It’s my much-delayed report on Ladies’ Day at Ascot 2013! I had a blast as usual – and we even won big in one race when we bet on the Queen’s horse to win, and also scooped the second and third place runners too – but somehow, the shine is wearing off of this event for me. Maybe it’s the fact that I had my foot crushed by a rather large middle-aged lady who was completely smashed out of her mind during the Bandstand Singalong (and it still hurts now, two months later) or maybe it’s the fact that the dress code standards have slipped again, but there’s just something about Ascot Ladies’ Day that is wearing a little thin on me now. But, this post is to concentrate on the positive!
The theme this year was floral (my friends and I try to match – last year’s theme was obvious and awesome at the same time!), so I spent a lot of time hunting out the perfect floral dress. It had to be flared and with a ’50s style vest-shaped top. I found the perfect dress in French Connection’s Maggie Lou. However, I had a massive crisis of confidence when my usual dress size didn’t fit me, which prompted me to go on an epic, short-term weight loss plan, which I’m pleased to say was successful. I am certainly not the size I’d like to be, but I did fit into a size 10 again!
Once I found my perfect dress, I needed a hat or fascinator to go with it. I had always planned to get something made, so I commissioned the fabulous Marissa Fleur from Etsy to create a bespoke headpiece based on the colours of the dress.
Floral Headpiece, commissioned from Marissa Fleur via Etsy / Disc Stud Earrings with Aqua Chalcedony Stones, Azuni / Maggie Lou Dress, French Connection / Wrap, Monsoon / Natalie Clutch, L.K. Bennett / Black Patent Maddox Wedges, L.K. Bennett
Here’s what the headpiece looks like flattened out, and below is the finished product on a headband, which is how I wore it on the day!
We booked afternoon tea at the event and wound up being incredibly late thanks to some atrocious traffic on the way. I think we were stuck for at least an hour and a half. It wasn’t the best of ways to begin, I have to say, although the tea was lovely enough to make it worth the wait:
At first I was slightly disappointed, as I thought the pork pie, tarts and fondant fancies were shop-bought, but upon thorough investigation, they seemed to have been made by hand – and they were certainly tastier than their supermarket counterparts!
The tearooms were a bit corporate feeling, but the mismatched china gave it a cool look – although, obviously, it’s much cheaper to fill a tearoom with mismatched china sets! At our table there was even a set that matched my colour scheme!
The afternoon tea cost £24pp and was honestly worth it for not having to go through the drama of fighting for a table at one of the kiosks or in the Bandstand restaurant. The food was very decent, and there was certainly enough! I think we were stuffed by the end! And anywhere with tea on tap is fine with me, of course.
For dinner, we went to Heston’s Hind’s Head in Bray again, but I think I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures of the day…
Next year, I think I’m going to try out a few different race meets. I’m thinking Epsom and Goodwood for 2014!
Today, the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing a black dress with a white Peter Pan collar, which was said to come from Topshop. As always, the community at What Kate Wore were quick off the mark to identify the dress, and came out with a possible match: the contrast collar shift dress (now out of stock).
All of this went down while I was having new (faster) broadband installed. Yes, Kate decided to pop up literally at the exact moment I was disconnected! This left me frantically looking on my phone for updates and trying to load Topshop in order to check stock levels. Of course, my size was the only one unavailable when I initally checked, so I called my local Topshop, and managed to get through on the second attempt. Right when I finally got someone on the phone from the right department, I hear: “excuse me?” The engineer had finally finished and was waiting to show off his handiwork… Reluctantly, I say to the sales assistant “I’ll have to phone you back” and she replies “but this is TOPSHOP, it’s very hard to get hold of us!”. With my saddest little voice, I say “I’m sorry, I have to phone you back…” RAAAAAAH! (That bit was internal, don’t worry.)
After testing the broadband (exactly the same as far as I can tell), I managed to get someone on the phone from Topshop again (actually not as hard as the sales assistant would have you believe!) and asked them to reserve the dress in a 10. Then, I actually managed to get into town before they closed today (usually impossible for me as I don’t have a car!) to nab the last one. THE LAST ONE IN THE SHOP. Unfortunately, it has a bit of a makeup mark on the back of the collar, but I hope I can clean it off.
So, here you go – this dress hasn’t been identified as the exact one that Kate was wearing today, to be honest, the collar looks very slightly different to me, and the sleeves look a bit shorter on mine. But, what do you think? Same dress?
That’s the back view – the zipper does go all the way up, but I unzipped it slightly for some reason…
Okay, so when I first heard about this dress, I typed ‘contrast collar’ into the Topshop search engine, and found two dresses, one in their regular range, and one ‘tall’. There was a tall left in size 10, so I ordered that immediately, and then tracked down the ‘regular’ in the shop itself. To be honest, I did wonder whether Kate would have ordered the tall, because, well, she is tall – but it did seem in photos that her dress was pretty short – hitting well above the knee. However, after seeing a couple of mentions of people saying that she was wearing the tall version, I decided to see whether I could find any proof one way or another – and I think I have!
