Last weekend I went to Ladies Day, the second day of the Aintree Grand National weekend, and had an absolutely incredible time, even though I didn’t win a penny. I even got brave enough to enter the style awards, and although I didn’t win I loved taking part and getting my picture taken. Here’s my full races outfit:
My dress is from a Chinese eBay store, only £35 quid! As for accessories, my shoes are New Look, bag is Vivienne Westwood, necklace is Swarovski and my fascinator (pictured at the bottom of this post) was made by my rather excellent mother.
But, being as it was my first time, I definitely learnt some pointers about attending the races, mainly that
- You should always wear comfy shoes. You’re on your feet all day, in slightly treacherous ground conditions (grass is no ones friend) and there isn’t anything worse than having sore feet! So choose your shoes carefully, make sure they’re a great fit, supportive straps are your friend and make sure you test wear them around the house a minimum of three times, I didn’t order mine till 4 days before the event and so I had to test wear them around the office – not ideal!
- Be prepared. While no one wants a clutch bag you could fit the kitchen sink into, getting one big enough to stash emergency supplies in is essential! Make sure to stash plasters (in case your shoes turn out uncomfortable), wet wipes (useful for cleaning split booze off hands and mud off heels after a stagger across the grass) and hair slides to re-anchor hair styles or fascinators in case of uncooperative winds.
- Go digital. The Aintree Grand National is sponsored by Crabbies, so all race-goers this year were given the chance to download a special Crabbies pre-order app and oh my was it a good idea. You whack it on your smart phone, hook up your PayPal account to it and then when you arrive at Races hit ‘locate’. It then finds you the nearest bar and presents you with the menu for it, you pick your drink and order and it will give you a helpful notification when your drink is ready to collect, which allows you to skip all the queues and bar jostling, as well as eliminating the inevitable pile of change that these sort of events generate at the bottom of your bag. I also downloaded a William Hill betting app much with the same motivation (skipping queues, not having to carry cash) but also to save my complete embarrassment at the betting stall when it became apparent that I have no clue what odds are…it’s totally okay to pick a horse based on whether it has a cute name right? The only minor issue with having these apps is that as they’re hooked straight into your bank account, it’s waaaaaaay too easy to spend waaaaaay too much money. But hey, the races weekend is all about excess. Which brings me to
- Practise fascinator placement. As most of us don’t typically rock a fascinator day to day, figuring out where it’s supposed to sit in your head and how it’s supposed to work with your hair style isn’t the easiest part of the race day prep. Practise makes perfect with this one, and practise is very much supported by strategic back combing, hairspray and as many pins as are reasonably needed.
- Anything goes at Aintree. If you wanna rock a floor length dress with a train, you do it. If you wanna wear a jumpsuit, you do it. If you wanna wear a foot high fascinator, you do it. If you wanna use a bag shaped like a water can, you do it! (The winner of this years Style Awards did, and it’s worked out pretty well for her!)
So those are my big five lessons I learnt, hope they help out anyone who’s attending any of the other races coming up this sunmer!
This was my fascinator for the races, and it was probably the part of my outfit I liked best, especially since my mum made its, so I knew i wasn’t going to run into anyone else with the same headgear 🙈
(The Monster Book of Monsters did not form part of my races attire, but I do think the fascinator works for it too)