the style bar

adventures in style


What to Wear to…

Beauty and the Bike

At an event where the most interesting fashion statement of the weekend was made by one of its competitors moments before participating (the young Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden in a rather jaunty trilby style hat, the kind FCUK have in store at the moment) the style bar was disappointed to find that most of the colour happens on the track itself rather than on the field.

Buyers of bike gear appear to be a most practical bunch – by and large the colour of choice for their riding outfits is all over black, which in itself is not such an unusual choice I will grant you. When you consider the practicalities of riding a vehicle that leaves you completely exposed to the elements and, in many cases for the Grand Prix event, sitting around and/or camping in muddy paddocks enduring artic winds without a washing machine in sight, this would probably be your choice too.

But a little splash of colour would liven things up enormously – a blue scarf, a flash of red jumper, nothing frivolous necessarily, just something to liven the sea of darkness that greeted me upon my arrival at the grandstand on the first cold and rainy day. Apart from yours truly in my bright YK Blue cropped jacket that granted would offer no protection on a motorbike but was perfectly appropriate for the less rigorous demands of spectating.

Now consider the contrast if the setting where to be transplanted to the snowfields. A sea of fluorescent pinks and greens and hideous yellows, interspersing the white and black of the jackets and pants. Rather like the bus queues I passed a few weeks ago full of teenagers on their way to the Parklife concert, wholeheartedly embracing the Back to the 80s trend of outrageous colour (only because, as we all know, they are too young to have been through it all the first time).

But it actually created a much more fun and upbeat feeling in the crowd. Another of those examples of colour being able to lift your spirits and even send out vibes of excitement (a theory I have explored in an earlier post Mood Enhancers in the Colour Theory category).

At any rate I did manage to find a couple of style aficionados on race day, two of whom had interestingly chosen orange as their attention grabbing colour, and then tempered it by coordinating it back with grey marle and denim.

Cute orange wellies with a great grey jersey trench style jacket on one, and on the other a orange and white sweat top, with jeans and a little grey cap. Both comfortable but stylish choices, appropriate to an outdoor event and offering protection from the elements at the same time.

By day’s end the field was more alive with colour, after fans had paid their visit to the team merchandise stands to purchase the jacket or cap of their favourite rider, so perhaps the influence of the teams’ bright and cheeky colours had taken effect after all. With any luck they will wear their new pieces next year and give the rider’s a run for their money…

Happy styling



And the Winner is…

The clear winner on the windswept field at the Australian Grand Prix this year was motor racing.

Rubi de la Ropa’s wrap up of the lesser known style aspects of the annual Phillip Island race is coming up soon…

Don’t be a Spoilsport

The belief that style and comfort are mutually exclusive concepts in Australia is never more sorely tested than at our many public sporting fixtures. Summer or winter, both bring their own particular brand of sartorial blunders.Take an outdoor event, a few thousand people from every walk of life imaginable, beverages that now sadly need to be consumed from a plastic cup as soft and hard to manage as the meat pie you a forced to eat for dinner if you did not have time to pack a picnic, and people’s sense of appropriate but attractive dress goes out the window.

But it does not have to be this way.

Team paraphernalia aside (and in the spirit of fair play and an ambience of camaraderie, team scarves, caps and other manner of merchandising are a necessary evil if that is your bag), the key when dressing for an occasion such as this is simplicity.

One needs to be comfortable above all (and potentially dry if unlucky with the weather or your seating). And in the winter-time warmth is paramount. Nothing looks sillier than shivering in a skimpy top and high heels when navigating the weirdly extra wide steps in the grandstand. But it is a night at the football not dinner and dancing at your local pub, and this is why direct translation of your usual Saturday night attire will never work.

Once you start to consider all these factors it is no wonder people give up immediately and run screaming for their fleecy hoodie.

The way around getting too bulked up is with warm but lightweight fabrics – fine wool gauge roll necks or v’s  with slimline jackets, smart trenches or overcoats. A long sleeve tee and a waist covering singlet top as your base means if it warms up or you are inside for part of the evening you have layers to peel off. Wear pants you are comfortable sitting down in for long periods of time – jeans in any shade are a pretty safe bet here, especially if there are any unfortunate accidents with food or beverages. Boots mean you can wear woollen socks and keep your toes toasty, especially if you are sitting with your feet on the cold concrete floor of the stands all match.

I find the perfect accessory to finish all this off is a brightly coloured scarf to express your individuality. At a Swans match I usually express my undying support subtley but chicly with my classic Burberry red check scarf – a wool and cashmere blend to make it super soft and non-scratchy on the neck.

At the game last Saturday night the two best dressed fans there were, funnily enough, two women in their 50s, one in a group and the other next to us with her husband. One wore a simple black roll neck jumper with denim jeans, a signature chunky ring on one finger, and boots. Her outfit was highlighted by her perfectly coiffed pale amber hair and her slash of browny-red lippy. Effortlessly chic. And, by the way, guiltlessly passing around a block of dark chocolate amongst her friends with a cheeky smile.

The other wore black slimlegged jeans, black ballet flats, and a cream quilted jacket and cream scarf. Modern, fashionable, and so appropriate. Not a sweatshirt or hoodie in sight.

We can learn a lot from experience in fashion – these were strong confident women who were obviously comfortable in their own skin, and knew how to do glamour and comfort at the same time.

I silently raised my plastic glass of vin rouge to them in due homage to kindred style spirits, and made a mental note to bring my own dinner, complete with cherry chocolate block, to the next game.

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