Here is the length of the hem of the Goat Redgrave coat, from their site:
Here is the length of the regular contrast collar dress from Topshop’s site:
I just measured my own, and it comes to around 84cm from shoulder to hem, so that seems accurate. So if the Redgrave coat is a minimum of 127.5cm in length, that means that the dress would need to be approximately the same for it to appear the way it does in photos – if you click the links above you’ll see that the dress and coat seem to be the same length. But the regular version is just 85cm long, so we need to check the tall version…
Darn! No length listed! I’ll have to measure when it arrives… but, I think it’s safe to say the regular version of this dress is just too short to have the right effect under the Redgrave coat…
I have a bit of a thing for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe. Who wouldn’t want to dress like a future queen, after all? I love finding out what she’s wearing and then tracking down the item myself! When Kate appeared in Grimsby wearing a new dress last week, I logged onto the amazing Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WhatKateWore, where the community had located the dress within minutes of her appearance. So, I had to bag one for myself (on sale at www.greatplains.co.uk). Here’s the result!
I decided to pair it with a couple of other Kate-related items, my L.K. Bennett Sliver sandals in taupe (bought from the outlet store in Portsmouth, now renamed as the Sandy) and my L.K. Bennett Natalie clutch (still available from the site).
I love these shoes – had them resoled as the leather soles are pretty delicate. It’s sooo cold here at the moment though that it’s impossible to wear them out anywhere, so for once I’m actually looking forward to the warmer months!
The Natalie clutch is an item I’ve been lusting after for a long time, so I decided to break down and treat myself last month. I’m glad I did, because it goes perfectly with my sandals, and my nude heels that I bought from M&S. I did try on a pair of Kate’s beloved Sledges, but sadly they are too dark a shade to really be ‘nude’ on me, so I bought the much cheaper pair from the Autograph range – practically identical in every way, expect a better match for me! (And comfy too!)
Do you follow Kate’s fashions? Ever bought anything she was seen wearing? Ever replicated one of her looks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if so!
Just up the road from my in-laws’ place is a great little antiques warehouse called Green’s Home Interiors, which is full of furniture, books, homewares, and a great vintage clothing section with jewellery, dresses, jackets and accessories. I decided to pop in and have a post-Christmas mooch around!
There were some truly amazing vintage jewellery sets there – check out these beauties!
I loved those giant golden bubble earrings from the ’80s at the front!
And check out this awesome red anchor necklace from the ’40s in this photo – it’s enormous!
They also have racks of real fur shrugs, jackets and stoles on display as well. My sister in law picked up a faux fur piece here once, but all of the older items seem to be real.
They also have a giant rack full of sequinned tops and jackets – very Dynasty! Or, Rita from Corrie…
Most of them were from the ’80s, but I found this amazing full length white dress from the ’50s – what a show-stopper!
I also found a really great ’70s cape and evening dress set – I actually loved this, which is weird, because I don’t usually go much for ’70s clothes, but this is just so unashamedly of its time that I couldn’t help admire it!
I loved this fur-collared jacket – stupidly forgot to check the price and details, but I thought I’d share the photo anyway.
I’ll leave you with some more photos of some amazing accessories – if you’re in the area, make sure you stop by to check it out!
You can find the site here, or find them on Rugby Road, Binley Woods, CV3 2AX.
I love Ascot Ladies’ Day… Let me revise this. I love wearing a hat in the company of other, well-dressed hat wearers. I just really, really, REALLY love hats. But, I never wear hats. If you knew me, you might be surprised how much I love hats, because of my general lack of headwear. So, Ascot Ladies’ Day is the day I pay a wedge of cash to someone to let me into a field wearing a hat, so I can feel no shame all day long for indulging in my frivolous love of hats.
As it’s Jubilee year, this was my hat of choice:
This is the Hobbs Britannia hat, and the moment I saw it in the paper, I had to have it. I bugged the hell out of the Hobbs customer service team until it was released, and as soon as it appeared on the site, I ordered it immediately. Then, it became the centrepiece of our grand scheme to colour co-ordinate for the day. I always go with two of my friends, Rachel and Lorraine, so it was decided that we should wear red, white and blue. I immediately bagged red, because it’s my favourite colour and I decided I needed an excuse to buy another red dress. I forgot I already had three. Rachel bagged white, and Lorraine went with blue. Then, we decided to each have one accessory with the Union flag on it. I already had my hat, so shoes and a bag were the obvious choices. For my wedding, I actually wore a pair of Union flag shoes, so Lorraine decided to track a pair down for herself.
Rachel bought a really cool Union flag purse by LDC (and it was so cool I had to buy one too), and we were all set… apart from the dresses. At first we were all going to buy the same dress in different colours, but the one we had in mind just needed too much alteration, and the blue and the red weren’t particularly strong. So, we abandoned that idea and Rachel ended up with a beautiful white ASOS dress (that she won in a competition!) and Lorraine borrowed another ASOS dress from me. I wound up buying a pretty lace dress from Pepperberry.
Hilariously, I spent ages before the event agonising over whether everyone else would be wearing this hat, because I’d seen it in the press a lot after I bought it, and it was a fairly obvious choice considering even the venue was decked out in the flag to celebrate the Jubilee – but no one else was wearing it. Someone else did have on the exact same dress as me, though… Typical!
Here are Rachel and Lorraine – I cleverly cut off Lorraine’s amazing shoes, because I’m awesome at photography!
If anyone has any other British hat-wearing events they can recommend to me, please do!