From the monthly archives: "November 2015"


This year has been an epic one in the horse racing world. We finally, after at 37 year drought had a Triple Crown winner in American Pharoah. Of course the horses themselves take the cake but we still can’t help but put some of the spotlight on the well dressed ladies at all three races.

Fashion at the Races has been attending each of the three Triple Crown races for 3 years now. In that short amount of time, there has already been a drastic difference in the level of fashion worn on track. More ladies are adorning themselves in hats or fascinators, more women are attending the races in classic silhouettes, and more girls are choosing an elegant approach over the night-club look.

triple crown

We are very excited to see each and everyone of you put so much effort into each of your racing outfits and show it off at the Longines Most Elegant Woman contests. It is getting so much harder to pick only one winner of their gorgeous Conquest Classic Timepiece- but that is a great thing.

As you all know, each race has its own style trend. The Derby is the Southern and most feminine out of all three jewels. The Preakness Stakes then completely contradicts that lady-like style with a party girl type vibe. We wrap up the series with the New York black and white inspired fashion at the Belmont Stakes.

See What Bri Mott Wore for all three styles up close.

bri mott

The ladies did not disappoint this year with some fabulous fashion and hats to match. We had full fields (like that horse lingo?) of ladies lining up for their chance to strut on the fashion stage to compete for the Longines title.

If you haven’t already, check out our full galleries of all the fashion and horse racing fun. Our photographer Joe Lyman from LymanDVM Photography caught some amazing shots on and off the track.

Belmont Fashion at the Races Longines Most Elegant Woman Contest contestants

Royalty, Top Hats and Top Horses… All eyes are on Royal Ascot this week!

This week is one of the most anticipated racing festivals throughout the world. Royal Ascot has caught the attention of not only horse racing fans, but fashion fanatics, and world travelers alike.royal ascot

In 1711, Queen Anne went for a ride on her horse near Windsor Castle and came upon a wide open area and in her own words thought “it looked ideal for horses to gallop a full stretch.” This spot, called East Cote at the time is where Queen Anne saw the potential for a racecourse, Ascot Racecourse.

Few racecourses match the rich heritage and history of Ascot Racecourse. Saratoga, which is America’s oldest active race track opened its doors in 1983, a good decade and a half after that of Ascot.

royal enclosure

Royal Enclosure crowd 1907

What Queen Anne wants, Queen Anne gets. Later that year, the first race meet at Ascot was held. The inaugural event was named Her Majesty’s Plate which offered 100 Guineas to the winner and open to any horse mare or gelding over six years of age. The starting field each carried 12 stone and were all English Hunters, very different from today’s speedy Thoroughbreds.

The first permanent structure built on the course was completed in 1794 by a local Windsor builder. The building held 1,650 people and was used for almost fifty years. In 1813, the courses importance reached Parliament who passed the Act of Enclosure which ensured that the racetrack would be kept and used as such for the public in the future.  Queen Anne’s involvement in the track’s beginnings is also preserved with the tradition of opening Royal Ascot with the Queen Anne Stakes.

The actual origin of the Royal Meeting is unclear; however historians think that the event evolved from the first four day meeting that took place in 1768. The race meeting as it is known today only really began when The Gold Cup was introduced in 1807. The Gold Cup remains the feature race on the third day of the Royal Ascot meet  which is also the busiest day of the meet and known as “Ladies Day.”

