This year was my first time attending races at Del Mar, and I found an interesting and great divide of fashion!
First off, I have to say I loved Del Mar! It is a wonderful place filled with beautiful people. I have some terrific friends there who sure know how to have fun (smile)! I also want to say I was welcomed with open arms, made many new friends there and look forward to returning next year!
Del Mar was beautiful, and its opening day provided a fun scene for an important and well-attended racing day. The weather was perfect! I had gotten there very, very early to do media spots with Studio Savvy, the local store/salon that sells my hats. Time went by quickly and soon the gates were open and in came the crowd.
I saw the infield folks dressed in the typical super casual shorts and tees, looking comfortable. In came the general admission and clubhouse ladies and gents, varying in dress from casual to semi-casual, and fancy to surprisingly “fantasy”!
Many ladies had chosen a floppy beach style hat - some trimmed and some not at all. I have seen this around the country and would like to say this here: Ladies, if you want to be understated or clean and simple at the races, don’t assume that your only option is a floppy medium or even large floppy sun hat.
At any price point, with some effort, one can find understated, lean and lined hats that are not of the description of the former. Some took it a bit further with a small fascinator or a nicely scaled hat for their stature with appropriate trim for the races. As many know, I am a huge lover of the fascinator, however, the California sun was hot and strong on opening day. It was certainly a hat day for the general-admission and clubhouse fans, who spend more time outside.
As for the men, a few wisely chose a fedora to keep the sun off their faces, but many wore nothing on their heads or the dreaded baseball cap.
With regard to the famous hat contest, certainly in this crowd there were plenty of great contestants for all the categories. - most glamorous, best fascinator, best flowers. There are two other contest categories that I have to admit are not my favorites - most outrageous and best racing themed, or as I mentioned earlier the “fantasy” category as I call it!
DEL MAR HAT CONTEST
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
I see this at the Kentucky Derby but not so much anymore at the other tracks, but here there were many!
The best racing-themed contest is a fun idea and consisted of quite a few revelers wearing horse’s heads, but then came the most outrageous ones that can hardly be qualified as hats because they were carried in with hands holding them up. Some could not even stay on their heads – even with the help a friend! Now come on, that is not a hat - certainly amusing to watch though!
A little later, the Turf Club patrons and the owners along with the insiders to racing arrived. They certainly dressed in truer racing styles and in an elegant manner. Most had a hat or a fascinator of varying adornment. There were more hats than fascinators. At my Trunk Show the day before at Studio Savvy, more women indicated they preferred a hat to a fascinator, which is the typical American preference despite the royal press over the past few years.
The main trend I saw at Del Mar was the use of feathers. I found that the use of feathers was kind of heavy. Instead of going for the sleek and a few feathers as an accent, the trend was to be thick and bushy. I must admit, though, I did expect to see more bling and glitz, and for the most part I didn’t. Funny though, I did bring along and sell pieces with touches of glitter, sequins, and rhinestones.
Now comes where Del Mar stands out from other tracks. The owner’s box sections were, for the most part, elegant and very much the ultimate in racing fashion. I found the Turf Club extremely well attended and bustling with curvaceous women in short, tight dresses. Let’s put it this way, I certainly saw a lot of beautiful tans! The California weather is perfect for tanning, dressing and partying, and most of the women in this group did wear hats - and for sure we all had a blast!
Having said all this, I’ll sum it up by saying I loved the “California state of mind” fashion experience! And as always, I learned something, because in fashion you always have to keep your eyes and ears open. Each track has its own feel, look and voice! Thanks Del Mar, and see you all at Saratoga!