Monday, 6 April 2009

Ladies Day?

So, i had an eye opening moment the previous weekend. I went to my very first Ladies Day at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Oh what an experience it was! I was there on a hen weekend for one of my long term friends, and Ladies Day was the 1st activity on the weekends itinerary. 

We were all set to meet at around 10.30am, so I was up with the birds at 6am to begin the long  process of getting ready! I am big into getting ready (sad I know!), but its often the best part of the evening for me, so this occasion was no different! I wore a beautiful, Amazonian-esque dress, that I brought from a popular high street store about 10 months ago. When I say bought, the shop assistant accidentally didn't charge me for the dress, so technically I wore a stolen (but at the time, not to my knowledge!) dress. The dress in question is a fitted blue/gray off the shoulder ensemble, with a ripped hem, made from a stunning cheese cloth material. I teamed this with the most beautiful vintage real crocodile skin clutch bag, that has little crocodile feet on the front (not for the faint hearted!). A grey vintage 1950's style side hat with a small gray vale, which I added my own pheasant feathers to the top for that extra bit of glamour. Then for a real clash of colour I wore some high street, red bow suede shoes, and finished the look with a 1920's vintage gray cape that has the most stunning embroided detailing ever. My 8 month pregnant friend who was staying with me for the hen weekend thought I looked like an extra from Bugsy Malone! Each to their own i guess... and with a dash of red lipstick we were out the door and on our way.

Once we got to Aintree I managed to pass the first rigorous security check, after experiencing the rather embarrassing moment of when your asked by the security man to open your bag for checking, and both he and you see the tampon in your clutch, but it's too late and too painful to do anything about it! I made it to the next station where unfortunately the 8 miniature bottles of gin i'd managed to sneak past "tampon-man" were taken off me and poured into a bin in front of myself, and the 200 people queueing up behind me. Once that was over I managed to get to the nearest bar and order myself a glass of wine only to discover it was £9!! After checking to see if the glass was rimmed with gold I reluctantly payed up, and carefully, trying not to spill a drop, began to make my way towards the race course. It was at this moment that i felt that maybe "tampon-man" had slipped a narcotic in to my painfully expensive drink, as I could not believe what I was seeing. The array of colours, shapes, sizes, eye-lashes, fake-tans, beehives and other creative concoctions that  people had put together was unbelievable! I felt like i'd just eaten one of those magic biscuits and found myself at the Mad Hatter's dinner party! This was high impact glamour at its best. These women were incredibly stunning in the most eccentric and insane way! One woman had created a hat out of playing cards? Great big, giant size playing cards. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry at that point. Another had the most blinding hot pink creation made of feathers on her head. It looked like maybe she had savaged a flamingo before coming the races. A purple all in one number stood out, and  along with her friend, who wore the same but in white, made me think id left the mad hatters tea party and was now stood in the front row at an ABBA tribute concert. Every woman was so incredibly groomed, I wondered what time they must have got up, and how on earth they managed to get a deck of giant size playing cards to stay on there head without the slightest hint of gaffer tape and staples? However with the bad came the good, I saw one girl in the most beautiful 1950's black halter neck dress with red painted poppy print, with her beautiful pail skin being the only accessory she needed . Another girl had successfully channeled the flower power hippy look of the 1960's, wearing a stunning floor length, green patterned maxi dress, teamed up with sliver flip flops, sliver bangles and daisy's in every orifice. I thought this outfit  was perfect for a bit of summer nostalgia. 
Even though the eccentric outfits were eye catching, the girls that stood out to me were the ones that were brave enough to try something different, the ones that didn't conform to the craziness, the girls that embraced there flaws and worked with there natural body shapes and colourings.

As the sun peared through the gray skies, the coats came off, sunglass came out and  we lubricated our livers with our 10th glass of £9 wine as the races began. Suffice to say, it wasn't a successful day race-wise for me. All my horses fell, apart from one that came through the line jockey-less! As the day rolled on and my horses kept falling my intoxicated mind drifted to the fact that my beautiful friend will be getting married and growing up. This thought saddened me and I when I felt a wine induced lump in my throat I knew it was time to leave.

People have a lot to say about Ladies Day, myself included. And yes, come 5'o clock I could count the amount of 'Ladies' on one hand, myself and my friends being no exception (the hen wearing 12 pairs of knickers on her head and waving a cock shaped wand at anyone who was foolish enough to make eye contact). As we made our way back to our awaiting mini bus, past the 'Ladies' throwing up into there hats, past one girl who appeared to be straddling a bush!? I thought to myself that Ladies Day is a fantastic chance to express yourself and your love of fashion, no matter how good or bad to one's eyes it may be. No matter what anybody else thinks, it is all about how you feel inside and if big hair, big lashes and a all in one body suit make you happy who else should care? My double edged compliment to Ladies day may be harsh, but one thing I can say is how it made me feel truly happy seeing the effort, time, and expense that these woman put into there outfits/costumes, and for that, all I can do is salute them. 

However as I bent down to pick up a oversized playing card that had clearly cut loose from that ladies hat I couldn't help but think to myself... you can buy fashion but you can't buy style...

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