ROCKING ROYAL ASCOT- How to stand out for all the right reasons without spending a fortune
In recent years Royal Ascot has graced pages of our national press for all the wrong reasons. A drunken brawl here, a hideous fake tan there and that's not even mentioning the public displays of rather worse goings on, of which I am too British to mention.
Naturally, if you are reading this article you have already self-selected out of that bracket so we can move on. Most people are more than aware of the rules for each enclosure but if you need a refresher please see here. Essentially the key to successful Royal Ascot dressing comes down to five main areas of consideration: the hat, the makeup, the dress, the heels and the darn British weather, but looking chic doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here we share our top tips for a stylish and cost-effective Royal Ascot, taking each element in turn from the top down:
1) The Hat. Part 1. We always suggest to our clients to pick the hat first and find the dress to match. Because finding the perfect hat is a moment of magic and it is so much easier to find a dress. Don’t forget, off the shelf hats can be customised by a quick trip to somewhere like VV Rouleaux in Marylebone Lane which means you can add in colours to tie your outfit together. You don’t need to match from head to toe, in fact, we would advise against this. Picking out a secondary colour in your hat is an elegant and uncontrived option. Also don’t give into the pressure to always buy something new, take your lead from Kate Middleton at the Royal Wedding who pulled out her Alexander McQueen for its third Royal occasion. You can ask your favourite milliner to rework current pieces that you have in order to fit your style for this year. Or consider purchasing one off preloved couture pieces from a store like Timpanys.
1a) The Hat. Part 2. Once you have your beautiful creation - think carefully about how you will feel wearing it all day. Will it fare up in adverse weather? There are a few things you can do to help secure it - much like camping with your guide ropes. I would suggest adding both a comb for on top of the head and an elastic which goes under the hair. These can then be backed up by your trusty bobby pins. Might I also suggest a practice run if you are planning to do it yourself, there are few things more annoying than trying to affix a hat in a rush into hair that just won’t play ball.
2) The Makeup: It is always lovely to have your makeup done professionally for an all-day occasion but not always cost effective. A cheeky tip is to cleverly time the purchases of your new foundation / Christmas presents with events such as Royal Ascot. If you book into a makeup counter, for example, Charlotte Tilbury in Selfridges (ask for Jason - he’s a dream) it will cost you £30 which is then redeemable against any purchases you make. Failing that - YouTube has some excellent professional tutorials and just make sure that you use an excellent setting spray for all day perfection.
3) The Dress. The key is to avoid purchasing the same Self Portrait dress as 10% of the other women in attendance. If this is you and you are fed up of looking across and seeing other women with the same dress as you but also don’t have the budget to look anywhere other than the highstreet then consider buying out of season. One secret way to look amazing and not spend too much is to actually purchase preowned designer. For example, at Timpanys we sell beautiful shifts by Victoria Beckham and Roland Mouret which are the perfect pieces for such an occasion for a fraction of the original cost. Secondly, dress for your figure and choose a colour that flatters. If you feel beautiful in the dress you will feel comfortable and confident all day. Don’t forget to keep the photos of you wearing it as more often than not you might want to have the option of selling it in the future.
4) The Shoes. Consider Royal Ascot a marathon and not a sprint. I am not advocating a trainer here but just consider wearing in your shoes at another event before. Again there is no need to buy a new pair, in fact, it is preferable not to and unless you have a sole as strong as Victoria Beckham wear mid height heels. You also might want to opt for a thicker heel. Failing this, do purchase a pair of heel protectors they are only £6 for 3 pairs from ASOS and they’ll not only stop you sinking into the grass but also help prevent damage to your delicate heels preserving their value and reducing cobbler costs. We would also suggest you opt for a patent heel if you’re purchasing in advance as they are the most hardwearing and it will be sod's law that it will be raining.
5) The Weather: prepare for the worst. This means making sure that you have an elegant coat and matching umbrella. A coat is generally far chicer than a jacket unless you have a matching dress. However, sometimes, just sometimes, the sun will be shining. In this case, don’t forget a fabulous pair of sunglasses that complement your outfit style.
Failing all of the above advice just work backwards and consider how you would like to picture yourself leaving the event. In short, just make sure everything is chic and comfy enough that you are not leaving with both your hat and shoes in hand!
Written by Antonia Timpany and also published on Riddle Magazine