Weekend invitations to Highclere are followed by a flurry of emails confirming dress codes and what excitements the weekend will hold. Is it shooting, tennis, riding, a concert or some good country walks? Is it short or long for the ladies and how smart or not for the men? Warm wraps are always a good idea in case I have had a brainwave and decided we are having cocktails by a temple.
Occasionally, I lack precision; happily explaining to local friends it is not really smart: just laughter and fun. One girlfriend relayed those words to her husband. He therefore correctly arrived in casual shirt and coloured trousers. My husband “technically” was not smart as he was not wearing a tie but he was wearing his smoking jacket as were the other, male, guests. I think there were the teensiest weensiest few “words in car” when husband and wife left Highclere. I thought he looked wonderful…
Some of our friends arrive with the most immaculate suitcases and dress bags. They tend to be the French or Italian friends, although the New York Murphys and Shugrues give them a run for it for suitcase and hand-luggage elegance. English friends tend to have packed a car with Wellington Boots amongst which smarter clothes are stuffed into the back.
Apart from high days and holidays, the dress code at Highclere could only be described as various. Paul the Chef does tend to ask John, our legendary Castle Manager, whether he turns on the lights when he gets dressed in the mornings due to his delightful range of coloured trousers and socks, sometimes complemented by quite bright shirts, which occasionally are then further highlighted by contrasting braces…
In the meantime, now that summer is here, some of the girls are providing competition
Whilst Tony, David and the Estate teams prefer the shorts look…
I can see you have had quite a bit of fun with wardrobes. I enjoyed reading this. Here in Kansas, U.S.A., the demands of wardrobe are miniscule. Jeans and a t-shirt for the most part. Even office workers are in very lightweight skirts and blouses. It’s very hot, in the high 90’s. Our recent rains, however, have driven me to purchase a pair of what you call Wellies. We just call them rubber boots and they are available to our farm and ranch store, mostly black, but lately in colors too. They were lifesavers, or feetsavers, in my garden not long ago. Loved all your pictures.
I think Wellies sounds nicer than Rubber boots !!!
The art of dressing seems to be lost! I love the idea of dressing to an occasion and have always appreciated knowing what a hostess is expecting in terms of apparel. My idea of dressing well is not just jeans and a white shirt…while there is a place for jeans it is not the office, the theatre or out for a nice meal…creative casual dressing is something to have fun with and enjoy. Your photos seem to capture that!
After spending a month in England this spring, I came back to Atlanta, GA wanting my own pair of “Wellies”. I felt rather out of place on my evening walks around our cottage without a dog and Wellies! I love reading your blog as I loved visiting your home while I was there. I enjoy the fun you have with the staff and the pictures show your fondness for them. Thank you for sharing with us!
In a world that is now in mourning for Orlando, let’s hope we, as sentient beings, can move away from shallow distractions such as dress codes and “smart luggage”.
Such things may make for casual interest, but in the realm of reality……..really?
I wonder that you took the time to reply if you believe it so shallow. The Countess is merely relaying bits of life as she encounters them. You are under no obligation to read them. I find your comment as inappropriate as you seem to find the blog post. Yes, Orlando and many other tragedies are upon us and they are truly sad and worth our attention. But, that’s one reason I find the Countess’ blog refreshing — it’s a break from the seemingly constant evils surrounding us.
May I just say this, having lived in Orlando and having friends in the club that night it was very sad..surreal really. I now live next to Sandy Hook and had my first grade daughter in lockdown that day. All those things are terrible, this isn’t the blog or Lady to take your anger out on. Some of the days, after I would begrudgingly drop my child off at school, I would come home and escape into the fantasy that is Downton. Some people choose to be angry. You need to stop hiding behind your computer and judging what is right and acceptable to talk about. This isn’t the place for it. Since you won’t, I will apologize for you. I am so sorry she took something meant to uplift and make us daydream and turn into something bad, it’s not.
What lovely photos of you and your husband!
Not really fair against the knobbly knees contest!!
The photos of you and your husband are truly are lovely. The photos of the “dress code” examples are hilarious! Not very Downton Abbey-esque but certainly more 2016-ish. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
It is both Downton Abbey and the Real Downton!!!
It is summer in Houston, and Liberty TX. The humidity makes frequent wardrobe changes a must. Too hot for tights in church and too wet for sandals. Even if the rain stops, we will have standing water in parking lots and sidewalks for weeks to come. Right now, umbrellas are the fashion statement. The bigger the better! If only I could find the clear bubble one like HM uses. You know, so you can be seen even while being rained on. Thank you for the photos!
