BY RACING STYLIST SARAH KATE BYRNE
Ladies Ladies Evening returns to Fontwell Racecourse on Thursday 18th August 2022. Enjoy a fantastic day full of glamour, racing, delicious food and drink.
This is the one day of the season when fashion is as important as racing, stylish outfits and beautiful headwear are sure to be in abundance. Thousands of racegoers will put their best shoes forward to impress the judges of the popular Style Awards, which is open to all, with the winning outfit taking home a huge £500 cash prize!
For those who'd like to enter this year's Style Competition, make sure you head to the flower wall when you arrive to have your picture taken. There will also be a spotter in the crowd looking out for any particularly stunning outfits as well.
For those attending the Fontwell Racecourse and especially Ladies Evening, we asked Sarah Kate Byrne, stylist to ITV Racing’s Francesca Cumani for her tips on how to dress to impress this summer.
Sarah Kate Byrne
The Summer of 2022 is shaping up to be a corker with so many events coming back with a bang. And not a minute too soon. I, for one, cannot wait to see happy crowds enjoying all that a British Summer offers but especially so will be the filling of grandstands of some of England’s oldest racecourses. A day at the races offers a magical combination of glamour, sport and quintessential English fun.
With so many frustrated attempts at donning the glad-rags behind us, this year is the year to plan your outfit and make sure you look as good as summer 2022 feels! Each of the Ladies Day or Evening fixtures across Arena Racing’s jam-packed calendar has a unique backdrop and local style with some brilliant live music sessions.
As stylist to ITV Racing’s Francesca Cumani since 2017 I have put together hundreds of outfits for her to wear that lend themselves to each unique racecourse. The weather and comfort, time and time again, are the two key factors to bear in mind. Thereafter, elegance and a shunning of trends in favour of individuality are paramount. And of course, with everyone from big fashion houses to high street brands all finally jumping on the sustainable fashion bandwagon (a drum I have been beating since day one) we can all look for ways to reduce our spend as well as doing our bit for the planet.
So here are my tips to help you get excited about your outfit but also hopefully make it a little less daunting and easier on the wallet!
Reduce, reuse, recycle – First stop, your own wardrobe!
We all, men and women alike, have overstuffed closets and yet nothing to wear. Cast a fresh pair of eyes over what you have and I bet there is something magical in there awaiting another day in the sun. Some new accessories or a statement headband or hat will instantly elevate your look.
Sharing is caring – Organise a swapping evening with your friends
For the ladies it makes for an amazing opportunity to try new styles, experiment with colours and of course get the most honest of feedback from your gal pals. I get so much joy from lending my much loved pieces to pals and borrowing coveted pieces from their wardrobes in return. This is especially fun if you do want to ramp up the style stakes with a statement hat or fascinator without blowing your budget. For the chaps no doubt your gang of pals have fancy panama hats and pocket squares aplenty to share out.
Lacking inspiration? – look to Instagram for ideas
Sometimes it can be hard to come up with an outfit idea from scratch so look to your favourite fashionistas and try to emulate your favourite of their looks. It is definitely worth checking out the previous winners of Style Awards at your chosen racecourse if you have your eye on the prize as then you are sure to know what the judges will look for. More often than not you will already own a piece that has the same style and shape of a standout look so then it’s just a case of sourcing similar accessories.
For me, a winning look typically has a terrific hat or headpiece that sets it off and ensures you stand out from the crowd. This applies to both the chaps and the gals so, for the menfolk, you can’t beat a swish Panama hat or trilby. For the ladies, seek out a stylish headpiece to compliment your look and don’t be afraid to push the boat out though for me its statement hat or dress but not both. Choosing a hat can be daunting so check out hat rental agencies such as The Cotswold Hat Club, Lizzies Hats and The Hat Club, each offering a premium collection of millinery, all available to hire with their fabulous women owners lending style advice as part of the deal. The result - a little more cash for a flutter on the horses and no problem of where to stash a cumbersome hat box after your outing.
Rentals gone Mental –
Finally the concept of rental has latched on and I couldn’t be happier. Celebrities championed this at events such as London Fashion Week, normalising this sustainable concept and making it a viable way to dress to impress while maintaining your green credentials and managing the purse strings! The best of the platforms Hurr, My Wardrobe HQ and The Bag Butler who each offer daily/weekly loans of sought after pieces as well as wardrobe staples for a fraction of the cost of buying.
Prepare For All Weathers -
And I don’t mean the all-weather tracks! A winning look doesn’t have to be a prize winner. Rather it is one that lets you enjoy your raceday from heady start to exhausted, sun kissed finish. Never scrimp on footwear and opt for a stylish espadrille or block heel rather than a stiletto heel that will only leave you stuck in the grass. Same for the chaps as it is for the ladies - don’t wear a brand new pair of shoes without socks or blister plasters on hand as otherwise they will torture you. And don’t forget the unpredictability of the British weather - a smart jacket or shawl that compliments your look will make the difference between sunburnt or shivering!
So get your diaries out, plan a day with family or friends or a date with your partner and have lots to look forward to this summer. If you haven’t booked your ticket, what are you waiting for?!
For more details about the Fontwell Racecourse Ladies Evening and to buy tickets visit here