The easiest way to ensure that you are going to feel awkward at an event is to be inappropriately dressed. I’m sure everyone has at some point or another turned up to something and wished that they could slink quietly away because no one told them that micro shorts weren’t acceptable at a wedding… ok so that’s a slight exaggeration, but most people have felt this way at some point. That’s the beauty of the Dress Code, you get provided with relatively simple guidelines on what to wear in order to appreciate and be respectful of the occasion.
Race day is an excellent example of this. The beginning of the racing season is always heralded by the huge influx of articles detailing how to prepare yourself, which can seem quite intimidating when you realize that some people plan their outfit’s months in advance! If you’re anything like me however, forward planning isn’t nearly as much fun as flying by the seat of your pants at the last minute. So I’d like to present;
Getting Race ready in 30 min or less.
Disclaimer: actual time may vary and I will not be held responsible for badly crooked eyeliner or broken ankles resulting from trying to put on heels while running out the door.
Firstly, though it’s tempting, last minute glamour is not the appropriate setting to be trying out a new look. It seems a bit dull but stick to what you know. This means clothes that you already own and know look good, and not deluding yourself into thinking that you can attempt massive false lashes that look like butterfly wings, unless you are extraordinarily confident and can do them in less than 2 minutes, in which case I doubt you need to be reading this!
The quickest and safest option is to grab your go-to-dress for cocktail parties -hello little black number- then make it slightly more formal by going easy on your cleavage and wearing shoes that are high, but not ridiculous. The races after all are not Queen Street at 2am on a Saturday! Add a simple jacket (I’m all for a cropped blazer) or lightweight matching coat of you have one, and keep your colour palate simple. If you have a spare 30 seconds, take pity on your poor exposed legs and hands and whack on some moisturizer.
Next, tie your hair up and keep it simple. You don’t have time to be fussing with curls or elaborate hair styles, unless by some miracle your hair happened to already be done. Even a slicked back pony tail is perfectly acceptable, especially if you have a fabulous hat or fascinator ready at hand.
And speaking of which, if you are a last minute Diva like I am, owning a couple of fascinators is key to getting away with a lack of preparation. One in black and one in a colour you absolutely love. The trick here is to ensure that your fascinator doesn’t clash with your outfit, or look like you’ve tried to match the colours and failed. If it’s not the same shade or family of colour as your dress, stick with the black one. In contrast though, if your dress is black, wear whatever colour on your head you want, and go easy on the earrings; you don’t want your accessories fighting for attention.
Your make up should also be relatively simple and clean. Avoid heavy foundation which apart from the fact that it doesn’t do anyone’s skin any favors, will also be sliding off your face by the time you get to the after party. Eyeliner, mascara and a lovely bright lipstick are a great compliment to your hat or fascinator and avoid the temptation to wear anything highly glittery on your face; it’s the races not fancy dress. And speaking of makeup, if you’re running short of time, doing it in the car is a life saver. Just be sure that someone else is driving! If however you’re silly enough not to, at least have a gorgeous smile ready to flash at the nice policeman who pulls you over to lecture you about the dangers of driving distracted.
Last minute preparation is all about simplicity and elegance. You may not look as extravagant as the other peacocks, but at least you won’t feel like a pigeon.
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