We have sold lots of rain hats here – jolly useful as it has rained so much and even this past weekend has kept threatening so to do…
Loved this blog! Especially loved the jeans pushed up above the knees to imitate shorts. When I came home from my stint in Scotland, I was forced, due to lack of space, to leave my lovely daffodil Wellies behind, and I miss them every time it rains. My plaid Clark’s Wellies that I bought in D. C. just don’t do the same for my spirits. Have a delightful summer.
David who is the electrician was wearing trousers… he had no choice and Hannah in the yellow trousers rolled the trousers up!
You are just having way too much fun there at Highclere!! I think I’m jealous! (Not really – having fun and enjoying life each and every day is about the most important think you can do for your health! Keep it up and thank you for keeping all of us in the “loop!”
Wow! You do have a variety of fashion taste! I was so worried my casual American clothes would be an eyesore against the elegant background of Highclere Castle. I think I would feel right at home.
Thanks for your blog. I’m always left chuckling.
Great photos on the coloured ID Parade Lady C hee hee 🙂
Where were your shorts Paul?
Thank you for the post about how to dress. As an expat I would never go anywhere in Europe without at least three cashmere sweaters ( I wear them all at the same time, and with jeans and/or a long black velvet skirt and a pair of more formal shoes they will take you anywhere ! ) When in England, Wellies, Wellies, Wellies. I have managed to get some excellent Wellington boots here in the USA. They are good against snakes and all the rain we have had in Texas recently. Thanks for your blog. It keeps me in touch with home .
We do have so many laughs here…
Oh what a cute post! (Oooh, man legs! *fans self*) You are SO lovely, and handsome Lord Carnarvon’s photo looks like a painting. I love the colorful taste of the gentlemen! I wish more men would embrace colors here, versus the typical beige khakis that are prevalent. It shows a sense of humor, whimsy, and confidence, I think. I’m glad the outdoor workers can dress comfortably. I’ve just started watching the last season of DA on Amazon Prime, by the way, making me fall in love with Highclere all over again!
Glad you are falling in love – again – the joiners etc are a great team.
I’m glad you mentioned dress codes — my friend and I have been debating what to wear during our visit in August, which will include the afternoon tea. She’s planning on a dress and pretty hat, but I said that with all the walking around the castle and gardens we’ll probably do, nice-but-comfy slacks and top, and practical shoes, would probably be okay. Are there any rules your run-of-the-mill day tourist should follow?
My wife and I visited last year and had a wonderful time. Afternoon tea was delightful in the grounds as we were lucky enough to have a patch of sunshine!
I’d suggest dressing according to the weather if you intend to explore the glorious grounds and gardens.
As it’s pretty much tourist walking around in the peak season some come rather ‘dressed down’ and others smart. We went for smart, comfortable, casual and had a great day.
Enjoy your visit. All the best Robert.
You can easily wear a pretty dress with flat plimsolls..
I love the photo’s of you and Lord Carnarvon, then to scroll down and see the wonderful array of coloured trousers, and finally all the lovely knobbly knees, hope you all have a wonderful summer, hopefully the sun will soon be back.
Look at all those wonderful knees! Love it!!
Your husband looks quite dashing, and you look wonderful in the simplest of black. But I know what you are saying about ‘color’, and there is something to be said for the everyday relaxation of “all things bright and beautiful”!!
I think the knees are great…
To Robert Langford — Thanks for the good advice. Smart/comfortable/casual it is! — Carol P
Okay, I admit, I had to use google to find out what plimsolls are. I have heard them called keds or slip-ons. Those that know what Keds are willknow that I am showing my age, lol.
I love reading your blogs and have loved the photos, man knees how awesome! I have to say that the in the ladies photo the pink outfit is my favorite.
Have a great day!
We call shorts “Passion Killers”
Another interesting blog.
Plimsolls learned something new again. I do know about Welles from watching Last of the Summer Wine! You and your husband look very smart. And for the shorts and knees photo, you made your readers laugh. We never know if we are going to have a history lesson or something to laugh about. Thank you for creating such a lovely blog.
The official dress code at the Moondance International Film Festival, in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, is “Anything goes!”. Attendees & audiences, from around the world & locals often surprise me with what they choose to wear, and even with a fabulous floor-length designer gowns & flashy tuxedos from the 1940’s at the gala awards ceremony & reception, pretending it’s Oscar Night at the Moondance. The same people who were in jeans & Moondance T-shirts, plus the ubiquitous red or purple Crocs, just a few hours earlier…
BTW, here’s a quiz I posted on the Moondance blog some time ago: Which Downton Abbey character are YOU?
