Statement dressing is back, as racecourses provide the opportunity for style-lovers of all ages to showcase themselves in their finest at the annual Best Dressed competitions.
It’s the perfect excuse to dress up, show off and maybe even bag yourself a highly desirable prize. No wonder race-goers (of both sexes) are champing at the bit to take part.
This week, it’s York’s Ebor Festival, starting today, where a designated Fashion Lawn will see ladies, gentlemen, couples and children parade in their bid to be recognised and crowned for their stylish choice of outfit.
The stakes are high – and well worth winning. On each day of the four days, Best Dressed Lady wins a £500 French Connection gift card and personal styling session; Runner-up Lady wins a £150 Outfit voucher and personal styling session; Best Dressed Hat winner gets a George Durdy creation; Best Dressed Gentleman wins an “Accessorise the Man Experience” by Cuffs & Co; Best Dressed Couple wins a Banyan Experience Package and a pair of Virgin Trains first class tickets; and Best Dressed Child gets a £20 Tesco voucher and a hamper. The Overall Best Dressed Racegoer at Thursday’s Ladies’ Day will win a break for two to the Marriott in Dubai, with a trip to the races at Meydan.
To enter, visit the Fashion Lawn on the day for registration, which starts from gates opening at 11am.But what are the judges looking for?
“It’s always great to see something a little bit different, for example, a jumpsuit or great tailoring,” says Hayley Mitchell of French Connection. “Accessories can really make an outfit. Although not essential, the races is the perfect excuse to wear a hat and we’re really looking forward to seeing some amazing headpieces this year.”
As for the men, Phil Pinder of Cuffs & Co, says: “We will be looking for pristine shirts with well-pointed collars. The look’s not casual so no button-down collars and certainly no short-sleeve shirts. A perfectly knotted tie and cufflinks will, of course, enhance any outfit.”
This year sees a new Ebor Fashion Lawn Style Guide 2017, with expert guidance from personal stylist Laura Fawcett and milliner George Durdy.
Here are their tips for standing out (for all the right reasons) on the Fashion Lawn.
Personality is everything, they say, so be bold and be yourself. “Clashing prints and accessories are a great way to stand out from the crowd and catch the judges’ eyes.
“Separates are increasingly popular as occasion wear, and another great way to create a truly unique look by combining some of your favourite pieces. Try a statement A-line skirt with a simple top for understated glamour.”
Think pink, from subtle rose to electric berry, while floral prints make experimenting with clashing accessories and hats easy.
Jumpsuits have been given the seal of approval by Royal Ascot, so should definitely be considered. Keep accessories simple to let a statement style take centre stage. Block heels mean you can combine comfort and fashion, and a hat will make you feel special and finished. “Don’t worry about matching your hat to your shoes and handbag; instead try a contrasting pop of colour for a chic and edgy look.”
For the men, racing offers a rare occasion to dress to impress, so take your look further than a traditional suit and fedora and try trends such as checked suits or double-breasted jackets, and mix it up with vintage accessories. A check jacket, matching trousers, white shirt and tie plus timeless tan brogues gives a twist to a classic look.
So, consider yourself warned and primed, get yourself armed in your finest – and good luck.