Holy shit, I won! Well I didn’t win first place, I won runner-up. But to me it felt like I had won. I am talking about the Best Dressed Women competition at the York Races where, by complete surprise, I won a prize based on my fashion. Proving my point that being a mum doesn’t have to stop you from being who you really are, here is my behind the scenes look at the day and my outfit.
Ebor Festival at York Races
Last month I attended the Ebor Festival at York Races. It’s the biggest carnival at York Race Course and given that we live next door and are members of the club, it is not one to be missed. Once I arrived at the track and had a champagne in hand I decided last minute to enter the Fashion on the Fields competition and I still cannot believe the result. I have entered fashion competitions a few times previously in Perth, Melbourne and France where my best result has been to make it through to the Top 10. Normally I would hunt for the perfect outfit for weeks and order half a dozen things online before making a decision. But this year we have been so busy with travel and visitors that I had not had time to prepare anything. I had also put myself on a self imposed shopping ban for 3 months as I’m still slightly fooling myself that things seem ‘so cheap’ in the UK because of the different currency. Not to mention that I have to physically restrain myself from the children clothing sections as I cannot resist buying new outfits for my daughter. Hi, my name is Shelley and I am addicted to Baby Gap. We have finally unpacked all the moving boxes (18 months later) and given there is no giant bump to contend with or a requirement to whip the boob out to feed, there are so many clothes to choose from in my wardrobe. So lets take a look at the finer details of what I chose to wear, what I had to do and my prize!
My outfit was styled on the morning of the races and was made up of all things I had in my wardrobe. When I took the time to look through what I had, I was surprised at what I could manage to pull together.
Dress – An Oscar de la Renta number purchased from The Outnet several years ago. I bought it for a ridiculous discount online to wear to Derby Day in Melbourne and have not worn it again since. It is such a classic piece and I am confident that I can re-wear it again without feeling as though I am always wearing the same thing. When it comes to recycling outfits, classic and timeless pieces will definitely present more opportunities to be re-worn as opposed to statement or highly on-trend pieces which loose their appeal quickly. The obi belt was borrowed, although I think I need to invest in one to pull my dresses in at the waist as this is currently more flattering for my post-baby figure.
Millinery – Borrowed from my fabulous and very talented friend, Lisa Tan. I quickly trawled through her website a few nights before the festival in-between dinner and bath time and asked to wear this piece last minute, or basically anything black and white as I was still deciding between a few different dresses. But I’m so glad I went with this piece as I think it complimented the look perfectly. Once again, simple and effortless millinery will be easier to style and re-use.
Shoes – Chosen as a gift from Shoes of Prey. A very basic black leather pump but perfect for so many occasions. Personally, I think this shoe should be a staple for any wardrobe. Wear them to work, to a party or on a dinner date with your favorite jeans.
Bag – My beloved Chanel which was given to me as a gift by my husband on our wedding anniversary. A very cherished item indeed. Besides, now I can totally justify these pieces as they are technically family heirlooms which will eventually be handed down to my daughter (if she behaves!).
Accessories – Pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet (from my wedding) completed the look along with a Chanel Brooch that I gifted to myself during the Christmas I was pregnant. At the time I was too sick to think about much else and I knew I would be too fat for a while to wear any of the clothes or shoes I wanted. Whilst my sister tells me that brooches are for grandmas, I personally love them and Chanel frequently brings out new pieces making them great for collecting. It can turn a very ordinary outfit into something special without really trying.
As far as fashion on the field experiences go, this one was very straight forward. There was no pre-registration required, you just gave your name at the Fashion Lawn, took a number and walked the runway. The judges did their thing and I returned later in the day to see if I had made it through to the final. As I was lucky enough to make it to the final, I had to strut down the runway once again and then the winners were announced. It was conveniently held in-between races so those that enjoy watching the horses did not have to miss out, and I didn’t have to stand back stage for half of the day waiting for the results.
So I guess you are wondering what my prize was, right? Of course there is the ‘Best Dressed‘ sash, which I will wear with pride for weeks to come until someone tells me to remove it. Ha! Plus a ‘Distill Your Own Gin Experience‘ for 2 at the Spirit of Harrogate followed by an overnight stay at Hotel Du Vin Harrogate. Now just to find a baby sitter 🙂
My husband and I enjoyed the prize I won in April 2019. Read about the “Master Distiller | Distill your own Gin at Spirit of Harrogate” here. Spoiler alert – it includes a silly drunken story. And if you wish to read about all my antics at the 2019 Ebor Festival, you can do so in “What I Wore – Ebor Festival, York Races“.