassed to pull on should you get cold. Less pack-a-mac, more lightweight trench coat. 

Last year, Emma Watson donned a three-piece suit with a coordinating hat - a tad formal, but layers are key to dressing for temperamental British weather. 

Florals are always a lovely option

Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael chose a Ganni wrap style. Credit: Getty

However cliched, floral prints really do offer an answer for many a summer style dilemma, particularly  when it comes to dressing for events that require a considered yet practical outfit. And why we may well have reached peak floral maxi at this point, that needn't mean shunning flower motifs entirely, since there's an abundant supply of floral suits, separates and jumpsuits around, to satisfy every price point. If you feel like you've over worn classic bold or ditsy floral prints, opt for more abstract iterations instead.