As horses raise dust, invitees at derbies raise the heat with chic and classy outfits. Remember the Pretty Woman moment when Vivian transforms into an elegant lady of social pedigree at the Polo match? Dressed in a lovely polka dot dress, Vivian (played by Julia Roberts), is the cynosure of all eyes. A satin-trimmed hat, gloves, and a beige tote are her only accessories. Setting the bar high with a memorable look, the pretty woman’s elegant styling brings just the right kind of sass to an outdoor sporting event.
The Kingfisher Derby is around the corner in Bangalore and over the years the event has become many a fashionista’s day out in the sun. “Bangalore’s expat population and increasingly cosmopolitan crowd has raised the city’s style quotient and every year there is more of an effort to dress up for the derby,” says fashion choreographer, Sheetal Sharma, a regular at the event. Derby dressing is not hard to pull-off, but here are a few essentials that you need to keep in mind before going to the races.
- KISS: Keep it simple, silly! The derby is not the place to show-off fashion’s latest trends. Yes, you can flaunt your Chanel or Prada handbag, but keep it classy. Simple, hence elegant, is the key to dressing right here. Avoid form-fitting dresses, pencil heels and over the top accessories. Classic silhouettes in solid colours or bright prints look great in the day. “You can’t go wrong with a typical knee-length dress, matching heels and a clutch,” says fashion designer Manoviraj Khosla. “Keep the accessories to a minimal and don’t go overboard with your make-up either. Keep it light and not dry. If it’s going to be a hot day, you don’t want to be sweating make-up on to your clothes,” warns Sheetal. And don’t forget your sunglasses at home. You don’t want to be caught at the derby without a major fashion accessory that is also very useful.
- How do I do hats?: A big flouncy hat that adds a touch of class to your appearance is quintessential derby. “Derbies are a milliner’s dream come true,” says fashion designer, Jattinn Kochhar. But is the accessory everyone’s cup of tea? A hat can sometimes end up making you look ridiculous if it’s not the right type or doesn’t compliment your look. “Hats are tricky and don’t suit every personality,” says Sheetal. Extravagant hats with exotic feathers may not be ideal for derbies in India. Instead, opt for chic, smaller hats or fascinators. A fascinator is a headpiece that is unobtrusive and looks elegant at the same time. Take a cue from the Duchess of Cambridge on how to sport fascinators oh so stylishly.
- Maharani for a day: There is place for Indian wear at the derby too. Channel your inner Maharani and look sensual in chiffon saris. “Women in chiffon saris worn with pearls or diamond studs look extremely chic and classy,” says Jattinn. Pastel shades and non-busy prints are great choices. “Men could also try an Indian ensemble,” says Manoviraj. “But, most turf clubs insist on a jacket and tie, so it’s not always feasible,” he adds.
- Men on the turf: As hard as women try to steal the spotlight at this event, it is not hard for a well-dressed man to get noticed. Suave and stylish is the look to go for with light-coloured suits. “Pastel linen jacket or suit with a hat and matching formal shoes is an ideal outfit for the day,” says Manoviraj Khosla. “Summer suit styles (such as the classic seersucker) or the stroller (the daytime equivalent of the dinner jacket) are great options too. One can even look at sporting an outfit from essentials that most men already have in their wardrobe: the sports coat and odd trousers combination,” adds Jattinn. Unlike for women, the hat is an accessory that men can sport fearlessly. It immediately elevates a look and can be complimented by a smart pair of sunglasses.
- Go the Duchess way: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is always a picture of perfection. The Duchess favours a minimal style of dressing and sports a soft-corner for fascinators. Take a style cue from the Duchess for the upcoming Derby.