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Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition couple

We were so excited to be a part of the Longines Most Elegant Woman competition at the Preakness Stakes. Women really made the judges job hard this year as they all looked so elegant and fabulous! Over fifty women found in the Corporate Village at Pimlico lined up on the Longines Fashion stage. Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition judges 3Each strut their stuff in front of the judges which included Longines Vice President Charles Villoz, Ms. Racing Queen Linsey Toole, and our own racing fashion expert, Bri Mott. It was a bit of a debate to narrow the lovely dressed ladies down to the Top Ten Most Elegant Ladies. From a wide array of fashion choices including big brimmed hats, feather fascinators, and sinamay hatinators, the style varied at the Preakness but the #TripleCrownTrends prevailed! The winner was in a bright fun printed green coat paired with a feather fascinator and smart wedged heels.Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition top ten finalists Lacey Johansson from Baltimore Maryland comes to the Preakness every year. This year in particular she put together the outfit that won her a gorgeous Conquest Classic timepiece as the Most Elegant Woman. On a visit to New Orleans, she found a hat shop, the Fleur De Paris and met Kimberly Gondrella who constructed this green fun feathered piece just for her. The colorful hat that received so many compliments was from Las Vegas from Desigual. Since it had poured the day before and we were in a grassy area, Lacey went smart with a pair of gold Steve Madden wedged heels. Finishing off the look with a Michael Kors purse that brought out the bright greens in her coat and hat. It’s tough not to touch upon her gorgeous green eyes that really were the staple of her whole color coordination! Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition 24     Bri Mott caught her for a quick interview:

What brought you to the races on Saturday? Preakness is just about my favorite day in Baltimore. I have been going to the Black Eyed Susan races for a girls day with my mom, godmother, and Aunt ever since I was a baby. It has become an annual tradition. I started going to the Preakness when I was 17 years old. It is a wonderful event that I always look forward to and as a bonus I get to see a ton of people that I want to catch up with all in one place.

Will you attend Belmont? I am actually looking at buying tickets. I would love to see a Triple Crown winner in person.

Were you rooting for California Chrome? Absolutely. I had the #3 and the #10 in an exacta and the #3 to win.Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition winning watch conquest classic

What would be your advice to women dressing for their next raceday? Raceday is an opportunity to dress out of the box in something you typically wouldn’t wear. I always look for unique pieces that really stand out. I think a hat or fascinator really tops off the outfit. I always find my dress first and then look for the hat afterwards however I think I am doing that backwards. Since the hat is the statement piece it may be easier to buy the hat first and then find the outfit. Also, if you are going to Preakness then wedges are key given the surface you are walking on.

What would be your advice to ladies entering any future Longines competitions?

Be original and find something unique.

What do you love most about your Longines watch?

I love the rose gold and diamonds on my Longines watch. This watch is an extremely elegant timepiece and is a piece of jewelry to accessorize a special occasion outfit.

Longines Most Elegant Woman Competition winner 3

Lacey won this beautiful Conquest Classic timepiece from Longines and was presented the piece in the Winner’s Circle at Pimlico Racecourse. Here’s a great video that showcases the great day:   Congratulations to Lacey and to Longines for a successful Most Elegant Woman competition! We aren’t far from the Belmont Stakes where Longines will again be looking for the Most Elegant Woman on the day!

This years Belmont Stakes will bring upon the highest fashion that is has showcased in years. With the hope of a Triple Crown winner through California Chrome, the grandstand will not have a dry seat in the house. Ladies and gents will all be dressing their best for the big day, snapping photos to save the memories of being on the grounds where history could be written.

Media and press will be on its toes running around trying to capture the social aspect of the day as well as the horse racing athletics. Fashion at the Races will have two photographers on the day to make sure we don’t miss any well dressed ladies and gents. PageLines- belmontstakes2.jpg

As the Official Timekeeper of the Triple Crown and of course the most fashionable watch at the races, Longines will again be looking for the Most Elegant Woman on the Day. Our Bri Mott will be walking the grounds choosing the best dressed on site and inviting them to the competition that will take place at 1:00pm right outside the paddock (by the white seating area). At 1pm the Top 20 will be chosen and celebrity judges  will choose the Longines Most Elegant Woman and she will be awarded a Conquest Classic Timepiece.

