If you’re heading to the races, you may be in a frenzy about what to wear…
Aside from the sartorial challenge of finding the perfect outfit, there’s also race day etiquette and the beauty side of things to contend with – how do you present your best possible self, and still keep it together after a long, hot day in the sun?
Fashion Quarterly editor Sally-Ann Mullin breaks down the day step-by-step, so you can look a million bucks (and hopefully earn the same amount in winnings, too)!
WHAT TO EXPECT
Be ready for a lively fun day out; champagne, punting, mingling and soaking in the luxe social atmosphere – especially if you’re able to make it into the Swisse Oasis with plush lounges and delicious canapes from Odettes Eatery. Remember, you’ll be in the sun all day so make sure you wear a good SPF, drink plenty of water in between the champagnes and wear a shoe that is elegant but also comfortable enough to stand in all day.
To me the pinnacle of tackiness is women at the races with sunburnt shoulders, boozy eyes and shoes in hand. I would suggest even if you find yourself bleeding from the ankle down: Keep your shoes on and you’ll keep your pride for another day.
If I had to choose one word to describe optimum race day style, it would be elegance. Forget the beaded shorts or strapless mini dress, the races is a time to dress like a lady. Embrace your inner Audrey Hepburn and take this opportunity to co-ordinate every element of your look. I have an unspoken rule in my head where I’ll co-ordinate three pieces of my racewear look; whether that be the shoe, the dress, the brooch or the hat – the link could be colour, tone or texture.
It’s okay to show some skin but I would choose your zone and stick to it. For example, even if you look like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Derby Day or Auckland Cup is not the time to have your legs, decolletage AND arms showing all in one sitting – save that for the beach. A box clutch is an elegant choice (if you can find one which converts to a shoulder bag for later, even better) and a sweet little coin purse in a must… to house all your winnings, of course.
Top tip: Derby Day has a classic black and white theme whereas Auckland Cup is more whimsical and colourful. Colours I hope to see on the racetrack this season here in Auckland are marigold, lilacs and I always love seeing women in blush tones.
Impeccable polish is essential to nailing a race day beauty look and while a tousled beach-waved lob flies for almost every other occasion, I would actually take this opportunity to try something slick. Whether that be low bun, retro wave or chignon, with the launch of so many dry bars in Auckland it shouldn’t be too hard to get the look.
No makeup-makeup will look out of place on the track, so opt for a look with both hair and makeup on fleek. A bold red matte lip is my ‘go to’ elevate my makeup look and don’t forget to layer on the SPF (either before your foundation, or if you can use a Swisse Natural Defence BB Cream or SPF Moisturiser, you’ll be well covered).
Make sure you pack your lipstick for touch ups during the day and if you can fit a facial mist inside your clutch (like the Swisse Deep Sea Hydrating Mist Toner), this can also be a great go-to for keeping you looking fresh after a long day in the sun.
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It also helps if you prep your skin in the lead-up to the event – use an exfoliating mask on your face and a body scrub to slough away dead skin cells the night before and lather yourself in moisturiser or body oil overnight so you wake up with soft, smooth skin. Use a soothing face mask (I love the Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Mask) to leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated.
The most fun yet feared element to one’s race wear ensemble is the headwear. The trick is to wear something you feel comfortable in and that complements the rest of your outfit.
If you’re feeling shy and want something chic and subtle, try a delicate metallic headpiece or hair adornment. Australian actress Jodi Gordon wore a thick duchesse satin pink ribbon in her hair this Melbourne Cup Week and it looked incredible.
*This article is brought to you by Swisse.