What to Wear for the Grand National Festival 2018: During the three days of the Grand National Festival (Thursday 12th – Saturday 14th April 2018) the fashion amongst racegoers is hugely diverse.

OWNERS & TRAINERS

Owners and Trainers at the Grand National Festival are of the Jump Racing variety – it is a jump racing festival after all! This means that by April they have followed their horses through a winter season of cold, rain, snow, mud and whatever else the elements have thrown at them.

Spring brings the end of their season but they are not ready to step out of their practical clothing just yet – instead, we see brighter colours coming through, some eye-catching hats, and more daring styles than the usual tame tweeds!

Owners

If your horse is running at the Grand National Festival, as an Owner you will be on Cloud Nine, out to impress and definitely determined to strut your stuff in the Parade Ring as your horse prepares for the race. However, the day’s racing comes hand in hand with hospitality so take into consideration a wide range of temperatures, and give a nod to spring, without compromising your jump-racing style.

Think more of light and elegant Chanel-esque tweed rather than thick and sensible country tweed:

InfiniteColorDesign’s light pink skirt suit is adorned with fringing – a look that graced Chanel’s catwalk for their SS18 collection. Price was £170 now £150 via Etsy.

Complement the look with Maggie Mowbray’s Maple pink faux fur trim vintage style pillbox hat of black peachbloom felt. Price £260 from Etsy.

For a more dramatic summer tweed go for designer Ralph & Russo’s black and gold laminated tweed box jacket and matching A-line skirt. Worn here with silver box top featuring chain and feather embellished edging, knee high boots and black calf mini vault bag. London boutique: 40, Park Street, Mayfair, W1K 2JG.

Keep the hat simple but chic with Maggie Mowbray’s Leona velour felt beret stiffened to form a pill box shape, Jackie O style. Finished with a small black leather flower detail in the centre and a fine black crin bow. Price £285 from Etsy.

Trainers

For the Trainers, tweed needs to be hardier to cope with handling horses and tacking up, but this is no reason to abandon style – after all, you are on show as much as the Owners in the Parade Ring, and are perhaps more well recognised by the spectators too.

Regimental inspired, GreatScotScotland’s Lieutenant jacket in Lorne blue herringbone tweed fits the bill. The asymmetric fastening suits most body shapes as it can be worn with the lapel folded down for a V-shaped opening or fastened high to the neck. Check out those equestrian embossed buttons – a wonderful touch for the Grand National. Price £245 via Etsy.

Matching pencil skirt is available in two lengths: 21 inch for £75; and 31 inch for £85.

Add a flash of whimsy with ruffled cuffs showing below the sleeves and a romantic jabot around the collar. Flawless white blouse in 100% cotton with detachable jabot. Price £69.

Soften the look with Maggie Mowbray’s Oslo velour felt cloche hat with a small brim. Price £265 via Etsy.

Belstaff  offers a more contemporary and youthful look using the traditional but very much on trend Prince of Wales check in monochrome with a dash of tan. The fabric of the Gia midi skirt (£450) and matching Liana jacket (£825) is nylon – very practical for the hands on trainer.

Not providing warmth, it’s best to wear the nylon outfit with a jumper and boots. Here, the model is wearing Belstaff’s Devonia fleece sweater (£150) and Acklington leather boots (£450), but the skirt and jacket will look equally good dressed up with knee high heeled boots and a cashmere jumper.

Bring out the tan in the check with Rose Collins’ copper brown fedora hat in peachbloom velour felt with triple faux leather band. Price £185 on Etsy.

SPECTATORS

‘Fox Hunters’ Day

The first day, Grand National Thursday, is popularly know as the ‘Fox Hunters’ due to the feature race for amateur jockeys that is run over the Grand National course on that day. The amateur jockeys (and their horses) will have competed throughout the winter season at point-to-point races all over the country, and the Fox Hunters is their chance to pit their skills over the famous Grand National fences including The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Valentines. The only difference between the Fox Hunters and the big race itself is the distance.

Consequently ‘Fox Hunters’ day attracts many of the point-to-point owners, trainers, riders and spectators, giving them the chance to sport their best togs for this hugely exciting occasion. But this group have battled through the bitter winter weather to follow their sport all season, and will dress accordingly – no skimpy summer dresses for them; they will be attired in layers ranging from sensible thermals and thick tights through to tweeds, furs and feathers.

This does not mean they will skimp on style, however: the tweedy type of wardrobe can be just as cutting-edge, trend-setting and striking as any more flimsy ensembles!

What to Wear

Strut a seriously stylish country chic in Holland Cooper’s tawny tweed, one of their signature fabrics. This brings the fashionable Prince of Wales check back to its tweed roots, as shown in the Knightsbridge double breasted coat. Price £549.