Don’t forget the major trend on the day: Monochrome in Black and White style. Bring the inspiration from the metropolitan area that is New York City! Become a New Yorker on the day and grab that starbucks, dress in black, and walk like your heading to the most important meeting. 😉 Check out our Belmont Lookbook for inspiration!

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Different ways to sport the monochrome trend are full black or full white, or mix and the two in a modern print. Want to get a little crazy? Mix Black and white prints that would most of the time seem opposite. For example: A polka-dot top paired with a black and white striped skirt. If you want a pop of color, add a birght colored clutch or Arturo Riospair of shoes. A bold lip color or nail color is also a great way to set your monochrome outfit off!

Cheers to the chance at a Triple Crown Winner! Good luck to California Chrome and all his connections. We at Fashion at the Races will be rooting for you….in a fashionable way! 😉

Congratulations to the Longines Most Elegant Woman: Kelly Davis!Kelly Davis Longines Most Elegant Woman Belmont Stakes

It is definitely a tough feat to win a Longines Conquest Classic Timepiece. Belmont Stakes may have been the hardest out of all three of the Triple Crown Jewels. With the New York City Fashion just flowing to the racetrack, each lady dressed their best with an attitude. No race’s fashion portrayed it better than Belmont Stakes: Elegance with an Attitude. Bri Mott caught up with the Longines Most Elegant Woman, Kelly Davis from NYC.

Tell me full details on your outfit from hat to shoes, where you purchased etc. (tell about making your hat).

  •  My jumpsuit is from a small boutique on the upper west side in NYC: ShiShi. Interestingly enough, I have a horrible time trying to find jumpsuits and rompers that fit my frame (hello girls with hips!). A friend recommended I try this place, and within 15 minutes I was sold not only on the jumpsuit, but a few other outfits as well. Enter this boutique at your own risk!


  • The wrap belt is black python leather and is also from ShiShi—that’s another dangerous thing about this boutique, they accessorize your entire outfit before you can even look in the mirror. Really now, you have been warned.


  • As I mentioned during the Longines competition, the thoroughbred brooch I wore is a family heirloom. We have owned horses since before I was even born. I was that kid who grew up with an actual pony.
  • Wedges: Levity from DSW. I did stilettos last year, and learned my lesson.
  •  Pearl bracelet (for that dash of traditionalism): Givenchy
  • Rings: an eclectic mix from artists all over NYC. Check out the East Village on Bowery (near 6th Ave) during Saturday afternoons, and eat your heart out.
  • White clutch to break up the all-black outfit and to highlight the white accent flowers in my hat: From the boutique, Francesca’s. Some great style of your own here, Bri! (***Bri Mott and Kelly sported the same clutch!!)

And the pièce de résistance: My hat. I started designing my own hats last year when I couldn’t find a design I liked for a price I was willing to pay. However, finding basic sinamay hats that you won’t feel terrible making revisions to and that your wallet can handle is quite the tall order. Enter the tiny hat store, LaCrasia in Grand Central Terminal. They have beautiful hats ranging from extravagant millinery to simple sinamay hats that I could build upon. I originally spotted a lavender hat I wanted to wear this year, but by the time I went back to purchase it, it was gone (now that I think about it, divulging the name and location of my secret hat store may not have been the best idea!). However, the black hat was my second choice, and it ended up being exactly what I needed.

For this hat, I used simple silk flowers, black glitter tulle, lots of craft adhesive, and hours of hand sewing. From my lost lavender hat, and also to pay tribute to California Chrome, I wanted the centerpiece of the hat décor to be bright purple flowers. The white roses were a tribute to the white carnation blanket they give to the winning horse at the Belmont, and the red accent flowers were drawn from the plaid bow tie I picked out for my boyfriend and Belmont escort (dressing up is so much more fun in pairs!).

