If you haven’t attended a prestigious horse race, you may be unfamiliar with one crazy fact: they basically double as fashion shows! OK, that’s a slight overstatement, there’s some truth to it at the prestigious events. Races like the Cheltenham Festival in the U.K., the Kentucky Derby in the U.S., and the Melbourne Cup in Australia cater to all kinds of interesting fashion displays, as spectators embrace the atmosphere and show off their hottest styles. But of course, horse racing fashion goes beyond personal taste; there’s also a sort of uniform to it all. Here’s a bit on why that makes these events so much fun for fashion lovers.
Oversized Hats Are Always Fun
Fashionable ladies tend to love dressing up in extravagant, oversized hats, and these are the most important features in any race day outfit! Look through fashion photos from any major horse racing event and you’ll find lineups of ladies in big, bold, thoroughly decked out hats of all shapes and colors. Time’s slideshow of hats from the 2013 Kentucky Derby provides a nice snapshot of the sheer variety involved in this trend, and it can certainly get you excited about expressing yourself through your own race day hat.
No Shoes Are Wrong For The Event
Well, at least within reason. If you show up to a horse race in white athletic shoes, you’ll be taking things a bit too far. But look through photos from past races and you’ll see a wonderful variety in footwear: heels, boots, flats, platforms, etc. Because attire can generally lean toward formal, many assume that heels are necessary at races. The reality is that something both fashionable and comfortable seems to fit in. Here’s one particularly fun idea for race day fashion: go with booties, which were called the most comfortable shoes for a modern day woman on-the-go by Coming Up Roses blogger Erica Ligenza. You may recall that we we interviewed her last November.
It’s A Chance To Be Bold
Many fashionistas are comfortable displaying bold looks in every-day life. If you’re among them, I say more power to you! But regardless of anyone’s day-to-day fashion habits, horse racing events offer unique opportunities to dress up in bold, bright styles. We’ve already covered hats and footwear, and colorful sundresses are also quite popular when the weather is nice. But a lot of the fun comes in the form of accessories. The Elizabeth Lyons fashion site covered this concept by taking a look at bold wristwatches, ornaments for placement on hats, and even fashionable gloves—all of which can help one to stand out at horse races.
The Men Participate Too!
Too many stylish events focus solely on women, and it can occasionally make things feel somewhat pageant-like. In certain situations, this can take away from the fun, which is why it’s so enjoyable that men get involved too! Look through the style section of the site Fashion At The Races and you’ll find about as many tips for men’s suits as women’s outfits; and even close looks at horse trainers show that they get in on the action. A recent Betfair article preparing fans and bettors for the Cheltenham Festival (coming up in March) shows images of major trainers like Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls proudly displaying stylish fedoras while on the job. Between male spectators and trainers like these, it’s nice to see an event focused on fashion in which women aren’t the only ones participating!
All told, this makes for some of the most enjoyable atmospheres in fashion. Prestigious horse races remain, primarily, athletic competitions of the highest order. However, the emphasis on fashion among spectators, coupled with the festive nature of the contests, makes for a wonderful time for all.
Some images were provided by Google Creative Commons License.
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