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How to choose the perfect occasion wear with Hilary Haresign of Snooty Frox, Harrogate

How to choose the perfect occasion wear with Hilary Haresign of Snooty Frox, Harrogate

Written by Sarah Tippett

Currently in a state of wardrobe-induced panic because you don't know what to wear? Hilary has the answer...



When it comes to choosing occasion wear, be it as a guest at a wedding, as Mother of the Bride or for a day at the races, we all experience that momentary panic of 'what shall I wear?' This is often followed by more panic and the enquiry: 'what are you wearing?' to ALL of the other people you know attending the same event.


Luckily, Hilary Haresign, Owner of the luxury, occasion wear boutique, Snooty Frox in Harrogate, has some words of wisdom to help us on our sartorial way…



#1 What should you consider when looking for occasion wear?

'When looking for occasion wear, firstly look at colours. For weddings if you are a main guest find out if you have to work to a colour theme. The mother of the bride traditionally has first choice. If you are not colour restricted look at what colour works best with your skin tone. 


Secondly, dress code. For some events – races, black tie, award ceremonies, there may be dress codes so do check first before parting with your money. Our stylists are extremely talented at finding the right outfit to meet the dress code requirements.' 


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#2 How important is it to choose a suitable style for your shape?

'Oh, it’s really important. You need to highlight your best features and our stylists can help you find the right outfit to do just this. At Snooty Frox our stylists can help you select a style to fit your body shape for both day wear and evening wear taking into account, of course, personal preference. We currently stock a fabulous quirky range called Mashiah which works for lots of shapes and is a real favourite with our customers.


Dresses with sleeves are also high on our ladies’ wishlists and we have plenty with sleeves to show them. This season the 1950’s style full skirt is popular (see our Ian Stuart collection) and great for pear shaped ladies.  With over 50 designer ranges there is something for everyone.' 


#3 What colours and styles are on trend this year? 

'Think of sugared almonds, lots of soft colours. Floral prints are also popular – the Fely Campo collection is inspired by vibrant colour and floral prints. Lace as ever is a favourite – our handmade Olvi’s collection is one of our best selling brands with styles in both short and full lengths.' 



#4 What are your top tips for race day outfits?

'Don’t buy on the high street as you might find a lot of other people wearing the same outfit! Use independent boutiques that can provide you with something different. If you are wearing high heels we sell heel covers to protect you from ‘sinking’ into the grass. Make sure you have a pashmina or jacket for the cold days. I would go for a statement dress with a big hat!' 


#5 What do you need to consider when choosing a mother of the bride or groom outfit? 

'Remember it will be one of the best outfits you will ever buy, so make sure it is special and a little bit different! The hat needs to be comfortable as you will be in it all day. Buy an outfit that you can transform from day to evening – perhaps with a different jacket or top, accessories or shoes.


One of the most unusual products we sell is a pair of chiffon sleeves by Gina Bacconi. The sheer sleeves can be worn under a sleeveless dress to give a completely different look for the evening.' 


#6 What are your top tips for choosing a hat or fascinator?

'Make sure it doesn’t cover your eyes, wear it correctly and get it fitted – don’t wear anything that’s too big for you. At Snooty Frox we offer a hat fitting service to ensure the correct fit. There's nothing worse than feeling that your hat is either too loose or too tight. In addition we offer made to order millinery by Vivien Sheriff!' 




#7 Which is more popular of the two and why?

'To make a statement there is nothing like a large hat however they are not for everyone. A hatinator shows off the face more as it is worn on an angle and can still give the wow factor (large or medium sizes are available). Overall the hatinator is more popular. A fascinator is much smaller but is sometimes all that is required if the event is slightly more low key or the look required is simpler.' 


#8 How important is it to choose a colour that suits you?

'Very important, but you need to make sure you are happy with not just the colour but the whole outfit! Style is about self expression, if there is a colour you like, go with it and wear it with confidence.' 


#9 Accessories – do they always need to match? What styles are popular this year?

'You can do a pop of colour with your accessories, tonal colours are always nice, but if you want to pick out a strong colour then that works really well, it's always good to experiment. We have a wide range of accessories, millinery, jewellery and shoes to try with your outfit to get the top to toe look, so always try a few before you decide.' 


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#10 Do you have any other style tips?

'Stay true to your own style and wear something that reflects your personality, show skin strategically and always check out the rear view!' 


Discover more about Snooty Frox by clicking here


Main image (Gina Bacconisource

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