Arranging flowers on a hat is a lot like arranging flowers in a vase. You don’t want the same colors all clustered together, leaves should be used as accents, and adding a ribbon makes everything better!

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What brought you to the races on Saturday?

Two words: Triple Crown! Well, let’s be serious, I would have been there regardless. I’m a country girl at heart, and will do anything to get around horses. The Belmont has become a bit of a tradition since living here in NYC.


Was this your first Belmont?

This was my second Belmont, but first Belmont Stakes with a Triple Crown contender. I knew they would be different experiences, but I could not have imagined the energy of Saturday’s Belmont. The crowd was so electric. And good heavens, the betting took forever, so I was able to save some money!


Will you attend other race days?

Absolutely. I would even like to attend other racetracks such as the Saratoga Race Course. New York has an incredibly rich history when it comes to horse racing. I don’t see how I can live in New York City and not explore all the tracks! As for the next big race, I would like to attend The Breeder’s Cup in California this fall. All in racetrack style of course.

Judges and winner Longines Fashion Contest Most Elegant Woman

Were you rooting for California Chrome?

I grew up reading the stories of Triple Crown winners and famous horses, especially my all-time favorite horse, and in my opinion the greatest that ever lived, Man O’War (whose owner the Belmont Stakes was named after!). To watch a triple crown won in person would be a literal childhood dream come true—I don’t know how you could NOT cheer for the contender! But besides all the Triple Crown business, the story behind California Chrome is so heart-warming, and it really brings us back to the simple love, respect, and admiration of these incredible horses instead of seeing them as a business to win a large purse off of. So to answer your question, I was absolutely cheering for Chrome (he even follows me on Instagram now!).

Kelly Davis Longines Most Elegant Woman Belmont Stakes 4

What would be your advice to women dressing for their next raceday?

Well, if they are reading Fashion at the Races, they are already in the right spot for inspiration. I definitely checked this blog out when compiling my own getup! But as for my own advice, I would say to merge the traditional with the modern. We get dressed up for the races because it is a tradition born from a beautiful history, but at the same time, it is 2014! Do not be afraid to try something new and incorporate some new trends that are currently popular (hello jumpsuit!). Also, if you can’t find it, then make it! Original is always the way to go, why do you think couture is known as the epitome of fashion? Finally, pay extra attention to the details. The actual star of my outfit was the brooch, not even my hat!


What would be your advice to ladies entering any future Longines competitions?

The Longines motto is “Elegance is an Attitude.” Channel that elegance and dash some attitude on top ladies! And to sound completely cliché: have fun. There is absolutely no reason to be nervous, the Longines group is quite possibly the sweetest on Earth.


What do you love most about your Longines watch?

If you love horses, then right out of the gate, you love Longines. But now, after being an official Longines watch owner for a whole 48 hours—of which I have not taken the watch off—I would definitely say the trademark elegance is my favorite part. It is shiny without being gaudy, sparkly without being flashy, and sweet mother of pearl, the face of the watch is stunning! If I walked into a Longines store, this is the precise watch I would have picked out—it really feels like this watch was made specifically for me. Thank you Longines!

