Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fashion at the Races

Welcome Briana!

Briana M. Mott is the quintessential raceday fashion authority! As CEO of Fashion at the Races, Briana is always wearing the perfect outfit! What to wear to the races? Just ask Briana….

What is 'Fashion at the Races'?

Fashion at the Races is an initiative to showcase the fashion and millinery worn to racetracks all over the world. By bringing light to the fashion and finer part of horse racing, we hope raise the bar on racing style and gain new fans through fashion at the races! Besides, why should the horses have all the attention? ;)

Who is your favorite hat designer?

This is a tough one because there are so many different styles that I love! I am not a big floppy brimmed Derby hat fan. I like small to medium pieces that are more couture, constructed, and designed for a particular outfit. If it’s a larger brimmed piece it needs to be constructed and not scary big that you get lost in. After having the pleasure of working with so many talented milliners it's hard to pick one as my favorite. I like a milliner who takes chances but also sticks to their design aesthetic. The ones who just glue flowers and charge $600 for the thanks!

Do you have a favorite hat?

I have a favorite hat every week! Right now I am loving one of our feature milliners, Lisa Tan's horse print pieces. I tend to flock to black and white.  As a New Yorker black tends to be in a lot of my wardrobe. However, I know I need to push the boundaries a little more with some color! There are a lot to choose from on our site so it’s hard to pick a favorite! I've attached a few.

Lisa Tan, Milliner

Do different racetracks require different fashion?

Different racetracks do have different fashion absolutely. Del Mar and Santa Anita Park are very west coast fashion, as they should be. Bigger sun hats, summer dresses and lots of wedges. If you head down to Florida at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, you are dressing more of a 'Miami Chic' style, more fitted dresses, constructed millinery and big statement jewelry. Then to my favorite part of the country, the east coast, being a East Coast gal myself I love that the NYRA tracks pull out of the NYC style. Black and white being a major staple, furs, high heels (less wedges); you definitely channel 'Devil Wears Prada' for these tracks.

Where is your favorite racetrack?

Many people say that its hard to name a favorite track, as cliché as that is, its so true. Each track is different in its own right. My first races were at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. This is a beautiful track surrounded by a lot of green grass (which more tracks need to do besides concrete). However,  I wish they would step up their fashion a bit more, which then pushes me toward Santa Anita in California and Saratoga in New York. These two are known for gorgeous weather and well dressed men and women. Great surroundings in architecture and of course great races to enjoy only tops off the fabulous fashion that people wear. It’s obvious that women and men put effort into their outfits for these race days which they should!

More recently I have a new love for Belmont Park in New York, as a New Yorker I may be biased but this track has something elegant about it. I think of a fantastic black and white dress, black gloves with a big cocktail ring holding a glass of champagne while you cheer on these million dollar athletes. Nothing beats this daydream! There are so many other tracks that are amazing in their own right but to keep this to an article and not a novel...we will stick with these few!

Regardless, dress up for the racetrack in your area...go out have some drinks and food with your fabulous friends and enjoy a day (or night) at the races! That's what they are there for!

Do you have favorite horse/jockey/colors you follow?

Favorite racehorse would be Animal Kingdom as I've followed him for a long time from when everyone doubted him to the shining star he is now. He is with 'Team Valor' which is a racing syndicate that has grown to be a very successful international ownership. I enjoy keeping up with Team Valor and their horses, win or lose its great to have horses to follow. The Horse Racing sport is one of the toughest sports to follow as so many of the star athletes may only 'compete' for a few years. Theres no Michael Jordan's in horse racing as their usual life as a racehorse may only be for 2-4 years. It’s important to give people a way to feel involved and that way could be a favorite jockey, trainer, owner and horse(s). Internationally, no one trumps the 'Mighty Mare' Black Caviar. I visited Australia and saw her through her 17th, 18th, and 19th win and that experience is one I will never forget. She's retired now but will always be a superstar. I wish more horses would keep running into their 6th year...(ehem owners!).

Do you ride?

If you're a fan of the horse races, it doesn't mean you are an 'equestrian' which I think can be an assumption among many new fans. In saying this, I am both! I do ride and have since middle school. Fashion at the Races adopted an off the track thoroughbred who has been renamed RED Valentino, (to keep with the fashion category). He was mediocre on the track but he is a wonderful 'model' for our photo shoots, and a wonderful horse to ride for fun! His first show will be in June and should be interesting! He is a 6YO gelding, but still acts like a 2YO colt which is one of the reasons I love him! OTTB's are great horses to have and give a second career. They love a job and love to please!

Describe the perfect raceday outfit....

This is so hard! I'll give two: Recently we had the opportunity to dress Ali Fedecowstky, NBC's First Look Host as well as the star of Bachelorette, for the three Triple Crown Races. Her Belmont outfit was stunning, a black peplum top with leather detail, white and black pencil skirt, Lisa Tan Horse print pillbox and of course a great white statement necklace with black shoes. All very simple but when its put together she looked so stylish and chic.

Trying to step out of my love of monochrome, I think another perfect outfit would be the combination of two bright colors. Do this through prints, or just having them next to one another. A flowing top/blouse and light skirt that reaches just above the knee.  Incorporating either your prints or colors into your millinery makes you stand out tremendously with your fashion. Shows you took the time, made the effort, and as a result it really all came together. Feel free to bring the color in statement jewelry and/or your shoes!

Regarding your shoes, here's some important advice...if you can't walk in them, DON'T WEAR THEM! Bring flats if you need to for the second part of the day, add some heel pads, bring Band-Aids …whatever you need but don't be 'that girl' fumbling in her too tall, ill-fitting shoes. Its so noticeable and so unattractive. Couple ways to avoid this:
  • Make sure the shoe fits. So many girls buy to tight shoes, too narrow etc. A true fitting heel won't have your feet hurting after the first hour.
  • Don't buy a new pair the day before the races. All shoes need time to be broken in...heels I think need the most. Buy them the week before and wear them daily...then you'll really find out if you can make them work all day.
  • Don't be to macho for heel padding. Dr. Scholls are great but can get expensive. Panty liners are a great way to keep your heel from slipping and creating step that up a notch, a 'lady-pad' works both as a panty-liner...and the Dr. Scholls pad! (Just don't show the boys ;) (**Dr. Scholls will make your shoes fit tighter FYI).
  • Bring a few Band-Aids in your may not need them but you'll be the lifesaver of whoever didn't read this and prepare!
  • Flats, flats, flats...I don't like to see them worn at a raceday, but as the day progresses its completely understandable. Get a cheap pair that can roll up in a ball and fit in your purse or your mans side pocket. He'll complain but be a happy man lady when he doesn't have to give you a piggy back!

My favorites via Fashion at the Races; don't forget to order your favorite! The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner.....

Fielden Willmott Millinery
Chantelle Kentucky Derby Hat
Fielden Willmott Millinery

Fielden Willmott Millinery

Fielden Willmott Millinery

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