Winter racing style is much more informal than summer racing and dress codes are minimal. So here are some simple tips:
This is fundamental to putting together your whole look. Think texture, colour and cut. It is your chance to invest in a statement coat that will be luxurious but practical. Velvets, tweeds and boucles are all good choices. You know the score with the British weather, so decide how you will adapt on the day if it is colder or warmer than expected. A coat that looks just as good worn open or buttoned up is a good choice, and a roomier style will allow you to wear more layers underneath (see my layering tips later!). Pictured: right Hobbs Esther Coat.
The autumn/winter colour palette this year is fabulous – dark
blues, greens, wines, mustards and lots of delicious shades of chocolate and
coffee abound. Stick to one or two tones rather than lots of contrasting
colours, and you will look more “put together” and elegant.
If you are going for separates, many styles this season are
reminiscent of the forties. No-one has quite equalled the mix of glamour and
practicality this era gave us, so it is a perfect choice. Think long-sleeved blouses
gathered into deep cuffs and below the knee skirts in warmer fabrics. Polo
necks can be a godsend; refined versions in practical, elegant fabrics like
merino wool can also be popped under a blouse or shirt dress.
If you want a bit of a shortcut to that “put together” look
then the dress is your friend. There are more around now there have been for a
long time, so it is easier than ever to find something that ticks all the right
One more tip to make sure you are not caught out by our
incredibly unpredictable weather. Don’t forget gloves. Nothing spoils a day outside like cold
hands. Choose a good quality leather pair in a colour that either tones in with
your coat or adds a splash of contrast. A faux fur scarf is also a great way of
topping off your outfit with a touch of old school glamour. By the way, this is
where you can add a little injection of animal print if it’s your thing,
without it looking too “over the top”.
Many winter race-goers swear by boots and they are a great choice; popular choices are knee-high styles with a low heel that will not sink into the turf, for example, Spanish riding boots or low western style heels. A block heeled ankle boot would also work with a longer length midi skirt or dress. If you prefer shoes, no problem – but again that heel needs to be practical (you could be on your feet for quite a while). Dark colours and practical materials are essential. This is not the time to rock your pale cream suede loafers.
If you are treating yourself to a special day at the races, do it like you mean it and set off your fabulous outfit with a hat! What’s more it will keep your head warm and stop your hair from whipping in your face if it is windy. A classic felt trilby or fedora is ideal. The royals often opt for a “smartie” or pill box style which is another elegant choice for more formal meetings. Feather trims are popular with the jumps racing crowd, but not obligatory.
Special thanks to Joanna Zara Millinery