The Jumeirah-based fashion consultant Betina Sepehri shares her sartorial secrets on how to look your best at the Dubai World Cup, dispelling the myth that you have to blow the budget to stand out.
Going off to the races demands nothing less than your best dress
One of the most anticipated days in the UAE's social calendar is upon us, and we couldn't leave you to face the masses without helping you to look your best. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane talks to Jumeirah-based fashion consultant and boutique owner Betina Sepehri about her sartorial secrets, and with an estimated 60,000 racegoers set to attend, she dispels the myth that you have to blow the budget to stand out from the crowd. Turn to page 3 for Sepehri's definitive guide that will see you race ahead in the style stakes at the Dubai World Cup this Saturday.
FIVE TOP TIPS
Colour me happy
"Dress in one colour and accent with a second complementary shade or tone through your choice of hat, shoes and bag. And be bold: why not match your yellow dress with purple accessories? Jewel and tropical colours, tribal prints and metallics will be everywhere this year."
Say it with flowers
"Add interest and colour to your accessories with flowers, sequins, lace or ribbons. They can be inexpensively sourced from haberdashery stores in Satwa, which also sell special adhesive for around Dh15 if you want to be creative yourself instead of letting them add the embellishments for you. Feathers and the races go hand-in-hand, so sparingly add matching ones to your shoes and handbag for that designer look."
Best foot forward
"Comfort is key. I recommend wedges, as Meydan has a lot of grass to navigate. Of course, nothing is going to look as good in silhouette as heels and you could wear the little plastic discs to stop you sinking, but personally, I don't think they look great. And men: sandals are a definite no."
Mind your manners
"Very short hemlines, plunging necklines or backlines are not advisable. Shoulders don't necessarily need to be covered and you can do strapless if you do it tastefully. Shawls, with the weather so unpredictable, are a must."
Prepare to be papped
"Photographers will be everywhere on Saturday and if you want the attention, the best way to be stopped is if you are wearing something eye-catching and unique. Keep a mirror and some papier-poudre in your handbag, as queues at the bathroom can be very long. Also, wear matte lipstick because wind-swept hair will stick to your lipgloss."
FIVE FASHION HURDLES
"No matter how cloudy the day is, the sun can still burn you. Strapless dresses with red, sunburnt shoulders are not a good look. Parasols are one practical and elegant solution and for a classic retro race look, why not add a pair of dainty gloves?"
"Never wear shoes you will end up taking off and carrying. Don't go barefoot or wear beach flip-flops you've been hiding in your handbag - it is so tacky and I've seen it too many times. This is not the right day to break in new shoes or wear ones you can't walk far in."
"Have some invisible elastic sewn into the base of your hat to keep it in place. Satwa has a great range of colours. I am not overly recommending fascinators to people this year due to the weather. Instead, bigger, heavier hats are really in."
"Go for heavier, less sheer fabrics this year because of the weather. Chiffons are fly-away and silks can cling, so try to go with a dress that has lining; it helps keep your outfit in place. One option is for tailors to sew small weights into the hems and linings of dresses and jackets but in general, I would say satin is a good, heavy option - although be aware you may sweat in this fabric."
"Don't ignore what your partner is wearing and make sure you don't clash. Men can wear a flower in their buttonhole, a handkerchief, cravat or shirt matching the tone of their lady's dress."
RACE MYTHS DISPELLED
Go for broke
"You don't need to buy a whole new outfit - styling can be very affordable. If you own a dress, skirt or jacket you love and don't know how to reinvent it, come and see me! Gold is also one of my best recommendations and sandals, clutches, belts and costume jewellery are widely available in stores for those who don't have much time or money to shop." JACKET REQUIRED
"For men, wearing only a shirt or waistcoat is not good form. Jackets make all the difference. Far from dressing down, I think anything goes at the Dubai World Cup and if you want to wear a top hat and tails - morning suit - then this is where you can really go for it. Same goes for ladies: put something in your hair! You'll look strange without it!"
Make a big statement
"Do not be tempted to coordinate your entire outfit in one pattern. Especially those who may be carrying a few extra kilos, I would say go for single block colours, and keep frills and ruffles to a minimum, too."
Betina's Closet is located at Palm Strip Mall, Dubai. For consultations call 04 3451506 or visit the boutique to see the new spring/summer 2012 collection of dresses and accessories.
Follow Arts & Life on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news and events @LifeNationalUAE