Kelly Davis Longines Most Elegant Woman Belmont Stakes 2

As a first year attendee of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack right outside of Toronto, Ontario, I can’t say that I was disappointed in the least. I have woodbinebeen a fan of what Woodbine has promoted the past two years with the Hats and Horseshoes Party. It is the perfect example of what a racetrack can do not only to increase attendance, but also to increase the effort  that attendees put into their outfits for the day.flare lounge From start to finish, everyone was such a joy to be around, from the professionals at the track to the everyday attendees. When we first arrived, the main entrance of Woodbine was definitely a site to take in. After we got our excitement together, looking to my left I saw the walking ring. It was interesting to take in as it almost seemed off-track. However, the walking ring was surrounded by the Hats and Horseshoes Party with tables and chairs, a main stage with a band, a red carpet for stylish attendees to get their picture taken and David Dunkley’s tent which was the temporary housing to so many beautiful millinery pieces. If you kept walking around the back of the walking ring, you passed colorful food trucks with the tempting and amazing aromas of the food being cooked inside. Passing all those (reluctantly) led me to the most stylish party in Toronto at the VIP Flare Magazine Tent. DJIf you weren’t invited to the party…you wanted to be! A fabulous greed hedge with the FLARE name built in, had everyone stopping to get their picture taken. Although it was a ‘private party,’ the best thing about it was many stylish attendees were invited from the Hats and Horseshoes area just because of their racing fashion! See ladies- you dressing up at the races will always pay off! The area had a D.J. pumping some fun house music with TV’s on each wall to let you enjoy the races just the same. A gorgeous white bar housed Grey Goose and Champs along with the official drink of thenails Queen’s Plate, the Blue Diamond. Delicious finger foods were brought around to keep your tummy happy but you still free to socialize. After you got your dance party on and had a few sips of your cocktail, you could get your hair done by the girls at the Pixii Salon. Forgot your fascinator? That’s okay- you could make one or have one made with flowers and a headband! Last but certainly not least, why not get your nails touched up by Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics! Even if you didn’t want your nails done, it was worth checking out the different names of their nail polish! (“Camel Toe” was one of them-just saying) hairdressers Betting stations within the tent allowed you to enjoy a day at the races outside of the grandstand. You could pick out your horses in the paddock, make a wager, be pampered, dance, drink, and just have a fabulous time! Racetracks in the U.S. need to talk note! (We may have to move to Woodbine otherwise 😉fascinators     Of course we need to put some focus on the race itself and Congratulate owner Gary Barber and all connections including trainer Mark Casse of the fabulous winning LADY of the Queen’s Plate. Lexie Lou took on the boys and showed them who’s boss and took home the biggest prize on the day…in pink silks we might add! Congratulations! Lexi Lou Thank you to all the people at Woodbine who created such a fantastic event. From the band, to the food trucks, to the FLARE Party tent-it was the perfect fashionable day at the races.   Don’t forget about the George Brown Millinery Competition.

One of the most well known “Opening Days” in American racing is held at Del Mar. Known as “Where the Turf meets the Surf,” Del Mar brings out the beachy style in young race fans! However just because the beach may be near by, that doesn’t mean you should be showing up in flip flops and a bathing suit cover. Instead give your racewear a beachy and fun vibe! Here’s how to do it: color for delmar

Rather than the flip flops-grab a fun and comfortable wedge. We are loving the wedges from BCBGMaxazria which are both flashy and practical.bcbg wede 2 bcbg wedgeThis metallic gold wedge with a Greek influence will have your feet traveling happy all day (especially with those Dr. Scholl’s Dream Walks added!).

helmut skirtLeave the LBD at home on this one. You want bright colors and flowing fabrics such as corals and chiffons. Enough of the “mullet” dresses already!! Not only does it dress you down but it also puts you in thecolor blocking “tweeny” world. Racewear is supposed to be elegant and classic with your modern stylish twist- enough of these dresses!

Besides the “mullet” dress, our last pet peeve is floppy hats for this raceday. A floppy hat is not proper raceday millinery and it most definitely brings your raceday style down a bit. If you have put the effort into your outfit with beautiful shoes, a great dress, and beachy waves in your hair-keep up the high style with a great sinamay hat or fascinator. Sinamay is the perfect millinery material for warmer days at the races. Many of the Derby hats that you are used to seeing is made from this material. Check out this hat by Studio 910.

