You can wear any color you'd like for Oaks Day, as long as it's pink. I always pay special attention to my Oaks Day ensemble. Redheads have to choose their pinks carefully, after all. This year, I was particularly looking forward to wearing a striking bespoke chapeau that was handcrafted to match a dress I'd yet to wear (I was saving it just for Oaks Day). But, on Wednesday afternoon, I learned that the forecast for Friday was grim - 100% chance of rain and a high of 52 degrees. It had never rained on my personal Oaks Day parade before, and it's never been anywhere near that chilly. I was bummed, and when the weather predictions did not improve thereafter, I decided it was too risky to wear the new hat, which has some very delicate and antique elements.
|The delicate black butterflies are laser cut from old vinyl records; The heart-heeled shoes were an inexpensive Amazon find that are as comfortable to wear as wedges, though I did change into wellies for the muddy walk to and from the track.|
So Thursday night, I called an audible and dove into my closet to choose an alternative pink Oaks ensemble that could better withstand wet weather. I settled on this hot pink, black and white floral sundress from Nine West; the very same dress I wore to the Oaks in 2010. My chapeau style for track days has become quite a bit more adventurous since 2010, though, so I wasn't satisfied with the simple dupioni wide-brimmed number I paired with the dress the first time around (see bottom photo)....But then I spied the butterfly hat displayed on a pedestal candlestick perched on the fireplace mantle in my bedroom...
|I lost count of the number of people who stopped me to ask about my clear raincoat which is styled like a classic trench coat with black fabric seamed details and a belt. It, too, was an inexpensive Amazon Prime find.|
This butterfly hat began life as a striking but simple creation from Marge Lilane (see it's original incarnation here). The butterflies themselves are laser cut from old records, and while you might think the one that sits over my right eye would impair my vision, its strategic placement allows a clear line of sight (much better, in fact, than wide brimmed hats with a dramatic tilt that completely obscure peripheral vision on one side).
|Simple pearl jewelry offsets the heaviness of the dramatic black collar and the butterflies.|
As dramatic as the delicate black winged butterflies are, however, I wanted a bigger statement for Oaks Day (and I also needed pink!) So I went to work with a needle and thread and some very thin wire, attaching a few feather elements and two black velvet millinery roses I'd collected over time. M goal was to create a "custom" headpiece to coordinate with 7 year old dress, but in a way that would allow me to remove the embellishments later and restore the hat to its original form. I am so, so happy with how it turned out!
|I was a little concerned the vertical elements of the hat wouldn't withstand the weather, but I didn't lose a feather despite the near constant rain.|
It also withstood the wind and rain beautifully - better than I expected, in fact. The forecast was accurate, and It was by far the wettest, coldest day I've ever spent at the track. Yet, I managed to stay reasonably warm and dry with the addition of the wire-collared bolero jacket (an eBay find a few years ago), topped by a clear raincoat with black seamed details that allowed my ensemble to show through even when I was actually out in the rain. And most importantly, I still had a great time despite the weather. Oaks Day is still my favorite, and the last minute change in outfit means, weather permitting, I already have next year's outfit, too.
Fashion is what you buy;Style is what you do with it!
|I wore the same dress with a traditional, wide-brimmed hat in 2010 (right).|
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