<i>Fast Fashion:</i> Make your Opening Day styles run their best race

Opening Day at the Del Mar racetrack signifies a couple of important things: To some, it’s about fast horses. To others, the day is a mint julep-laden blur. And then there are those who look forward to this day all year, not just for the beautiful turnout at one of our city’s greatest events, but for the fashion. It’s a day for accessories (hats, of course), but to get that chic look, follow a few simple tips:

Hats aren’t the only accessories to look for:

Note, for those unsure of what kind of a hat to wear, check out

Danielle Warren’s story

  1. As far as shoes go, think of the three C’s: comfortable, chic and complementary.

Footwear should be comfortable enough to allow for walking around the track, so that eliminates sky-high, teetering stilettos. Gravitate instead toward this season’s footwear star: platforms. In order to maintain a day-appropriate, chic look, stick to a platform of around 3 or 4 inches and keep the jewels and beading to a minimum. As for complementing the rest of the outfit, if the dress is patterned and the hat is busy, keep footwear neutral-colored.
Wearing a solid-colored dress? Spice up the look with a pair of fringed, Amazon-inspired platforms in a bright color.

As for jewelry, the same rules apply:

Solana Beach jewelry designer Rebecca Norman recommends wearing a basic earring with a standout hat, or going for a colorful statement necklace with a less-busy outfit. “We have some wonderful, bold necklaces in various gemstones right now, as well as some long, handmade chains that look great layered with pendants,” Norman said. “Or, a chunky cocktail ring in turquoise, along with a pair of hammered gold hoops, would look amazing.”

In other words, pick one area to focus on, whether it’s the ears, collarbone or hands, and let the rest of the jewelry take a supporting role.

Master your makeup without looking too made-up:

Keep in mind that makeup looks extraordinarily different before and after the sun sets. Since Opening Day is, well, during the day, skip heavy blush, colored shadows and any type of black eyeliner. Instead, Sephora’s UTC store director, Lauren Pryor, suggests going for a “dewy look,” consisting of a bronzed and glow-y complexion, with the fresh face as the focus of the look.

Pryor suggests, pick either the lip or eye to focus on. “Bright pink lips are very in style and appropriate for daytime,” she said. “As long as eyes are kept soft, it looks fresh. If you want to do a prominent eye, keep it plum or bronze.” Recommended products include delicious-smelling SPF’s by Peter Thomas Roth, Make Up For Ever’s waterproof eyewear and water-resistant bronzer by Hourglass (all available at Sephora). No, you won’t be in the water, but you certainly will sweat.

And for gals who balk at the thought of doing their own makeup for such an important event, head to Sephora, which offers complimentary express services, 10-minute consultations that will focus on either the eye, lip or foundation.

Understated dresses:

Needless to say, step away from floor-grazing dresses and anything that hits above the midthigh; instead, choose a dress that just barely touches the knee. Strapless dresses work as long as they don’t look too formal or bridesmaid-ish; choose one with a looser fit all-around and an empire waist. (Tip: When going sleeveless or strapless, don’t forget sunscreen on the shoulders, which are often one of the quickest areas to burn.)

Look at stores such as Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters instead of more proper standbys in order to find a funky dress that stands out and hits the mark. These stores are less likely to mass-produce and often offer only a couple of each style of dress.


Unless you are a member of the Turf Club, there is no dress code for Opening Day. That being said, plan on dressing in business casual: slacks and a polo shirt, a button-down or a sweater would look appropriate with loafers. The most versatile look is also the easiest to tailor to any age group: A candy-colored, close-fitting polo shirt, slim-cut khakis, suede loafers and aviators will look great on younger guys, while older gentleman can choose a muted-down version of the polo, in shades such as cobalt blue and burgundy, looser-fitting khakis and comfortable walking shoes.

Ultimately, the day is about the horses, so take some advice from them and use some “horse sense” when choosing what to wear. And what exactly is horse sense? According to 19th century comedian W.C. Fields, it’s the thing a horse has that keeps it from betting on people.

Race to Fashion


Race to Fashion, which features a runway show, will focus on showcasing racetrack-appropriate fashion and makeup.


6 p.m. July 16


Upper Mezzanine in the Nordstrom Wing of UTC


Guests must be 21 or older


Participating clothing retailers and Sephora will help you look good at the racetrack. The event features complimentary express makeup services, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and more.