Queen horses

Although the track was started by a Queen and located on Royal soil (six miles from Windsor Castle), the track itself is managed by a representative appointed by the Monarch. The Queen herself stays very involved in both the track and the horse racing world. As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, the Queen’s horses have stayed competitive at the Royal Meet. You are able to identify her horses by her racing colors: purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves, and black velvet cap with gold fringe. These are the same silks of King Edward VII. During Royal Ascot, each day the Royal Family arrives via horse drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place prior to the first race and the raising of the Queen’s Royal Standard (flag). During the meet the Queen presents the Gold Cup and The Diamond Jubilee

At the Present meet, nine of all of Great Britain’s 32 Grade 1 Stakes races are run.  There are three different enclosures for the guests to attend with the Royal Enclosure being the most prestigious of the three which is where the Royal Family resides.  Access to the Royal Enclosure is restricted with high security. First time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure Office and gain membership from someone who has had attended within the last four years. Dress code in this area is strictly enforced, down to the size of your hat base which is required by both gentlemen and ladies.

Over 300,000 people attend Royal Ascot each year making it Europe’s best-attended race meeting. If the quality of horses and races haven’t caught the publics eyes, the fashion sure will. More press covers the fashion during the meet than the races themselves. From the good, the bad, and the just plain ridiculous both men and women dress to the nines for a fabulous day at the races. Whichever your interest, Royal Ascot is an event worth putting on the bucket list.  Chip Chip  Cheerio- Off to the races we go!


The Derby Trail offers many wonderful races but it is hard to say which is the best. *Cough* #LADerby *Cough* Just a few minutes outside of the vibrant streets of downtown New Orleans, Fair Ground Racecourse offers a relaxed and fun day at the races. On this particular day, everyone dresses their best and grabs a cocktail (or two) to watch the talented group of three year old colts compete for points toward their spot in the Kentucky Derby gate.

If you don’t already have something to do on Saturday March 28th, pack up the Prius and head to #NOLA for a fun and fashionable day at the races!

With only a few days to go we’ve hit up our inside source, Paige Marcinek Albarado (just hitched!) for her take on the big day.

What is it that you do at Fair Grounds?derby draw

I have the best job at the Fair Grounds doing Horsemen’s Relations. My job is similar to a liaison for owners, trainer, jockeys, or any backside employee. I love getting to see all the new faces and the old who have now become my friends.

Why is the #LADerby so special?

The Louisiana Derby is special for many reason but the number one reason is to earn points for the Kentucky derby.

What is the fashion like?

The fashion for LA derby is very eclectic as with any crowd of that size but everyone steps up there game for The Louisiana Derby. We get to see a lot of fabulous outfits and hats.

We couldn’t be more excited for the hat contest! What do you expect this year?

We see a lot of tasteful homemade hats. I think this year we will see a lot of colorful hats!

What would be your tips to the contestants?

My tip for the contest is go big or go home. That doesn’t apply  just to the size of the hat or fascinator but also the boldness.

Off the record, what is your favorite cocktail at the races?

My favorite cocktail at the races is Vodka and ginger-ale with a splash of cranberry and don’t forget to garnish with a lemon and lime. This is my favorite drink of choice because it taste fantastic and is on the lighter side! It is very light in color just in case you spill. The ginger-ale prevents any kind of stomachache. Just for a little added fun it is a very light pink color for all my diva’s out there.

If someone was heading to Fair Grounds for the first time what would you want to tell them?

For someone heading to the Fair Grounds for the first time I would have to recommend sitting in our clubhouse and eating all of our amazing food while betting the races. New Orleans is known for having some of the best food around so don’t miss out on an opportunity to eat.

Lastly, what will YOU be wearing?!?!

I am still trying to decide between two Trina Turk dress for Louisiana Derby Day. One being a purple strapless sweetheart cut dress and the other is a fun yellow wiggle dress!

 Where to Stay and What to Do:

From Bri Motthotel monteleon

The Louisiana Derby is right around the corner. Having been to New Orleans for the races before I can give you a few pointers on how to enjoy your racing as well as destination to the fullest.

Spend the extra buck and book a hotel down in the French Quarter. You are only a short taxi ride away from the track and a walk from everywhere else. You will thank me! Hotel Monteleone is a gorgeous staple of New Orleans and also a proud partner of Fair Grounds Race Course. Gorgeous chandeliers will greet you right after the AMAZING door men open the door. (Trust me they will make your experience a happy one!) If the gorgeous chandeliers and charismatic doormen aren’t enough to peek your interest, just wait until I describe the Carousel Bar and Lounge! Around for 65 years and covered in various magazines and travel shows, this one of a kind bar is something that you need to see.