Complete the outfit with matching Baker Boy cap (£79) and Tally-Ho mini skirt in the same tweed and colour (£99). Team with a cashmere jumper and knee high (or thigh high) boots to complete the look.

An alternative to tweed is the woollen dress. Rumour London offers a selection of fine knitted dresses giving a streamline look. Here in midnight blue the Claire dress has a playful jacquard outline of collar, belt and pockets in contrasting cream. 100% merino wool. Price £249 via Etsy.

Depending on the weather, nonchalantly throw a knitted cape over the dress. Also in navy with cream motif trim. Price £299 from Etsy. If colder a jacket or coat could be worn under the cape.

Add a pop of colour with a burgundy peachbloom felt hat by Hats By Agnieszka. Price £170 via Etsy.

Ladies’ Day Competitor

The Friday of the Grand National Festival is Ladies’ Day – also known as (hashtag)FabulousFriday. This day hosts The Style Awards with tremendous prizes on offer, and attracts fashionistas from all over the country, as well as from Aintree’s home town of Liverpool. It also attracts the world’s media and the Ladies’ Days Competitors know they are – for a few hours only – on Centre Stage.

Spectators in this crowd are rarely the horsey type – they are out to impress and they know it is springtime – which is well on the way to summer! Storm clouds and sub-zero temperatures are no deterrent where style is concerned. So liberally apply your fake tan and dress yourself in your best Designer labels. On this occasion there is no holding back!

What to Wear

The stakes are high so you need to stylishly stand out from the crowd. Place your bets on an up and coming designer.

Edda Gimnes is one such young designer and her outfits have already been worn by Lady Gaga and Gigi Hadid. The aim of her clothing line EDDA is to combine art and fashion into fun wearable outfits – perfect for the races.

A strapless ’50s style midi dress is the canvas to hand drawn child-like illustrations in light mustard accented in pale grey and pink, encrusted on the front of the bodice with beads and glass beads.

The magic doesn’t stop here as the collection also includes an illustrated oversized wide brimmed hat, sock boots, handbags and buckle drawn belts. Image courtesy of Nicholas Kristiansen.

Designer Sabinna Rachimova specialises in creating beautiful outfits by hand crochet. For SS18 the signature piece of her label SABINNA’s collection is a high neck halter dress of soft lemon, white and lilac crocheted flowers in a sheath style gently skimming the body with a cheeky kick flare hemline. Sabinna photography by Simon Armstrong.

Accessorise in either yellow or lilac. We chose Jayne Alison’s Penelope hat in various shades of lilac from pale to ultra violet because Ultra Violet has been crowned the colour of 2018 according to Pantone colour. The hat features sinamay petals, a hand made silk lily flower and is finished off with burnt ostrich feather. Price £245 via Etsy.

Grand National Saturday

Saturday of the festival is the day of the Randox Health Grand National itself. Perhaps the most famous race in the world over jumps, this attracts spectators from every spectrum, and sees outfits ranging from tweed to fake tan and everything in between! As the majority of the spectators have come for the ‘spectacle’ and the after-parties, however, you will find a large proportion of summery dresses that will look equally fabulous in Liverpool’s famous hotels and nightclubs after the big day.

What to Wear

Be flirty and flighty in designer Michaela Frankova’s feather cocktail dress (as worn by Sarah Harding). The dress features an embroidered lace top, silk binding and beaded feather skirt made out of white chiffon fabric (or black if you prefer). Handmade in the UK. Price £440.

Petite version is aviable via bombpetite.com

For dramatic effect the model is wearing headwear by Velvet Eccentric. A simpler and less expensive alternative would be a fascinator. Kate Hill offers a high contrasting headband with made of black coque feathers on buckram and sprinkled with Swarovski crystal stones. Price £95 via Etsy.

Also available with a spotty black face veil for more drama. Price £145.

The high street is also starting to bring out its spring/summer collections in time for April, so if you’re looking for a fun day out but prefer to steer your budget away from Designer outfits, time your shopping right and you’ll still come away with a show-stopper.

If you prefer a longer skirt length, the handkerchief hemline is one of the key summer trends shown on the catwalk. Brighten up your day in M&S Autograph sunshine yellow dress with white floral lace overlay. Soon to be in store. Price £125.

Accessorise with hot pink to add to the wow factor. The wave shape of Cogg Millinery’s hot pink and orange fascinator complements and balances the asymmetry of the dress. Adorned with hand crafted silk dupion flowers. Price £135 via Etsy.

Karen Grace studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.

You can read more of Karen’s fashion advice at: www.frumpytofunky.com

For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on contact@frumpytofunky

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