We all know that woman who seem to exude effortless cool — the calm at the eye of the hurricane and the life of the party, all at once. Some might say they are born with it, but the little known truth of the matter is that everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and sleepwalks unknowingly into a fashion mishap at some point in their lives. The trick? Integrate the elements of your style icon’s look into your own; Kate Moss channels the rock and roll dishevelment of Jane Birkin from the era preceding her, and what winning red carpet look hasn’t stolen from the old Hollywood glamour of Grace Kelly?
With a string of high profile Racing dates approaching, and the looming winter fashion (and temperatures) that are just around the corner, we’ve invested in some expert advice for looking your best, whatever the occasion;
By Bianca Healey
Stylist Karli Butson dresses celebrity race goers for the most prestigious race days on the calendar. The Tooheys New Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens is one of the most star-studded of the upcoming races. To prepare for the day, we asked Karli to share her advice to ensure that your Autumn race day look is the finest on the field!
RESCU: What element do you start with when dressing a client? Is the hat or head-piece always the first decision?
Karli Butson: I always start with the outfit and work out the millinery from there. It is always an easier task to match millinery back with a whole outfit rather than the other way around as you can pick a colour or feature from the overall outfit and work that back into the headpiece. There are so many amazing milliners in Australia, like Neil Grigg, so if budget allows it it’s always a great to visit one personally and get something made to match your outfit.
RESCU: What should you consider when adapting current trends to racewear?
Karli Butson: I think a really simple rule applies when adapting a trend to racewear – it still needs to be race appropriate. You need to consider the racing dress code and not get too caught up in the hottest new trend that may look hot on a Saturday night out however not at the races. Always be mindful of the carnivals such as Spring and Autumn and use this as a guideline for fabrics, colours etc. ie. Leather and felt is impeccable in Autumn but not really appropriate for the Spring.
RESCU: What do you love most about styling for racing carnivals?
Karli Butson: I love that I have the opportunity to play dress ups! I always enjoy styling for the Autumn Carnivals over the Spring as you can really have fun with layers and fabrics. Living in Sydney, we don’t get really get to dress up very often so the races give us the best excuse to do so. I’m lucky that I have been given the opportunity to work with so many great people and put together so many fun outfits.
RESCU: What are your tips for standing out on race day?
Karli Butson: My tips for standing out on race day include researching the trends and making the right choice where millinery is concerned. You want to stand out in a good way so a well thought out, impeccably put together outfit will get you there. I often like to choose 2 or 3 colours or a stand out fabric that I’ll work into the outfit and headpiece keeping in mind you need to own your style. I like to keep it to traditional racing attire with an edge. And always remember less is more if you have one standout piece work the rest of your outfit around that rather than adding another!
The racing day staple is undoubtably the hat, whether it be a delicate feather fascinator, or dramatic head piece or delicate straw adornment. The autumn racing season demands a more refined, traditional sensibility when it comes to fashions on the field, and it can be tricky to discern the appropriate shoe/ dress/ hat combination.
Neil Grigg, milliner to the stars (with fans such as Gai Waterhouse!) gave us his top five tips for how to dress your head for race day;
Neil Grigg’s Top Five Race Day Tips:
1. Headpieces should be worn at an angle, sweeping down over one eye to give an extra flair to your outfit, a real “movie star” look. Think Audrey or Grace.
2. Pick one colour from your outfit and accentuate it. You don’t need every colour or else you’ll finish up looking like a fruit salad.
3. Strong brights like oranges, plums, purples, teals and yellows for headwear are a sure winner to brighten up that little black dress.
4. The vintage look is always strong with tiny pillboxes and beautiful veils capping off your “race” look.
5. Never wear straw in Autumn as it’s too heavy for the Autumn weight clothing fabrics. Hats and outfits should “talk” to each other. Felt hats or headpieces are the norm in the Autumn season. All feather headpieces are also acceptable and can look fab in Sydney weather which can be hot and very “unAutumn” like.