Regardless where you stay, stop in the Hotel Monteleone and experience a cocktail with unique and one of a kind surroundings.  Yes, you probably need to fight for a seat but your wait will be rewarded. Grab your go-to cocktail or be adventurous and try something new! I tried one with raw eggs in it and have no regrets!carousel-bar-lounge-new-orleans-hotel-bar-732x428

Be sure to chat it up with the person behind the bar, and the fellow drinker next to you. The interaction is as good as the cocktail as everyone in New Orleans is there to have a good time. Need a conversation starter?? Tell them you are there for the horse races! Everyone wants to learn about horse racing and how you are involved whether it be as a fan, an owner, a jock, a trainer, or just a little happy fashion blogger.

If you are attending the races on a Saturday, make sure you leave time on Friday and even Sunday to explore the area. Visit Café du Monde and enjoy their famous Beignets. Too busy? Get on the street car and travel down the famous St. Charles Avenue. Stop midway and find the New Orleans Coffee and Beignet Company and grab one there! See the grand old southern homes with their constantly glowing lamps and unique architecture. If you think you’ve gone too far, just hop off, walk a little and catch it on the way back.

Of course there is the famous Bourbon Street to visit. Where to go? Well pretty much anywhere. Hop in a spot with a live band. Grab a cocktail, (even if it is in a plastic cup), and boogie! Pet the Police Horse (asking first of course) and watch out for flying beads!

Heading down to #NOLA for the Louisiana Derby st charlescouldn’t get any better. With amazing culture, people, and of course race day- it is a destination to be appreciated.

Last tip- TALK to you taxi drivers. Ask them how they are. Where they are from. If they love New Orleans. If they have been to the races. Tell them about your horses or who your favorite jockey is. They will appreciate it and they will give you wonderful insiders’ tips of the areas. Put that phone down and interact!!

See you at #NOLA and of course the #LADerby! Couldn’t be more excited 😉

Miss Megan Devine will help you get ready for the Louisiana Derby

Ah, New Orleans. A wonderful place where you can eat beignets and po’boys on a balcony, while the sound of Dixieland music echoes off the walls of Bourbon Street. The city is full of life, at every hour, and plays host to many exciting events including the notorious Mardi Gras celebrations. One of the city’s special events will occur at the Fairgrounds Racetrack on March 28th, when some of the top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will run in the Louisiana Derby, a prep race for the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

If you’re thinking about attending the Louisiana Derby, we’d like to help you plan the perfect outfit. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for a fashionable day of racing in New Orleans:NOLA

  1. Hot and bothered
    1. Always take the weather into account when planning your attire. For most of the year, New Orleans is humid and warm. Make sure your outfit is made out of a material that is relatively breathable. Heavy or itchy clothing is the last thing you’ll want to deal with during a great day of racing on the Mississippi River.
  2. A horse of a different color
    1. Black, gold, purple, and green are the colors of New Orleans. Incorporate any or all of these colors in your outfit and you’ll have fans chanting “who dat?” in no time! Want to add a little texture to your outfit? Feathers and beads are also involved in Mardi Gras culture and celebrations. So, if there were any time to wear that bold or unusual outfit, it would be Louisiana Derby day.
  3. Fleur-de-lis
    1. The symbol of the city of New Orleans (and the NFL’s Saints). This term literally means “lily flower”. The Louisiana Derby is the perfect time to break out your bold floral prints. Many of the hats and fascinators in the Fashion at the Races store have flowers. So, what are you waiting for? Go there to find your perfect millinery now!
  4. Don’t drop your pocket
    1. Just kidding, that’s not actually a thing. But you want to know what is? The possibility of you losing your personal belongings after a few hurricanes (the drink, not the weather event) and a night on Bourbon Street. Consider choosing a dress with pockets. This way, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of a purse. They’ll come in handy both during and after the races. Trust me.
  5. Spring fever
    1. Yes, this is an actual medical condition. The symptoms? Brightened moods, positive attitude and increased vitality caused by the longer, sunnier days of spring. Embrace this seasonal epidemic and wear whatever makes you smile!

