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What not to wear at the Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show is neither Ascot, nor a Cannes promenade, nor Milano fashion week.  It most resolutely does not have a dress code requiring a peony or rose print three-piece suit. Wear anything you like but three No-Nos will save you from silent disapproval and arched eyebrows.

Never wear perfume

If you are really not that interested in the delicate fragrance from the Chelsea Flower Show garden displays, at least do not impair your fellow visitors’ olfactory enjoyment with your favourite eau de parfum. A small investment in scent-free deodorant, moisturiser and shampoo will also be met with gratitude and relief.

Never wear broad-rimmed hats

Protect yourself from the sunshine by all means, but leave the Ascot and the oversized straw hat for another crowd. Visitors pay to see the gardens, and space is at a premium: your hat will interfere with their line of sight and take up more than your minimum footfall

Never wear fluorescent, razzle-dazzle or large print clothes

Not so much a question of dress sense, but perspective. Yet again, visitors are here to appreciate the foliage hues, the leaves’ different vibrations, the motion of the stems and the paintbrush effect of multiple, overlapping flowerheads. You are, by definition, always part of the background. Don’t let your sartorial choice get in the way of the garden rhythms and colours. Those in the know stroll unscented and unseen, in muted green. From sage to moss, any shade in between.

• The Chelsea Flower Show is on from 21-25 May – visit the website here