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Statement necklaces will be a plenty on track and for good reason! A great way to incorporate more color and style into your raceday outfit. Dont’ get too matchy matchy but instead bring it in as a fun surprise! For your purse you may want a shoulder strap for this raceday. You’ll need both hands to hang on to your winning tickets and your beachy cocktails!!

statement necklace

Send us a picture of your raceday outfit via twitter!! @FashionatRaces

Galway’s Ladies Day offers some of the best fashion forward style at the races in Ireland. Ladies dress in vintage inspired clothing but put their modern spin on in it. Regardless of their choice of fashion, the ladies that will enter the “Best Dressed Person Competition” will be dressing to win!featured_All-the-Ladies-2012Last year, Rachelle Guiry from Limerick took home the Best Dressed Title (she also just won at the Curragh!) in a Ted Baker dress, vintage clutch, and Carol Kennelly Millinery. Her baby blues caught the judges eye and she stood out in her pastel outfit. Her skill of applying makeup (she is a talented make-up artist) probably didn’t hurt either! This year we will be seeing  a little bit less of the vintage wear and more towards the modern bits. Jumpsuits may be thrown in the mix which will have to be paired with some fabulous accessories and millinery to beat out the typical racewear. Bold prints and colors will be seen on track and hopefully will be paired with a sunny day and not the rain that last years Ladies Day brought. anthony ryans ltd galwayThis year the Best Dressed Person competition is sponsored by Anthony Ryan Ltd of Shop Street, Galway. Anthony Ryan Ltd. has a strong reputation for quality service and an unequalled variety of collections. Galway Ladies Day is famous for being stylish, vibrant, and chic. Ladies can also compete in the Best Hat category and for the Wear Irish  Award. …and the prizes! Oh the Prizes!! This year’s Anthony Ryans Best Dressed Lady will walk away with a one carat diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8500, a shopping spree worth €1500 in Anthony Ryan’s, Galway and €1000 cash. She will also receive a Lancôme Presentation Gift Hamper worth €500 and a corporate hospitality package for Galway Races October Bank Holiday Racing Festival. Celebrity stylist, author and TV presenter Lisa Fitzpatrick has been lined up to join the judging panel for the Anthony Ryans Best Dressed Lady competition at the Galway Races Ladies Day on Thursday 31st July 2014.bairbre power She will join fellow judges Bairbre Power, Fashion editor of the Irish Independent and PJ Gibbons, Editor of Social & Personal Magazine in selecting a winner from the crème de la crème of the fashion elite attending the busiest day of the Galway Races summer racing festival. (Information from Galway Races.) There is no formal or pre-entry for the competition. The judges will wander around and find well dressed ladies whom they will invite to compete. If you want to participate in this years competition, be sure to arrive early as the finalists will be chosen before 2:30pm. The winning outfits are usually announced at approximately 3.30pm. The prize giving ceremony will take place in the enclosure immediately after the 5th race. Here is last years winners: 1. Winner of Best Dressed: Rachelle Guiry 2. Winner of the Best Hat Competition,Alex Butler, Best dressed lady, Rachelle Guiry and winner of the Wear Irish Award, Aisling Maher.  winner-best-2013-15-199x300winner-best-2013-17-199x300Check out more information on the Galway Races website.

And They’re Off!

In the biggest single injection of punters to the Melbourne Cup, three cruise ships will carry a record number of cruise passengers to ‘the race that stops the nation’ this weekend.P&O Cruises Melbourne Cup - Event Cruising The first trifecta of ships to ever cruise from Sydney to the Cup, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl and sister line Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit will carry about 6000 guests between them, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of all people visiting Melbourne for Australia’s premier thoroughbred horse racing event. Each year an estimated 100,000 punters attend the Cup, and with all 6000 passengers receiving entry and transport to Flemington as part of their cruise fare, Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines, will contribute about five per cent of total race attendees on Tuesday. Having cruised to the Cup since 1969 when Orcades III first sailed to the event, P&O Cruises has this year cemented its place amongst the glamorous Spring Carnival festivities with its first VIP area at Flemington – the P&O Cruises Lawn. To send the ships off in style, and add a little horse power to Pacific Pearl before it races to the Cup, two miniature horses became the first to trot onto a cruise ship in Sydney Harbour today, posing with reigning Myer Fashions on the Field winner Chloe Moo. Ms Moo was wearing the latest designer racing trends which will feature in the inaugural Myer fashions at sea event on both P&O ships.P&O Cruises Melbourne Cup - Event CruisingPacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel will cruise for Melbourne at 4pm with guests set to enjoy a strong field of race-themed onboard activities ranging from fascinator-making classes to special guest speakers including legendary Melbourne Cup jockeys Wayne Harris and Malcolm Johnston and owner of Cup winning horse Rogan Josh, Wendy Green. Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the sell-out Melbourne Cup cruises were one of the most popular main event offerings, prompting the cruise operator to up the odds to include four ships next year. “Australians love cruising and sports and by combining the two, we know we’re backing a winner – that’s why we’re sending a record quaddie of ships next year, including all three P&O ships,” Ms Sherry said.P&O Cruises Melbourne Cup - Event CruisingP&O Cruises is as Australian as you can get so it’s no surprise that the race that stops the nation will also see the entire fleet come to a standstill in Melbourne in 2015.” P&O Cruises will also be sailing to the Australian Open in January and offering its inaugural cruise to Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival in March, 2015.

