It’s here – the racing season and all the bubbles and sparkle it brings. This is probably the one time of year that we give ourselves the runway to really dress up. And, while the big New Zealand race days are just around the corner, here are some final things to consider before getting out of bed for Cup Week.

1. Behold the Boater

This is the hottest hat style for summer. Boaters work particularly well with floral and feminine dresses, but work equally well with quirky tailoring. Opt for a high-quality hand- made boater in straw like these beautiful Sarah J Curtis hand-made hats from Panama.

Sarah J Curtis Nude Boater

 Sarah J Curtis Black Boater

2. Be brave, but not ridiculous

There is a fine line between looking pulled together and appearing like a circus act. Choose one strong focal point for your outfit and play down the rest. This is the mistake that many 'Fashion in the Fields' entrants make – overdoing the finishing touches to the point of Pleasantville. Is it your hat or outfit that is to be the key feature? Choose one; it doesn’t need to be both.

3. Buy shoes that will last the distance

On any given race day, you will spend most of the time standing. And if you are in the grassed carpark area, this means no to stilettos or anything with too much height. Instead focus on a block heel with cushioning in both the heel and sole.

Pictured above: Paula Ryan Leena Slingback in patent leather - Black

Pictured above: Paula Ryan Leena Slingback in patent leather - Indigo

Pictured above: Paula Ryan Leena Slingback in Patent leather - Natural

4. Dress for the weather

This is critical with our topsy-turvy New Zealand weather. Race days are famous for lousy weather, so ensure you think about a dress-coat option in case your beautiful dress doesn’t see the light of day.


Pictured above : Paula Ryan Soft Fall Jacket.

5 Don't feel the need to match your bag, hat AND shoes.

Picking two out of three is enough. Racewear can appear over-done and over-styled if it’s all too matchy matchy. Co-ordinating your hat and bag, or shoes and bag or hat and dress is enough to look polished.

 6. Make your fascinator purposeful, or not at all

Gone are the days of little bits of fluff attached to a headband. Fluffy fascinators are now being replaced by small graphic hats floating upon almost invisible headbands.

7. Drink water 

I know, I’m beginning to sound like my mother and my mother’s mother at that. But this is the trick to being the last woman standing ‘upright’ at the end of the day. A beautifully planned out t goes out the window if you are a disheveled mess, holding your shoes while hailing a taxi. Not to mention those press photographers will be waiting in the wings ready catch anything that falls in their wake!


Words: Bridget Hope, Wardrobe Director - Magpie Style

*First published in Metropol magazine, November 9, 2017