The Chic List: My party-season survival guide

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on her top tips for event dressing. 

Summer’s here – and with it all the season’s soirées. But it feels different this year – as if it’s on steroids.

As I write, JLo pops into my mind. What do the US singer and the English summer party season have in common? After finishing her brilliant Netflix documentary Halftime, I feel we need to borrow some of her mettle to survive the next couple of months of this intense social whirl. I’m ready, if you are, because we’re certainly making up for lost time.

At Royal Ascot, you could feel the pent-up energy and I’ve never seen so many fabulous hats and heels in a field.

Wearing my trusty white trouser suit from Alex Eagle to the opening gala of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show

Now it’s Wimbledon and, with a record-breaking number of summer weddings, barbecues, end-of-term picnics, delayed birthday and anniversary celebrations on the horizon, as well as regular nights out, there have never been more reasons to dress up. Here are my tips to survive with your wardrobe, feet and sanity intact!

  • Stop comparing – it’s a joy killer. We are all guilty of it. But if you go to all the effort to get dressed up, don’t waste a second comparing the way you look to anyone else. When you hear that nagging little voice creeping in – ‘oh, her dress and her hair look so much nicer…’ – acknowledge it, then banish it. Instead, concentrate on enjoying your time out. Life is too short.
  • As the saying goes: ‘Be yourself, because everyone else is ’ Always dress for a party in something that makes you feel a more glamorous version of yourself. Trying to dress like someone new will make you feel more awkward. Hit that dancefloor as fabulous you – not an imposter.
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes. I saw so many women at Ascot in agony. It might sound obvious but don’t turn a fun day or night out into torture. Spend time finding heels that look good and are walkable. There’s also no shame in packing a pair of flats for the trip from champagne tent to car park. Your feet will thank me later.
  • No clue what to wear? Here are some easy fixes. For an evening work do, I love a trouser suit or flowy trousers with a structured top. For a party with friends, you can’t beat a sexy dress or wide- legged jumpsuit. Cos, Me+Em, Hayley Menzies, Totême and Arlington 16 have good selections.
  • For a daytime event, check the weather before deciding between trousers or dress/skirt options. Once you’ve chosen, good accessories like statement earrings or a bright lip can be transforming.


Aspiga London not only has its own line of floaty sustainable dresses and tops but its dreamy collection by the brand Greek Archaic Kori (from £134) has caught my eye. They’re on my next holiday wish list


When is Netflix’s Blonde airing on TV? The much-talked-about Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (above) – with Brad Pitt as a producer – has been delayed, but sources say it’s going to hit our screens in September. Fingers crossed.


Smart, easy-to-wear shorts and shirt sets are the new must-have getaway gear. This cute cotton combo from Arket (top £45, shorts, £35, is proving popular.

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