Q: I’m going to Ladies Day at the races and I really want to wear a hat. I’m really worried that I’ll look ridiculous, please help! I’ve already chosen my dress – a beautiful scarlet wrap dress.
A: Once upon a time, hats used to be the icing on an outfits cake. Hats command respect for the wearer and look innately elegant.
The secret is not to be scared of a hat. The average woman will probably buy only two or three hats in her life time, so we need to make sure you choose the right one. You need to find a shape that suits you and enhances your features. This is achieved literally by trying on numerous styles and sizes. I would suggest going shopping with a very honest friend and by going to a shop or boutique which specialises purely in hats and head pieces. The staff will truly know their stuff where making your head look amazing is concerned! And of course take your dress with you so you can try them together and get the right colour to set off your scarlet dress.
Make sure that the hat is truly spectacular, if you are only going to wear it a few times, we need to make sure you do it well. It should be an investment that lasts you for life.
If you are still feeling uncomfortable (as most women do) at the thought adorning a rather large object on your head then fear not! There are other options available to you.
Fascinators, head bands and clips are now available literally everywhere. Women have cottoned on to the ease with which these hair accessories can be assembled, and the high street have responded. Flowers and feathers are put together to create fun, glamorous, affordable and above all, easy to wear head pieces.
Just a little tip to bear in mind is if you have a small face keep the flowers or feathers as close to it as possible. Anything placed towards the back or on top of the head will look precarious and as though it has just been stuck on.
The most important thing to remember is that you are NOT going to look ridiculous! Wearing a hat is simply out of your comfort zone. Ladies Day at the races is a fantastic opportunity to get dressed up and make that scarlet wrap dress look AMAZING! You are certainly not going to be alone in wearing a hat, have the confidence to do so. Hats are a bit of fabulous fun and will make you stand out from the crowd.
Q: All my friends look fantastic when we go to the races – they pull out all the stops. This year I’m determined to look just as good but I have a much smaller budget to play with. My outfit will have to see me through any formal events throughout the season.
A: I would suggest that you opt for a simple shift or wrap dress and then change the accessories to give you the different looks that you desire. The secret is to have a blank canvas we can play with and change the look so you get a few different outfits from one dress.
An idea would be to choose one block colour such as bright Royal Blue, on-trend for the season but in a simple classical style that will not date. As for the style go with what suits your body shape, if you’ve got curves then show them off by accentuating them with a wrap dress, this wrap style is also great if you have a bit of a tummy. A shift dress is a classical great that gives structure and a waist. Just beware of the neck-line. If you have a big bust then always choose a dress with a low V, scoop or sweetheart neck line. If you haven’t got a bust and are very straight up and down then make sure the dress you choose gives you shape and interest, such as structured shoulders, puff sleeves, frills or peplum skirt detail.
First of all we need to cover the races, make you look just as good as your friends, if not better! An idea would be to take the colour trend and team your Royal Blue dress with some peacock coloured accessories. Turquoise, Teal, Purple, Gold and Emerald Green hues will all look amazing with this Royal Blue background. Find a hat or a fascinator that includes the peacock feather then pick a colour such as the Teal or Purple for the shoes and clutch bag. This will pull the outfit together and make you look individual, chic and stylish. Make sure you save some of your budget for a little pampering beforehand. Having your hair and nails done will make you feel special and finished.
To completely change the look of the dress for another event we need to change the accessories. The reason I chose royal blue is because it is so versatile, another colour that looks fabulous alongside it is Black patent. Team the dress with black patent shoes, bag and even a belt. If you don’t feel comfortable in a waist belt then opt for a little cropped black jacket to break up the block colour. If it’s a little nippy outside, black opaque tights will look super and disguise any veiny legs!
Another way to update the dress and change the look is with the use of jewellery. Statement earrings can look fabulous, pin up your hair and make the look very chic and sophisticated. Avoid a necklace as this would add too much detail to the top half of your body. Instead opt for a few bangles to dress the wrist, a pashmina and some beautiful jewelled shoes to balance out the decoration.