Keds? tennis shoes..now called “trainers”…here they are called “sportex”…good comfy shoes for doing the beautiful gardens and grounds around Highclere. I went with my Burberry tench coat and boots on a grey day in April, what a grand visit it was! There was a young couple in our group who came dressed in vintage 1920’s outfits. Lovely! I so like seeing Lady C. and husband in fine attire! Formal dinners must be so elegant at Highclere Castle. (but the knee-knockers and vibrant colors made my day! ha!)
Is that your husband???!!!
It is – if you mean the chap in White Tie plus he is one of the “coloured trousers”…
Aww,, you look so lovely in your photo and your husband so dapper!
I’m laughing at the assorted pant legs and bright colors.
I dread putting on shorts for the Summer because my legs are glisteningly white, you can’t look at them without sunglasses on!
It’s average 90 * here daily though, so shorts and sunglasses are required dress code.
Sadly we do not need sunglasses enough – the shorts are often worn in winter.
Hahaha! What fun!. Doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s always the company that is best! Lovely photo by the way of both yourself and your husband.
What an array of styles and colors; you, quietly elegant in black and ready to step on stage with Celtic Woman, your husband, ready to receive royalty, flashy gals and guys. And then there is the picture of the crew in shorts (sort of). I’m still thinking about how to respond to that one.
I want to live there! Lol
I think there is nothing more sexy than a man in white tie and tails! ala Lord Canarvon, Lord Grantham or Matthew Crawley. However, the knees in that last photo run a close second!! LOL!! 😀
You are the coolest “Lady” – what fun!!
P.S. You can’t beat the Brits for being snappy trend setters !!
You look beautiful.
Thanks for sharing! You both look quite wonderful! The last time my husband wore a tux was to a Marine Ball. I wish we had an excuse to do that more often. Even our lovely granddaughters’ wedding only brought out a nice Sunday suit, but he did look good, and so did our son and his wife. I loved the colorful casual clothes, too. I am a retired Art teacher, so it is second nature to love that ! It is fun to hear about your daily life. 🙂
Dress code is an interesting topic for me. Quite a few years ago, I got tired of all of the shorts, denims, t-shirts, and worse. There was a judge somewhere in the U.S. who put a sign up in his court requesting that people not wear pajamas to court! When interviewed, he said that he knew he couldn’t enforce that. I’m rebelling against ultra casual. Recently, I wore a cotton knit dress, glass beads, and sandals to a christening, and felt overdressed. I think casual has gone too far, and I will continue to “overdress”!
I have just finished reading your book, ‘Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey’. It is a fascinating insight into Highclere’s history, as interesting as any of the plots in Downton Abbey, if not more so.
My girlfriend and I visited Highclere for the Valentine’s Day event in February this year and very much enjoyed ourselves – and the champagne. It was a pleasure to meet you and the Earl in person, and I maintain that you are wrong about there being only one painting of Charles I in the Castle. I definitely saw a second!
I love the contrasts for formality and whimsical British causal dress. You must have a great relationship with your staff.
I know that when we visited your elegant home on Oct. 19th 2015 that both the staff in the gift shop, and the gardeners
that my friend and I chatted with after our tour and our on our own rambling of the lovely grounds, all spoke so
affectionately of you.
Important question: Did any staff member ever find the earrings I left for you in car of
Amy?? To help you. There were in a small white organza bag about 1.5 x 3 inches with my business card:
Shirley Ann Sloop
Fine Bead Jewelry Placitas, NM design: sterling silver with geometric black, terra-cotta & white detail on bead.
I love these outfits! And the castle! How fun! Someday I hope to get over to that side of the “pond.” It looks like a beautiful country.
I remember the pains of having dress codes in England. Here in Texas when it is well into the 100’s less is not more… it is far too much. If anyone comes to Texas get a pair of J. Crew jeans or Levi’s , some flip flops and a Tshirt from Neiman’s or The Gap. leave the pale shoes at home (Princess Di found that out the hard way).but make sure you wear VERY LARGE diamonds all the time ! When in England or Europe I
wear 3 cashmere sweaters at the same time and a coat if I can get away with it !I use my Wellington boots here against snakes. Don’t forget “Denim and Diamonds” are always chic in Texas !