October 12th 2014 brings the next Ladies Day in Ireland.

(These ladies never get a break!…and yet they are ALWAYS fabulous!)


From the Limerick Racecourse website:

Keanes Jewellers Ladies day competition will take place on Sunday 12th October on Ladbrokes Munster National Day. A fantastic diamond ring to the value of €4,000 (over $5000 USD value)  sponsored by Keanes Jewellers is the main prize.   Second prize is a Shopping voucher to enjoy in the picturesque village of Adare, Co. Limerick. The ten finalists will each receive a goody bag with lots of lovely treats to enjoy!

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An all Limerick panel of judges have been confirmed for 2014 with Leanne Moore and Madeline Mulqueen selected as judges.  Read more about the great day of style and fashion or to book one of our excellent value hospitality packages here.

One of the leading hospitality options includes a decadent Afternoon Tea!! Why not spoil yourself with a day at the races on Sunday 12th October? Afternoon Tea package available in the Panoramic Restaurant all for only €39 per person! Enjoy a Prosecco reception on arrival and tantalise your taste buds with pastries, gorgeous homemade scones with preserves, delicious selection of freshly cut sandwiches and sweet bites; all gracing a three tier tea stand and accompanied with tea/coffee. The package includes admission, racecard, afternoon tea, reserved seating, waiter service, tote betting facility and Fashion Show with Aisling Maher Boutique.

limerick afternoon tea package

Where: Limerick Racecourse

When: Gates open at 12:30pm and first race is at 2:30pm

The Arlington Million was filled with fantastic racing as well as a fabulous hat contest. Just after race 3, stylish ladies gathered next to the Arlington Hat Contestpaddock and lined the stairs for their chance of being crowned the most stylish lady (and hat) at Arlington!

Thank you to Arlington Park, our own Bri was able to judge the contest along with the talented milliner Christine Moore. Here’s Briana’s take on the whole contest:

“It seemed like a whirlwind as we had hardly enough time to look  at all the well-dressedBriana from Fashion at the Races and Christine Moore ladies to choose a stand-out winner…but in the far left corner a floral dress stood out among the crowd. Truly, I wish we could have picked a first, second, and third, as there  was definitely more than one stand out ladies but out of the crowd this lady with a beautiful smile and a slight air of confidence but also being humble stood out.”

As Arlington Park’s reporter, Alyssa Ali, introduced the competition and both Bri and Christine, Bri went over to the most stylish lady in the competition and pulled her out of the line up to bring her to light! Renee McKeeighan from Naperville IL took the Arlington Park Prize Pack for the day and look gorgeous doing so!

