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What to wear to the races?

AUTUMN RACING CARNIVAL FASHION

The Autumn Racing Carnival is not only the hottest event in the social diary it is also the most fabulous fashion opportunity on the calendar. For fashionable fillies playing dress-ups starts at the age of five and never really ends – and there is no better place to play dress ups than at the race track. Getting ready for a day at the races is a chance to explore your personal style pulling together a glamorous look from head to toe. 

Racing fashion has its own distinctive style that focuses on finishing touches and attention to detail. The dress code is ‘lady like chic’. So where do you start when you are planning your trip to the track? There are several paths to follow when creating your race day look. Let your closet and sense of style guide you.

Search for a hat you love and create an outfit around it, take your favourite dress to a milliner and have a fabulous hat created just for you or start with your favourite shoes and be inspired. Co-ordination is key but don’t overdo it. There is no need to match everything in your outfit. Whatever you wear, make sure you dress for the weather. When you are planning your ensemble for the races always have a cold day option which works with your outfit. Goose bumps are not exactly an ideal fashion accessory.Although race day fashion borrows from current fashion trends they do not always translate successfully from the catwalk to the race track, so chose your look carefully.

There are several fashion themes which will work at the track this season starting with colour. From startling neon and shocking pink to delicate lilac and faded pastels have fun playing with clashing combinations of colour. Floral prints featuring peonies, roses, hydrangeas and bouquets of beautiful colours will make a stunning statement on the lawns trackside.The trench coat (a little bit military/a little bit safari) will keep you feeling warm and looking hot and is perfection over a classic shift dress. If you don’t want to cover up your fabulous dress opt for a cropped jacket. Wide belts and cinched in waists give a sophisticated edge. For a classic twist replace black and white with cream and navy.The race track is a fantastic hat opportunity so make sure you wear a fantastic hat! The opportunity to wear a hat or headpiece is the best part of getting ready for a day at the races and you are unlikely to be included on the best dressed list without one. A big hat makes a big statement but can make moving through the crowd awkward. A headpiece can be a head turning alternative. There is one major rule when it comes to head wear for the autumn carnival. Always wear a felt hat to the track during the autumn carnival – it is strictly a straw free zone.Finding the right handbag is an essential part of raceday preparation. Think like Goldilocks and find something not too big, not too small but just right. You don’t want to be lugging around major luggage all day but you will need to take along all of your race day essentials. Keep the checklist clean and simple; form guide, phone, beauty basics for a full midday makeover – and room for your winnings. To keep your bag as small as possible pack product testers rather than the real thing, they will do the trick but not take up precious space.Keep those heels high. It is a long day and champagne, staircases, grass and Jimmy Choo’s are not the best of combinations but for your trackside credibility you must push through the pain barrier and persevere with stunning shoes. A bad or thoughtless pair will let your entire outfit down.

And always remember it is daytime and you are going to the racetrack not the set of Baywatch or the Logies – so keep the cleavage and cocktail dresses for later.

Hot Tips

  • It’s a long way to the finishing post so pace yourself and re-hydrate yourself with water on a very regular basis.
  • Horses are not the only ones who need to be prepared for a day at the races. Always break in your shoes before you get the racetrack – if you are really serious take your track work outside and practice on the grass. The verdict from the style experts – don’t sacrifice style for comfort – always wear shoes of the show off variety – it worked for Dorothy and Cinderella.
  • Don’t go out the night before a big race day – you don’t want to be a late scratching.
  • Always eat a sensible meal before you head to the race track – you do not want to be fuelled only by champagne.
  • Air kissing is rife at the racetrack. If you would rather shake hands be quick about it and get your hand out before they commence leaning in.
  • Plan your exit strategy in advance. No amount of tapping your heels together Dorothy style is going to get you home.
  • Start your ‘tan’ a few days in advance it will give you time to fix up any mishaps and intensify the colour.
  • Check your make up at regular intervals to make sure you are looking all day gorgeous.
  • A clutch bag is no good for the race track. It is impossible to hold a champagne glass, study a form guide and clutch onto a bag at the same time.
  • Looking fantastic at the race track doesn’t have to break the bank. Become a shopportunist and invest in quality items that you will be wearing beyond the autumn carnival or re-energise your favourite dress with updated accessories. Find some fashionable friends and timeshare your hats.
  • Whatever you wear make sure you dress for the weather. Goosebumps are not an ideal fashion accessory. When you are planning your outfit make sure you have a warmer/cooler option. Cloak your coat when the sun is out.
  • Take a form guide to the race track. You will find a form guide in the newspaper (take a peek at your horoscope while you are at it). The form guide unlocks the secrets to finding a winner. It lists all the important information about each horse – age, breeding, past performances, vital statistics and earnings (if only finding a boyfriend was this easy!)
  • Always remember the gamblers motto – you gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. One the races finish resist the temptation to start betting on the dishlickers or the chariots. Hide some money in your back pocket as an emergency fund to make sure you don’t get stranded at the track.
  • Don’t be a fashion jinx. Superstitious types believe it is unlucky to wear green to the track.
  • Head down to the mounting yard and try to pick out a good looking horse before the race. Keep your eye out for a relaxed horse with a spring in its step. Also look for large nostrils (while to be avoided in a potential suitor, they are sought after in a race horse).
  • It is perfectly acceptable to exaggerate the amount you won on a race. But don’t go too far or you will end up having to shout the bar. 10% is a good rule of thumb.
  • Do not take your shoes off at the race track. EVER.
  • If you want to make friends at the track don’t ever attempt to collect a winning ticket just as a race is about to jump. If the people in the line behind you miss out on getting their bet on – big trouble!
  • To boost your trackside popularity be armed with a tip in case people ask. One word of advice – make it for a horse in the last race of the day to get maximum mileage.All fashion tips courtesy of Katie Davenport
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