Choosing an outfit for the races isn’t always easy, but it’s certainly part of the fun!
For those of us living in the southern hemisphere, spring is just around the corner and that means we have plenty of opportunities for outdoor occasion dressing ahead of us.
As the season turns, the racing industry slowly wakes up from its quieter winter days and all of a sudden seems to spring into action with a social calendar full of ‘must attend’ events such as the Livamol Classic in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand Cup Week in Christchurch and, of course, some of the world’s biggest parties which just so happen to be race days – the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup to name a few.
If just thinking about what to wear to the races brings on an unsightly sweat or increased heart rate, don’t panic! There’s plenty of help to be found within the pages of magazines, in Facebook groups and even right through to this guide on how you could translate SS16 fashion trends into racewear.
Luckily for would-be racegoers, the world’s catwalks have recently had an abundance of gorgeous hues, hem lengths and prints that translate perfectly into ‘race day appropriate’ fashion, ensuring that this year, you’ll be turning heads on course for all the right reasons.
Firstly, take a look at your current wardrobe and see if there’s anything there that you may have purchased for a wedding or party last season, but on second thoughts, decided not to wear for any number of reasons. You never know – when you look at it with a ‘raceday filter’ on, it may just fit the bill perfectly.
If, however, what’s staring out at you is either far too short, way too long, awkwardly in between or too ‘evening’ (a major race wear faux pas), it may be time to go hunting for an outfit specifically with the races in mind.
As a starter, if you’re planning on going racing in spring take a look at what floral options are out there. Going big and bold with colour will mean you’re instantly flaunting this seasonal print in a contemporary way.
Keep on-trend by selecting something that is midi length.
Mid-length hemlines are not only perfect for those events or areas on course where the dress code may be a little tighter than others, but are this season’s favourite length. The great news with this is that there are a plethora of designers & high street labels pumping this option into stores and online through websites that include ASOS, Yoox and Shopbop.
With regards to shape… if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all the options presented thus far, we think A-line is always flattering (HELLO little waist!) – so see if that helps narrow your search.
However if you’re feeling bold and are keen to delve further into this season’s trends, consider a bell sleeve or look for outfits in the pick of the SS16 colours which include burgundy, teal, lemon chiffon, indigo/navy and hues of pink including coral & salmon (bonus being we have headpieces to match or suit all).
While no southern hemisphere racecourse has the uber-strict dress code of the UK’s Royal Ascot; corporate boxes, committee rooms and other more traditional areas on course may still expect a more demurely-dressed racegoer. If you have been lucky enough to secure an invitation to such a place, do bear that in mind when considering sleeve and hem length.
Dressing with a little more ‘length’ may be a scary proposition if you’ve always liked to show a fair bit of skin, but there’s no need to think that longer lengths = frumpy!
When at the races, less is most definitely more and if you keep current trends in mind when selecting your outfit, you can rest assured that no one will mistake you for their grandparent.
Of course, if you’re simply planning on going to the races to catch up with friends, you’ve got a little more room to play with in the fashion stakes.
Let your inner SHOW PONY shine and incorporate some fun into your outfit by considering an on-point one or off-the-shoulder style, bold stripes or a SUBTLE hint of sheer panelling – all of which are hot-to-trot this year and, if carefully selected, can easily translate into appropriate racewear.
Now, finally… headpieces. These have been written into racing’s dress codes for aeons and should be seen as an essential element to at least any major race day outfit.
Too often you’ll see impeccably-dressed females on course who have spent hours putting their outfit together (and potentially spent a small fortune in the process), but not put the same dedication or thought into what is essentially their crowning piece.
While you might be able to recycle a relic from the wardrobe or purchase a chain-store fascinator that will suffice, don’t forget there are plenty of milliners out there who can use their expertise to create something that ties in perfectly with the look you’re going for. These days, many milliners produce such affordable designs that you can just wear something once and not feel bad if it never sees the light of day again.
And a hint for the wise? You may find it easier to select your dream hat or fascinator before you invest in the rest of your outfit. Find out why we think that here.
Love, hugs & haute couture
The SHOW PONY Millinery unicorns