The last leg of the Triple Crown is almost here! What an exciting raceday with yet another Triple Crown Contender fighting for that long lost trophy. Will you be cheering for American Pharoah to cross that finish line first?? We sure will! belmont stakes

Well enough of the horse racing…on to the fashion! The last jewel of the Triple Crown means its the last Longines Fashion Contest of the summer here in the United States. Women from all over will compete in their best dressed fashion to win a gorgeous Conquest Classic Timepiece worth upwards of $5,000! kelyl davisBeautiful two-toned metal with diamonds surrounding the face, why wouldn’t you want to dress up and strut your stuff?!

Similar to last year, the Longines Most Elegant Woman competition will take place to the left of the paddock area under the white Longines tent. Fashion at the Races’ Bri Mott will be walking around the track finding fashionable ladies dressed in their raceday best and inviting them to compete.

The actual competition will begin at 1:30pm where the 20 finalists will be chosen by the panel of celebrity judges. This years judges include Pro NFL star (NY Giants) Chris Snee, Miss New York Iman Oubou and famous morning show personality Tom Murro.

From the 20 best dressed, only one woman will walk away with the gorgeous timepiece and the title of the Belmont Stakes Most Elegant Woman.

Looking for your own Longines Timepiece? Click here to check out their gorgeous collection.

Winning Tips:

1. Smile! This is a competition but its still fun! No woman looks elegant with a puss on her face.

2. Leave the floppy hats for the beach and short skirts for th e nightclub. This is the horse races! Be Elegant!

3. Black and White is the trend for Belmont. You don’t have to follow up- but it definitely won’t hurt ya!

4. Wear shoes that you can walk in! Heels are preferred…but not if you wobble across the stage.

5. Make sure that your accessories tie into your outfit. It shows you took pride and put effort into the raceday and the judges always appreciate that!

Have fun ladies and can’t wait to see what you’ve picked out for the big day!

I’ve been blessed enough to witness some wonderful Breeders Cup races with my first ever being Zenyatta’s in 2010 at Churchill Downs (who was sadly beaten by Blame but who talks about that part…).

breeders Cup

My friend Robert and I at Churchill Downs in 2010

That first year I really had no idea about racing except that the horses turned left (they could have gone the wrong way and I may not have noticed) and that you eat, bet, drink, and probably drink some more.

I wore jeans and a green military jacket with the same brown scarf I still frequently wear. I drove down from Penn State with 5 other people and we all bunked in a seedy motel in Indiana – because us college kids couldn’t afford the prices in Louisville close to Churchill Downs.

Although this sounds far from fun, I have to say this was one of my most favorite racing experiences.  Not knowing anything about who’s the who of trainers, which jockey has the best stats, and of course who the ‘favorites’ were made my racing experience the most carefree and fun its ever been. I was there to enjoy the atmosphere with friends and enjoy the sport, regardless of my level of knowledge. They do say that ignorance is bliss!

zenyatta 2

Pardon the quality…it was a Razor flip phone camera…


I still have this sign rolled up somewhere.

Much time has passed since that weekend and a lot in my life has changed including my first hopes of being an Equine vet to now my happy job of making sure that people enjoy the sport that I do! With that passing of time came an increase in racing experience and knowledge.  I am definitely no handicapper but at least I now know what direction the horses go, how to read a program, and who’s who, of course.