Alrington Hat Contest Winner

She entered along with her daughter, Erin Orr, and wore the outfit that she had styled for the Kentucky Oaks (following our floral trend of course!) in a dress borrowed from her daughter!  Most of her shopping happens at Neiman Marcus which is wear to bought her hat, purse, and dress!  Her dress was a gorgeous design by Lela Rose which had a tan and pink/green floral print in an A-Line shape. Her nude patent leather shoes bought from Anne Taylor gave the outfit a little jazz without taking it away from total femininity. Her hat was the perfect amount of Brim as it gave her a millinery accent without unbalancing the outfit. Her daughter represented as well and also wore a Lela Rose Dress going for the more modern print (our trend for Arlington Park) with a smaller navy fascinator. Both looked gorgeous and were very excited to be apart of the raceday as well as the competition! Arlington Hat Contest Winner Renee McKeeighan and Fashion at the Races Bri Mott

“It was fantastic to pick someone with a stylish outfit from top to bottom that exemplified exactly what we are working toward at Fashion at the Races. We had women come up to us afterwards and say ‘Thank you so much for picking an actual stylish lady and not a homemade disaster.’ It was very refreshing to see that people are heading to the same direction we are! It can only get better from here!’

Thank you to everyone who put the time and effort into their outfit and competed in the Arlington Hat Contest…and Congratulations to Renee McKeeighan! Hopefully next year it will be changed to the Arlington Fashions on the Field…what do you think??


Check out a quick recap in a section of this video from WGN TV:

Heading into Royal Ascot we know a lot of ladies are looking for the perfect hat or fascinator. We’ve got a step by step article from the talented milliner Lisa Farrell as she creates a gorgeous piece for one of her clients. Check out how its done here:


Royal Ascot Millinery 1My client is attending Royal Ascot in June, and needs a fascinator to coordinate with the dress she plans to wear to Ladies Day.  I took my inspiration for her fascinator from the colors in the dress as well as the floral detail and gold accents.  This gave me a very good place to start.”


“We tried on several different styles and silhouettes to get an idea of what worked Royal Ascot Millinery 2best on her and what she felt most comfortable in.  We settled on the fascinator below.  I would base my design on this fascinator but strengthen the design so it would be more of an Ascot-worthy piece.  I also made sure the fascinator satisfied the Dress Code for Royal Ascot which states that a fascinator base must be 4 inches or larger.”


“The base of the fascinator is going to be made out of grey pre-sized sinamay from The Royal Ascot Millinery 3Feather Shop. (  I am using 2 layers of sinamay cut a bit larger than the finished fascinator so there’s plenty of sinamay to tug on and pin into while blocking.  Better to cut too much sinamay than to find you don’t have enough to get to the edge of the block and make a nice fold over.   You can always cut off the excess sinamay.”




“Since I originally blocked this piece on a borrowed block, which I no longer have, I’m going to use the actual fascinator as a block.  Royal Ascot Millinery 4It’s stiff enough that I can block on it without doing any damage to it.  I have removed the headband and have covered it with plastic to protect it from the water and steam I use when blocking. The plastic also prevents the sinamay from sticking to the block and makes it easier to remove it from the block without distorting the finished shape once it has dried.”




Royal Ascot Millinery 5“Now I’m ready to block the sinamay.  I wet the sinamay until it’s soft enough to manipulate.  You don’t want to over-soak the sinamay or you will wash out all the sizing.  You also don’t want the sinamay to dry out while you’re working with it so you can rewet it with a spray bottle of water as you go.  Steam also helps to soften the sinamay until it takes the shape of the block.  When blocking on an actual hat, I use straight pins instead of pushpins to secure the sinamay to the block.  Straight pins won’t damage the fascinator.  I block one layer of sinamay then turn the next layer 45 degrees from the first before placing it on the block.  Once you’re satisfied with how the sinamay is blocked and it’s all nice and smooth, allow the sinamay to dry thoroughly.”

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“After the sinamay is thoroughly dry, you can begin to work with it.  While the sinamay is still pinned in place, trim away the excess sinamay, leaving about an inch all around the finished edged.”


“Unpin the base and carefully remove the sinamay base from the block. Next gently finger press the fold over edge, and the base is now ready for wiring.”

