The event dressing lessons to learn from Goodwood's best-dressed racegoers

Naledi Mabuse wears a ht, top and skirt that were all custom-made in South Africa, with vintage shoes.
Naledi Mabuse wears a ht, top and skirt that were all custom-made in South Africa, with vintage shoes. Credit: John Nguyen

At The Qatar Goodwood Festival which took place last week, the dress code specifics are more fluid than Ascot, a trait which arguably makes for superior style-watching.

While some take a distinctly laid back approach, others honour racing’s intrinsically elegant traditions, donning their finest finery - largely in blue and white for the L’Ormarins best dressed competition. Here’s our round up of what style tips to take from them.  

Tristia Harrison

Wearing: Erdem floral dress, vintage handbag. 

Tristia Harrison at Qatar Goodwood festival. 

Why it works: With plain black accessories and a simple straw hat, she lets the dress do the talking and saves herself time and money by not angsting over occasion specific accessories which are unlikely to leave the wardrobe again.

Crib notes: Why spend hours consulting a milliner? An elegant straw hat can be just as chic as a sculptural creation, and far more useful if fancy events aren’t your usual haunt.

Charlie Elmy-Britton

Wearing: Hat by Layla Leigh, dress by Asilio. 

Charlie Elmy-Britton at Qatar Goodwood festival. 

Why it works: Boutique owner Charlie is a past winner of Goodwood’s best-dressed competition. She proved that there’s still legs in the classic racing ensemble of fab hat plus fabulous dress.

Crib notes: Charlie’s broderie anglaise dress was by Australian brand Asilio. It’s always worth keeping a beady eye out while on holiday for unique pieces. 

Zoe Warren

Wearing: Hat rented from Lizzie’s Hats, Diane von Furstenberg dress, pineapple bag found on eBay.

Zoe Warren at Qatar Goodwood festival.

Why it works: Racing regular Zoe (she’s married to the son of the Queen’s racing manager, John Warren) knows that Goodwood’s easy going atmosphere allows for experiments like a shirt dress and quirky handbag.

Crib notes:That pineapple offers a dash of personality amidst a sea of polite clutch bags. Also – hat rental? Genius. 

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Naledi Mabuse

Wearing:Hat, top and skirt all custom-made in South Africa, vintage shoes.

Naledi Mabuse at Qatar Goodwood festival.  

Why it works: Naledi had flown all the way from South Africa to attend Goodwood after winning the best-dressed prize at L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate in Cape Town. We love her refreshingly modern, no-fuss sleek custom-made look.

Crib notes: Separates can work brilliantly, especially if you play with proportions; think asymmetric skirts, dipped hemlines or architectural draping. 

Melissa Hemsley

Wearing: Dress by Vesper, sandals by United Nude, Aspinal bag. 

Melissa Hemsley at Qatar Goodwood festival. 

Why it works:Melissa did no-nonsense event dressing at Goodwood, with a cotton dress, chosen “because it doesn’t need ironing” and good-for-grass sandals.

Crib notes: Block heels are a no brainer- but grass-based event essential.