This is an important memory for me because so many in the horse racing industry say that we can’t have fans because the sport is too hard to learn. I was a fan and I knew nothing- and that was because of the experience.

I have attended the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita the last few years and Fashion at the Races has played a large role in the fashion world there. To have the event in city that I live and adore makes this years a bit more exciting.

Keeneland has it’s own level of fashion, famous for equestrian boots, scarves, and dresses. In the past it has not been very fascinator or hat heavy but we have seen a change between last year and this year with more ladies wearing millinery. I still hear some ladies say, “I’m not wearing a hat because it’s not what people do at Keeneland,” but then hear that others are excited to dress up and sport headwear during the special weekend. I of course will be rocking a piece both days and couldn’t be more excited to do so. It will be interesting to see the level of millinery at this years event and I applaud the ladies that break the mold and wear a hat or fascinator to Keeneland.

This is also the first ‘fall racing’ event that Fashion at the Races will be apart of. I think in the U.S. ladies struggle with dressing up in the cold- (the Irish could teach us a thing or two here). We are so comfortable in our leggings and Uggs (yep I said it) that when it becomes a dressy affair and there is a chill outside, many ladies do not have the attire or the knowledge/effort to dress comfy and be fashionable at the same time.

bri boho

My first Keeneland Fall ensemble as FATR

It has been exciting to hear women of all ages talking about coats, and faux fur, scarves, fashion gloves, and of course hats. We have worked hard to bring the Elegance back to the racetracks and this weekend will prove that the FATR ‘movement’ is working.

Teaming up with Longines once again, I will host the Longines Prize of Elegance competition. It is one of my favorite things to see well dressed ladies and gents proud of their outfits and showing them off. They are obviously there for the horse races first but they also dressed to impress- and we are the last sporting event to be able to do that. Hashtag… Proud. ###

The best thing about Keeneland is although the dress code is only in the clubhouse- EVERYONE will be dressed up. No, there might not be heels and hats on each lady, but you won’t see the gym t-shirts and ripped jeans. Each man and woman will be dressing for a day at the races. Hashtag…Proud again.#####

The amazing people at Keeneland and at Breeders Cup did cap the attendance but for good reason. They want the EXPERIENCE to be a wonderful one for everyone- not just the Trophy Lounge or the Clubhouse Chalets.

This is how we attract fans to our sport- not from the TV and not from an online betting game. Get them to the races and show them a good time- that is what happened to me and why I am still here….and here to stay.

We are almost half way through the photo shoots for our 2016 Calendar. We’ve already had a few star models in our shoots including Will Take Charge, Scat Daddy, and oh, who was that horse?? TAPIT!Fashion at the Race Calendar Shoot

This is our third year that we are putting together the Fashion at the Races Calendar and it always seems to creep up on us. Putting together 12 different looks, with different models, different horses and farms?? I promise it is not that easy to do, but when we are finally out there next to the gorgeous Thoroughbred in well dressed fashion it all becomes worth it very quickly.

This past weekend we just finished up a shoot with a yearling filly who is the full sister to the stallion Hansen who we featured in our first Calendar. She had such a sweet disposition and didn’t shy from the camera or the model whose feathered hat was right at eye level. She was even kind enough to let our model, who spend some quality time with her earlier in the week, walk her down a pathway in five inch heels. Stay tuned for the chosen photo that will appear in the Calendar but here are a few sneak peaks to give you an idea of the pure beauty of this shoot. This filly will pass through the Keeneland September Sale and looks to bring the big bucks. Can’t wait to see what she brings to the racetrack! Keep an eye out folks- we can then say a “Fashion at the Races Graduate.” (Horse people might be the only ones to get that…)

Hansen's half sister

Well we were at Gainesway, we of course needed to visit the champion sire himself, Tapit. This White Knight has sired (fathered) 17 grade one winners with over $80 million in winnings. He is a proud father of a lot of star racehorses folks! He is now 14 years old but still siring over 130 mares each year at a prices of $300,000 each. Do the math people! 135 x $300k = its so big I can’t even type it.