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“The outside edge of the base is wired to help the base keep its shape.  Take a piece of #19 covered millinery wire slightly longer than needed.   Place it inside Royal Ascot Millinery 8the channel and determine the precise length needed.  Cutting the wire the correct length is crucial.  Too long and the wire will distort the shape, too short and the wire will come out of the joiner and the base will sag.  Once the correct length has been determined, join the wire to form a circle with a metal joiner secured with a touch of glue.  Crimp the joiner into place with a pair of pliers. ”



“Place the wire in the outside edge channel, fold over the edge again to cover the wire and pin.”

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“Pin in the wire all around the outside edge.”Royal Ascot Millinery 10




“Machine stitch the wire very close to the finished edge of the base so the wire won’t move.  The wire will help the base keep its shape and create a nice clean finished edge.”

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“Trim the excess away, very close to the stitch line.”Royal Ascot Millinery 27







“Bind the outside edge with a grey sinamay bias strip from The Feather Shop.  Fold the bias strip in half and pin over the wired edge.  This will give the outside edge a nice clean and finished appearance.”Royal Ascot Millinery 13







“Machine stitch the bias strip close to the outside edge of the bias strip.”

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Finished sinamay base ready for trimming.Royal Ascot Millinery 14





“The next step is to add the headband.  I wrap the metal headband with floral tape; gently pulling the tape as I go so the tape will stick to itself and cover the headband neatly.  I cover the headband to make it more comfortable for the client and to give me something to sew into.”

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“Next I wrap the headband with a 1” bias strip of silk with one edge folded up ¼” in a color to Royal Ascot Millinery 28match the client’s hair color, which in this case is blond.  I place one end of the headband in the folded edge and begin wrapping the bias strip around the headband.  I wrap about 2/3’s of the way up and stitch it down.  I begin wrapping the same way from the other end and wrap the remaining 1/3 of the headband until the ends meet so the entire headband is covered.  These stitches will be covered with a Royal Ascot Millinery 18strip of bias sinamay, which attaches to the base.”




“Use a bias strip of sinamay to attach the headband to the sinamay base.  Take a 3” piece of the grey sinamay bias strip and place over the stitches approximately 3-1/2” up from one end. Stitch the bias strip securely to the underside of the headband.  The headband is now ready to be securely stitched onto the underside of the base.  Decide on correct placement of the headband by trying on the base and headband until you find the most attractive angle for the base and pin the two elements together.  Securely stitch the base and the headband together.  Don’t worry if the stitches show on the topside of the base.  They will get covered with trim.”

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“Now the base is ready for trimming.  I want to make two bows out of the coral sinamay.  I cut two 8’ wide bias strips of sinamay. Also cut two tales for the bow using the same method”Royal Ascot Millinery 20



Royal Ascot Millinery 21“Turn under the outside edges ¼” and finger press.  Turn the outside edges once again ¼’ and finger press.  Fold in half and make a bow using steam to help form an attractive shape.  Make two of these. Use the same method to make the two bow tales.”



“Cross the bow loops, find the proper placement for the bow and stitch into place.  Add the bow tales and stitch into place.  Tack the ends of the bow tales in place.”


“Take the gold sinamay bias strip from The Feather Shop and loop the strip into Royal Ascot Millinery 22place in a diagonal line.  This creates movement and tension within the design.  Diagonal lines are always more interesting than horizontal and vertical lines so I try and create them within a design whenever possible. ”

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“Gold sinamay loops stitched in place.  Notice the number of angles in the overall design.”


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“Another way to create diagonal lines is with feather curls.  I use an ostrich feather and carefully cut it down to about ¼” on either side of the spine.”


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“To curl the feather, first steam the feather to soften the spine.  Then use a hot curling iron to carefully and gently curl the feather until satisfied with the shape.”







“Finally stitch down the remaining trim:  a feather mount and feather flower from The Feather Shop and accent it all with a dollop of ivory ostrich feathers, and there you have it!  The perfect Ascot fascinator!   It has the same basic shape as the black fascinator we originally decided upon but with that extra bit of drama and excitement to make it the perfect piece for Royal Ascot!”

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