What do I wear to a polo match (and other questions)?

As usual, my answer to this question (and all other ‘what do I wear?’ questions) is, ‘It depends.’ This week’s blog features photos of very stylish people who attended the exhibition match at the Southlands Riding Club on August 17th. As you’ll see, almost anything goes here in Vancouver, as is often the case. Though strict dress guidelines on things like polo matches call for an elegant sporty kind of look (think long, flowing dresses, knee-length light floral frocks and floppy hats for women, and smart slacks of light fabric accompanied by a sharp buttoned shirt and casual belt and shoes for men), exhibition matches sometimes have their own rules. In this case, fancy dress was encouraged and people really enjoyed getting all gussied up for the first polo match in Vancouver in more than twenty-five years.

Here are some samples of the fashionable, vintage and over the top outfits on display!

On a side note, I’m going to apologize in advance for the long scrolling and strange placement of these photos (scroll waaaay down for the remainder of the article), but I’m tired of fighting with my WordPress blog editor that never seems to publish my blog and photos the same way they look in the editor! Believe me, when I had it all lined up beautifully it was *worse*! Anyway, they’re all here and captioned, so please enjoy. I promise to figure it out for next time. 🙂

Small two men

Two sharp-dressed men, very suitably attired in light suiting and casual ascot and loose tie.

Small two ladies

Two lovely ladies in vintage-inspired looks and handmade hats.

Small hip woman

A bohemian take on a traditional event.


A vintage outfit, naturally, for custom corsetiere Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace Atelier and her handsome companion.

black and white style

A stylish GP in black and white!

Floppy Hat

…and her friend in casual bliss!











Best Dressed

No surprise here, this lovely combination of elegant silk dress and amazing cartwheel hat won Best Dressed and her gentleman friend is equally well turned out in navy linen!

Kim and Judge

One of the women responsible for organizing it all and for inviting me, Kimberley St. Pierre, is a member of the board of Southlands. She’s seen here in a fetching green sundress and is standing with the judge of the Best Dressed, a gentleman who has played polo with royalty, so he ought to know!

K and friends

And finally, what was I wearing? Over the top, of course, with grey cocktail dress and outrageous fascinator! I’m here with my friends Sheetal Gupta of Maharani Jewels and Nicole Reader of the Modern Mirror. Next year, I’m going shopping for a light floral dress and huge hat so I’m ready to go.

No matter the event, when people ask me “what do I wear to x?”, I offer these three simple guidelines to follow:

1. Check your invitation. Not every event conforms to general guidelines. In this particular case, fancy dress was requested because it was a special match. Some events will specify business attire, others will say if casual clothing is appropriate. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your host. He or she can help guide you as to the level of formality.

2. Consider your environment.  Wedges for events on grass, hats for events in the sun and other comfort factors are always good choices. Consider how long you’ll need to be there as well. Nothing worse than wearing something that’s pinching, binding, itching or causing you to sweat profusely when you’re trying to look cool.

3. Think about how formal or how casual the event is supposed to be. If you’re attending an afternoon garden party, then a shorter dress in a suitable pattern and colour could be terrific. If it’s an evening reception, then something longer with a bit more shoulder, back or decolletage bared could work well.

No matter what, choosing something that suits your individual colouring, body type and personality is best. Not sure what to wear for your next big event? Let us know and we’ll set you up!