Generally speaking, one doesn't think of sports as having any particular connection to fashion. Sure, we may spot a few celebrities or wealthy patrons sitting in the front row and displaying high-end fashion, but for the most part sports are a casual, anything-goes sort of environment. However, this is not the case when it comes to horse racing, where the major events are sometimes equal parts sporting exhibition and fashion show!
From the U.K. to the U.S. and all over the world, major horse racing festivals and shows invite spectators to swarm together and have fun with their boldest and most interesting styles. It's not quite clear why or when this became the case, but these days it's simply accepted that horse races will bring about some high-end and boundary-breaking looks. And generally, these are seen mostly in the brightest and most colorful outfits people put together to attend the races. But along with these outfits, horse racing spectators also tend to head to the tracks sporting some interesting (and yes, sometimes ridiculous) accessories. Here's a look at some fun examples from the past few years.
Even those who know little of horse racing culture or race day fashion are probably aware that hats play a major role. Surely, if one were to point to a single element of racing fashion as the thing that differentiates it from ordinary displays of style, it would be the tendency of spectators to wear oversized, decorative hats. And while this tendency extends to races all over the world, there's nowhere it's more prominent than at the Kentucky Derby! Looking at photos of the 2014 Derby, however, one thing becomes clear: it's not just about the hats being large or interestingly shaped; it's also about the accessories on the hats. There are bows, ribbons, feathers, flowers, and even a few arrangements that look like entire sections plucked out of someone's garden! It's truly a pretty incredible way for racegoers to express themselves. Though the hats are typical of race day fashion, it's remarkable just how differe nt each one is from all the others—and that's largely due to the ornaments and decorations adorning them.
Bold Wristwatches For Ladies
Of the world's biggest horse racing events, the Grand National is one that, on the surface, appears to be more about the racing. Its signature event is a legendary race, and its spectators tend to know their stuff. As with any major race, betting plays a major role in the Grand National as well, and Betfair's tips already include updated odds on the likeliest winners, with detailed analysis on the way in the coming months. Despite the heavy focus on the track, the Grand National remains a popular occasion for horse racing fashion displays, and a look at Liverpool Echo's slideshow of the 2014 Ladies Day at the races shows a fairly wild assortment. Within the photos, one more race day accessory trend becomes clear: big, bold, metallic wristwatches for ladies. Oversized watches on women have been trendy for years now, but it appears they're particularly popular as jewelry accessories for race day—understated and useful, but able to hold up to the noisiness of general race day outfits.
There are plenty of other fun accessories to choose from for race day fashion: brooches and pins, glinting necklaces, and all types of boots and high heels tend to make the rounds. But for a more unique idea, Telegraph's slideshow of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival (one of the earliest racing festivals on the UK calendar) shows a number of fashion-forward women wearing various sets of stylish leather gloves. One reason for this is that the Cheltenham races are in the second week of March, which in the U.K. means it can still be quite cold on occasion. However, it remains a nice way to augment your look in a way you may not always think to.