I went to uni in a famous racing town. Any guesses? That would be Epsom, of course. Every year on the first saturday in June we would all march up to the Epsom Downs laden with booze, food and enthusiasm for the day of carnage ahead. Sure, racing came into it and we all placed a few bets on the horses. Derby was a memorable and customary part of my uni days. I look back on the hangovers and sunburn with fond memories.
I graduated 2 years ago now and every year the races come around again, but this is the first year I am attending as a “Lady” rather than a mere commoner in amongst the rabble of drunk students, locals and gypsies.
A group of my university peers, all “Ladies”, are attending Ladies day on June 6th. Our approach to this event could not be more different from years past; gone are the cut off Levis and creepers, instead we are all talking about where to get our hats from and stressing about matching shoes. As fashion grads we are far from the average race goer. We don’t work in corporate environments or pull in massive salaries and have no experience picking out hats, or horses for that matter.
Like me and my friends you might be in your mid-20’s and think a day at the races could be a fun summer jaunt. I wanted to write this guide to ease the stress of putting together your Racing Day Look because you needn’t look like a stuffy bore, nor do you need the matching shoes, dress and bag either and guess what neon nails can work for you! Here is my Throughly Modern Girls Guide to a day at the races.
A day at the races is not the cheapest affair. My advice would be get together a group of people who are “deffo in” and then do a group booking on a responsible persons credit card, you can save quite a bit of money that way. Also early bird tickets are always cheaper, get organised!
Your overall Racing Day Look should not say/do/involve any of the following:
Breasts bulging from their push up bra, low neckline and high hem line AT THE SAME TIME, anything from; M&S, Primark, LK Bennet or Next, matching errrything (unless you are colour blocking, this is fine), looks that say :”I’m at a wedding with my parents”, “Hi, I’m 12”, “Hi, I’m 54”, “I had a spray tan and then didn’t shower afterwards” (aka orange), extensions on show, a wobbly strut (cant walk in them, don’t wear them), A skirt suit, flesh coloured tights.
My Top 5 Dress Picks
Left to rights: Franki Sleeveless Shift Dress by Whistles, £115, Candice Print Dress by Alice & Olivia at Girl Meets Dress, £49 Hire, Silk Cotton Printed Dress by COS, £69, Cut Away Silk Dress by COS, £80, Dress with Bell Sleeves by Zara, £39.99.
To Hat Or Not To Hat
HAT, definitely do a hat. Even if it is a lace or net veil, when else do you get the opportunity to dabble in the fashion freak show that the races become! And the best part, there are no rules! Don’t listen to your mother and repeat after me: Thou shall not strive for a matching hat and dress, thou shalt be as experimental and flamboyant as thou bank balance shall allow.
If you have a bit of cash to flash then I would recommend checking out hat designer, Piers Atkinson.
Ebay is full of great hat finds and for a pretty good price too. There are a good selection of vintage hats. Use these words to help narrow your search: vintage, pill box, retro, burlesque, fascinator, wedding hat.
ASOS also has a great selection of hats at really good prices. See my picks below.
YOU MUST WEAR HEELS. Not only will it pull the outfit together and enhance your chic-ness, but it will help when you are craning over heads to see wether your horse came in first. Don’t be the idiot who wears the 7 inch stiletto/platform combo. Don’t discount flatforms or chunkier heels with a bit of weight in them either. They are super on-trend and will work well with anything from Whistles. There are plenty of stylish and comfortable shoes that will take you from dusk til dawn.
My Top 5 Shoe Picks
Left to right: Pink Pointed High heel Court Shoe (so MiuMiu) by Zara, £29.99, Silver Sandal with Diamante Heel by Zara, £49.99, Limited White Leather Multi Chunky Strap Cleated Sole Platform Sandals(as seen on ELLE) by New Look, £39.99, Great2 Satin Prom Shoes by Topshop, £58, Limited Grey Prism Block Heel Pointed Court Shoes, New Look, £20
In Your Clutch Bag
When you have a day at the races you will need the following on hand:
- A roll of bills for betting
- A lipstick and concealer
- Compact powder
- Compeed Blister Pads
- Id – just incase
- A fully charged phone, these event get crowded.
Getting Home -Nightmare!
Pre book a taxi or have a friend/parent/reliable person pick you up. Taxis often cost double on racing days and the traffic is a nightmare. Extra buses are usually set up for these types of events so this is an option if you don’t mind a raucous, sunburnt and singing crowd. Just watch our for split cider on the dress, sweetie.