Ascot was on shortly after we arrived in London. I love planning outfits for the races, the hats particularly, but we had no money when we arrived and not very much time so I had to settle with an existing outfit.
I decided to wear the 50s style dress I had worn to a summer wedding just before we left. Because I’d only recently worn the outfit I was hesitant to wear exactly the same combination again – boring. So I put some thought into how to make the outfit a little different and new without spending any money.
For the wedding I had matched the outfit with brown shoes and belt. They worked to take the outfit through to the evening as darker colours are less ‘daytime’. For the races however I could add an extra level of whimsy and light. I teamed the dress with a cream belt that had a silk flower on the side, and switched out the brown shoes for cream patent leather stilettos (carefully packing my cream lace flats into my bag).
I also swapped grey pearls for white to match the cream shoes and belt. A handbag was necessary (which hadn’t been the case for the wedding), and so I polished up an old orange Prada that actually matched the marigold colour of the cording and the flowers in the dress. If you can’t match your shoes to your bag – then your bag (or shoes) should be a deliberate contrast and work in with the rest of the outfit.
Finally I found a £10 fascinator in pale blue as my effort at a hat. I wasn’t happy with it. I have a thing for hats and would have loved to have the time and the money to put together something that really complimented the dress. But it did the job.
We had a great day. It was sunny, we saw the Queen, we had a flutter and won enough to keep us happy. The matching cape came to the rescue when the sun disappeared, and my flats came in handy walking for miles from the train station to the race course, back again and then standing on the train for an hour to get back into London.
This year however we’ve got tickets to a marquee at Ascot – and I think the full Royal Ascot dress code applies. It is still 5 months away but its time to start planning.