Debrett's Style Tips: Glyndebourne Festival

Debrett's style experts talk us through the do's and dont's of dressing for the annual Glyndebourne festival of opera
What is your partnership with Bicester Village and why does it work so well?
Debrett's has partnered with Bicester Village to create the ultimate Guide To British Style, a beautiful pocket guide to traditional and modern British fashion, including Season dress codes. Both Debrett's and Bicester champion British style; Bicester through its store brands and Debrett's through its expertise on etiquette and formal events – and both have an international customer base, so it's a perfect marriage.

What is the 'Guide To British Style'?
The guide tells the story of British style and uncovers the surprising origins of some of our most cherished and iconic items of clothing. Deciphering dress codes and exploring Season events – from Glyndebourne to Glastonbury – it reveals that heritage, tradition and craft remain central to the British notion of style – qualities which Debrett's has been pleased to champion throughout its nearly 250-year history.

Why would you advise Lady readers to visit Bicester Village when looking for an outfit for Glyndebourne?
Bicester Village is located just 46 minutes by train from London Marylebone direct to Bicester Village Station. This luxury destination is home to more than 130 boutiques of world-famous brands, each offering exceptional value with savings of up to 60% on the recommended retail price. Together with a selection of restaurants and cafés, including Le Pain Quotidien and farmshop restaurant & cafe by Soho House & Co, the Village offers a suite of services that include valet parking, hands-free shopping, and an onsite tax refund and currency exchange service.

Is it compulsory to wear formal dress to Glyndebourne, and what are the recommendations for men and women?
The Glyndebourne Opera Festival founder, John Christie, felt formal dress demonstrated respect to the performers and for this reason formal evening dress is a requirement. Traditionally, this suggests black tie for men and women but white dinner jackets, tartan trews and kilts have all been seen as variations to the classic black.

What kind of statement should a Glyndebourne visitor seek to make? Is this a time for subtlety or high drama?
In honour of both the performers and the beautiful backdrop, making an effort is encouraged at Glyndebourne, although one must make sure to avoid any headwear which obstructs the view of the audience. Picnickers should also look for something relaxed and comfortable, whilst of course factoring in the British weather.

What type of shoes are appropriate for men and women?
The perils of sinking through the grass when picnicking mean that flats or wedges would be the most appropriate for women, whilst polished or patent black lace-ups are customary for men in black tie.

Is the modern trouser suit a good option for women?
Absolutely, but it's important to consider when choosing a matching jacket or blazer to try and select pieces that aren't too reminiscent of office wear.

Given the perils of the British weather, how can visitors combine style with practicality?
A large umbrella will keep off any rain and may be a more stylish alternative to head-to-toe waterproofs. Wearing a coat or shawl will also ensure that you stay warm should you chose to picnic outside.

What jewellery is appropriate for the occasion?
Both fine or costume jewellery can be worn with formal evening wear.

See more on Bicester Village & Debrett's 'Guide To British Style'