Diva Dressing Tricks of the Trade

Sally Inkster

Sally Inkster

Sally wants to take away the idea that clothes and fashion are frivolous, to encourage the idea that clothes and our attitude to them and our body has an awful lot to do with our mental health. And that having an organised wardrobe gives us space in our lives to live as we should.

“Clothes are a major part of our life 7 days a week and for some of us 24 hours a day as well if you wear pyjamas/nightie so it’s no wonder we spend a lot of money and time trying to get it right. We have so much to take into account – what’s available, the climate and the suitability of attire to allow us to do what we need, and also allows us to ‘fit in‘ with what everyone else is wearing. ”

“Our family upbringing and home life, our religion and even what sports we play all contribute to our style of clothing and on top of all that we have a personality that we want to show through our clothes.”

“I want to make sure that we all dress to our best and dress with confidence, regardless of all of the factors we have to take into account!”

Racing days are upon us – all sounds lovely and easy – but if you’re a women then you know it brings the nightmare of what to wear!

Never forget to go through your wardrobe first, you probably have the makings of a fabulous outfit there already but you just haven’t put it together yet!

Some top tips to help you through:-

1. Remember to check what the dress code is for the day – some days can be quite casual – Ladies day is usually dressed up to the nines with hats quite a common sight, but not a necessity.
2. The rule with hats – if you have a high/big forehead then wear a hat if not then a fascinator is better

3. Start simple – the outfit is going to be on you for a long day, so look for a simple shift dress or summer dress that you can layer and accessorise. A flowery day dress – (plenty around) rather than an evening cocktail dress.

4. Accessories can take a plain dress and make it look fantastic – if you go for a large print then bring the size of your accessories down.

5. You don’t want to join the ‘meat market parade’ – don’t show too much flesh, – Cleavage or Legs not both.

6. A jacket to suit your body shape – accentuating your waist if you have one or if you haven’t then a jacket that gives the allusion of one.

7. A pretty cardigan to tone with your dress – with or without a jacket. Remember it can be very cold, raining or windy – don’t just create your outfit for a hot summers day , this is England and layering is the name of the game.

8. Shoes can make or break an outfit, but go for comfort as well as looks because your going to be in them all day sometimes on grass, disappearing into the soil is not an elegant look. With a shift dress low pretty pumps can look great as can wedge sandals (very in at the moment – bright colours or neutrals).

9. The overall look should be Smart/feminine but more girly/dressed up than the office, but not too overdone.

10. Trousers are an option especially really trendy ones that are shorter in the leg ( then they don’t get grass stained and wet) but remember if you have short legs – wear them with high wedges.

11. A small umbrella that tones with your outfit is always a good idea

12. A bag that can lodge under your arm or cross over your body always helps when your trying to drink your champagne and fill in your betting slip!

13. Lots of bright colours are in this year, but if that isn’t your look then pale neutrals are also popular.

HOW WELL DO ALL THESE TIPS WORK? Read on….
Well I had to take my own advice the other day and dress for the races!!! See the article above I wish I’d said more about inclement weather and about going with a friend who was wearing a fantastic outfit that she’d purchased especially for her son’s wedding – not much competition then!!

The day in question was the Thursday at Ladies Day Chester; the weather was forecast as showers, heavy downpours and cold! Oh goody! I had an outfit in mind, a shift dress White/Blue flowers, it was a bit long so it went to the tailors to be altered – only problem was it wasn’t ready until the day before and I had no jacket or anything to match, so shopping was going to be a challenge.

Well I ended up with a little cardie to match the blue that hid under the jacket which was also blue just to keep me warm really, but if it got hot (ha ha) then I could take a layer off. To finish bare legs which I really wasn’t happy with, but the only sandals I had that went with the outfit were a pair of high heeled silver shoes that had a toe piece ( hence no tights) and as I have short legs, cutting off the length of my legs with footless tights is a no no. The high stilettos I knew were not the best idea in the world as a racecourse does have quite a lot of grass as well as concrete, my friend had some fantastic accessories which a friend had given her, that attach to the bottom of the heel making it much wider and then your less likely to come unstuck in the grass, I haven’t been able to find out what they’re called so if anyone can enlighten me I would be very grateful.

The bag I wanted was a sophisticated large silver tote with a discrete strap that I could use if I had too much champagne to hold! but couldn’t find one of those so had to make do with a white one. The bag being of a reasonable size meant I could fit in a pair of flip flops in case the shoes got unbearable ( they didn’t) and also a little fold up bag to put my shoes in ( there are some great pumps on the market called #Rollasole available at New Look ) Now the friend I was going with ( along with our husbands ) was to be wearing a huge hat, but they look atrocious on me as my face shape does not take them (see article on sunglasses) and so I compromised with a fascinator – what a brilliant invention that is so delightfully back in fashion, although some traditionalists fight against them. Again I had a slight problem with the colour but it toned sort of!

Well, off we set in the most thunderous down pour (luckily both our husbands are the chivalrous type and held the umbrellas for the day) a good tip is to find a fancy, cute umbrella for the day that can fit in your handbag (or husbands pocket) as it can be used for rain or as a sunshade! (In this country, both in the same day!)

The outfits on show that day were mainly superb, people had gone to huge efforts to look ‘put together’ and on the whole I didn’t see any outfits that doubled, I think with wide range of dresses available on the high street e.g. #Top shop, #New Look, not to mention #Coast and #Jigsaw everyone can purchase a different dress in the relative security that not everyone’s going to be wearing the same. If this is something that worries you, especially if you’ve got a very special day as Mother of the Bride, then finding a little boutique that only has the dress in each size and keeps a record of who has bought what for which occasion, can be a blessing, try #Alazari on #Chester Rows for that service!

A lot of Maxi dresses with halternecks were in evidence as was the short shift dress – hats of every shape and form – I think so long as something toned it in with the dress – then anything goes. Some very high shoes of a Grecian style were evident and although they are the height of fashion at the moment they can be liable to overpower some dresses, which sometimes can makes the proportions of what is being worn seem wrong.

There were on view, the usual amount of fleshy arms, large legs and even larger boobs that would have probably have been better covered up, but having been to this event before I felt that not as many as in other years, but this could well have been due to the weather! as always at these events it’s best to dress to your body shape rather than bust out of it!!!

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