There are certain events that spring up – pun very much intended – where I actually forget that I am no longer a sweet, young 20-year-old, who can go to a LONNNNGGGGGG lunch, maxi cab it with eight others to an after party via a bottle shop and have any hope of waking the next day in a state vaguely resembling good health.
It just doesn’t happen.
Well not to me.
But that does not stop me from preparing from such events with the excitement of a 20-year-old. There is definitely something about the prospect of frocking up and consuming way too many champagnes that gets my girlfriends and I in a lather.
The event was the annual Wishlist Spring Carnival Gala. I play a very small role on the committee but this event has become a firm fixture on the Queensland fundraising and social event calendar. We fill the room – 600 people – and every year raise in excess of $100,000 for health services in the Sunshine Coast region. We did it again on Friday, with Sunrise’s Mark Beretta and Natalie Barr flying in to host and help us raise more than $119,000 to to purchase a prostate biopsy ultrasound machine for the prostate cancer patients on the Sunshine Coast.
… back to the outfits. The theme is always spring racing … even though we are 40 minutes from the closest race track. In the weeks leading up to last Friday, there was much emailing between us about who was wearing what. Photos of hats, shoes and accessories were passed around and pieces swapped in an attempt to show our husbands that new outfits could actually be created without melting the credit card
There are a few key things to remember when creating spring racing outfits but the big, big thing I’d suggest … is that you start with the dress.
Take it from me … it’s very difficult to start with the hat and try and find a dress to match. You may be able pull off this trick but from experience it rarely works out.
So, my dress.
For me it started with a photo on the Sacha Drake website – a dress called Nellie from the Sacha Drake spring 2012 collection. You know I’ve long been a fan of this Queensland designer so I was stoked when my girlfriend Natalie, who owns Zambezee Boutique (Mooloolaba, Noosaville and online), was able to track it down for me.
Love anything with a slip underneath and this one with its beautiful electric blue lace on top had me feeling more ladylike like than I’m accustomed to feeling on a day-to-day basis. It scored bonus points for comfort too.
The dress comes with a tie, which I’ve actually tied at the back. The reason? I’m not good with belts – my short waist becomes even shorter if I try and belt it at my waist. This way, it still creates shape but without a horizontal line truncating me. I’m wearing the size 14 but the lace overlay is quite generously cut so I could probably wear the 12 in this style.
You might be wondering why I went the chartreuse contrast colour (easy – I’m a bit obsessed by it) and why my shoes and hat aren’t in chartreuse too?
It’s simple really, I like components of my outfits to complement each other. I like them to work together but not in a matchy-matchy 1950s and 196os kind of way. That’s why I also threw in a splash of fuchsia (nails, cocktail ring and lippy) but left the shoes nude. Nude shoes (these ones are from Florshiem last summer) also helped to extend the line of my leg on this this outfit – with the lace falling below the knee, it was more flattering on me than a block colour.
I do love a bit of high-low in an outfit too, and couldn’t believe my luck with the necklace ($30 at Dotti), bag ($35 at Sportsgirl) and rings (pink one $7.95 at Collette … I already had the Witchery one).
The hat? That was an unexpected pairing. Mainly because I had forgotten I owned it. I re-found it in one of my hat boxes while looking for a hat for one of my girlfriends. I had had it made two years ago by Hats by Sandy A but the dress it was made to go with had not arrived in time. So here we were two years later, this hat and I … off and racing.
With such a lady-like outfit going on, my girlfriend and hair stylist was very keen to take the hair the opposite way … I loved the unstructured low, asymmetrical braid. It just proved a little bit *interesting* trying to extricate the hat from the hair and a gazillion pins in the cab on the way to the after party …
oh, and here’s a little treat … Mr Styling You shows his style (he pre-approved publication). Well, his matching tie was my idea. I may have even wrapped it up under the guise of a Father’s Day gift a couple of weeks ago I kept telling him he was on-trend but he just kept singing Iva Davies’ ’80s Icehouse hit, Electric Blue.
Scroll through the gallery for more spring racing outfits – plenty of inspiration from everyday men and women.
Do you like frocking up, given the occasion?