Gainesway Fashion at the Races Tapit

He was such a gem for his shoot, so much to the point that he really didn’t care at all and I was leaping up and down to try and get him to pay attention and put his ears up. He stood there like a statue and chewed on his lead waiting until it was over. He gave us the tude “been there, done that.” If you have never seen the stallion copmlex at Gainesway Farm, you won’t be able to appreciate the beauty from these photos alone. They will have tours opening in the near future so keep an eye out- you will NOT be disappointed.


These were only two of our shoots so far but hopefully this gives you an idea of what actually happens behind those photos. Its not a stale process- we usually are swooning over the horse and then finally get down to business to get a few good shots. Of course I sneak in there and get a selfie for my own collection (and bragging rights). I can’t thank the farm and the people who work there enough for allowing us to invade their space. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes stories.

Thank you to Gainesway Farm including Lester, Carlos, and Karl. Thank you to Dr. Kendall Hansen and his gorgeous wife Anastasia. As always, thank you to DryArt Lexington for making our models even more beautiful than they already are and to Joe Lyman of LymanDVM Photography for putting up with all of my tardiness and disorganization- oh and the fabulous photos!!!

 Fashion at the Races Calendar Shoot Fashion at the Races Tapit Gainesway Farm

We are just one week away from the Arlington Million where Fashion at the Races will be on site to find the Most Fashionable Lady on track.

This is one of my favorite racedays to go to. Arlington Park is a big gorgeous track just thirty minutes outside the bustling city fashion12of Chicago. I first attended this track about 5 years ago, and already in that short time we have seen the fashion go from casual, to racing chic! Its only been three years since FATR helped move the contest from just a hat line up (yes jeans were worn) to a full on fashion contest. The women who attend the Arlington Million really do bring their A-Game for the big day. We had vintage fashion, modern, and all together unique!

Ladies vary their hat choices from the traditional Kentucky Derby Hat, to the fun fascinator but last year was the first year that not one contestant was hatless! Very impressive Arlington!

This year we have a vintage maven on the judging panel. I’m so excited to have Rachel Jensen from Chicago Chic Blog sitting on the judging panel with me. My love of vintage plus the envy of her pin-up look might have me a little speechless when I get to meet her in person. She is getting a fab fascinator made from one of our fabulous milliners, Milli Starr. Stay tuned for her finished look!

So what should you wear??

Rule number one: Dress to Impress. This is already Chicago’s biggest raceday and will have amazing races on the day. The Fashion Contest just adds to the hype already and we want to get some fabulous pictures of your racing fashion!

Make sure your dress choice is suited for a day at the races, and not the nightclub afterwards. Show some leg but not all your thighs! Midi lengths are perfect for the races  (especially for us tall gals) but just make sure your dress is long enough that you could sit comfortably and get a picture taken.

“Dresses should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you are a lady.” Love that quote and I live by it.

fashion19Of course you should grab some fabulous millinery! The contest is not picking the person who spent the most money on their outfit so don’t think you need to break the bank on the headwear. However, a great hat or fascinator is what will make your outfit complete. We have budget fascinators available on our site as well as couture millinery. Either way, make sure it ties into your outfit. No black dresses and black shoes with a red fascinator and that’s it. We want to see you tie it all together and show that you put thought and effort into your outfit! Check out Bri Mott’s past outfits for inspiration.

When you are walking in front of the judges at the contest, don’t fly by! Strut your stuff, smile and make eye contact…and have fun! This is once a year at Arlington and it is your time to shine! Don’t be nervous (I know its not that easy…) but you are not the only gal up there and you’re all up there for a reason! To have fun, show off your outfit…and maybe win big!

See the details of the competition here and get excited. Can’t wait to see you all at Arlington and we shall toast champagne when it’s all over!!fashion56

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