Dresses, Inspiration
Comments 54

Inspiration from People Watching – #pictureheavypost!

One of the pitfalls I find of making my own clothes is feeling a bit ‘our of it’ when it comes to knowing what’s in fashion.

Though I don’t see me self as a style guru, I still like to have a look around to see what colours and styles on on the high street and copy some looks that I think would flatter me.  If I’m not careful I could end up looking like an 80’s throwback!

So when I went to the Ladies Day at York races yesterday my eyes were out on stalks!  Such amazing colours, styles and hats.  There was even a catwalk should you fancy your chances at winning the best dressed!

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If you’re attending a big event soon you might want to see just what’s out there, so I’ve taken lots of pics to share with you.

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Fascinator borrowed from my mum!  I know now that a need a bigger one for the wedding in September

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This is as close as I got to a horse!


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Sway back adjustment??

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Wish I could have taken a better photo – this was a black jumpsuit with a border print from the knee down.

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Love this jumpsuit.  It reminds me of the Holly Jumpsuit from the back with culottes style trousers.

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Ooops!  Hope that’s the wine that’s caused the puddle!!

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I noticed some groups or ladies looked to be coordinated, wonder if it was accidental?


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2 ladies checking to see if they had been short listed for the best dressed.

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There was even a stand selling hats.

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Another group of coordinated ladies.

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Do you recognise the fabric on the right?  I’m sure I’ve seen it online – maybe on Truro fabric or Minerva?  My fellow sewers might even know this lady!  It did look studding in the sunshine – I’m thinking another skort!

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The blue dress really wowed me!  I wish I dared have stopped her and take a photo of the front too.

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Clever use of a zip.  I think the hardest thing copying this look would be sourcing a suitable zip.

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No pattern matching her,or is there?  They could have intentionally mismatched it as the thick wide stripes match the opposite colours in the skirt.

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This was simple but stunning in ‘real life’.

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Definitely need something bigger on my head next time, especially as I have such a tall hubby!

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Are we worrying necessarily about matching stripes?? I bet this lady hasn’t even noticed.  Or is it intentional?

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Absolutely love these 2 ‘hats’ – my favourite of the day!

Well,  I’ve come to the conclusion that at a big ‘do” like the races, anything goes!  It doesn’t matter if your spotty and stripes don’t match.  And it doesn’t matter if you need a sway back adjustment.

  The main thing to remember is Shapewear!  It doesn’t matter how stunning your frock is or how well it fits if your showing off the shape of your knickers of belly button underneath!   I’ve a contraption from M&S that incorporates a strapless bra, then continues right down towards my knees.  Theres a gusset sewn in. It’s skin colour.  If I ever had an accident and had to go to hospital I’d die of embarrassment!  But it takes an inch or everywhere and smoothes out my clothes.


  1. Oh what fun! I love people watching. I have not really enjoyed fashion watching in a long time. Mostly because I haven’t been to an event worthy of such. It was fun for me to read and study all your pics being from the other side of the pond. Matching stripe? Maybe it was intentional in the black & white with red boarder. But, the other skirt was just plain poor manufacturing. It drives me crazy. (don’t get me started!)

    • Glad you enjoyed it Robyn! I think you’re right about the red/black/white one but the other really is a shocker, and it better it wasn’t cheap either!

  2. Your pictures make me smile. People watching is so much fun. I could make comments about a couple of these pics, but I won’t. All these ladies look like they are trying very hard to save their grace with the hoity toityness of it all.

    • There were 2 sections – in the more expensive end there was definitely lots of hoity toityness going on, but in the other side where drinks were allowed outside (the one of the girls sat on the steps with the spilt drinks) a lot of them were passed caring what they looked like as a few glasses of wine! πŸ™‚

  3. Goodness gracious, my-oh-my! Whadda lotta piccies you took!
    What astounds me, aside from what Robyn’s already written above, is all the terribly high heels women were wearing. And the sheer size of some of the head gear: How did they keep them on? (How would you!) Looked like anything goes, so you shouldn’t feel out of fashion one bit! Your clothes fit, and are stylish without being faddish (f.a.d. = for a day). If you’re feeling looked at it’s by women who want to know where you bought your great outfits! And who wished they felt as good as you look!! xx 😘

    • Zippers? Ya wan’ zips?? Go see Shams ova’ here: http://communingwithfabric.blogspot.com/2016/08/new-york-city-part-4-fabric-and-trim.html
      An’: https://www.zipperstop.com/
      An’: https://www.zipperstop.com/product-category/ykk-chains-sliders-stoppers/ykk-sliders/
      (double dosh, biggah chuice) http://botanitrim.com/

      (Her nickname is Shams & she works for Google in California, so I know locations she talks about out there. Pardon my long island accent!)

      • Those links have my head swirling – especially the NY shopping trip, best not let the hubby see that else I’ll never have any chance of going – he’d know he’d loose me forever! The head gear and the heals – I love high healed shoes, mainly because the hubby 11 inches taller than so I need a boost, but tend to wear one with platforms then the heal part doesn’t have to be so high. I did feel lovely in my dress, and noticed one or 2 looking it, but everyone was too stuck up to talk to each other and ask where dresses came from. xx

        • Thought you might get ideas! πŸ˜‰
          Hope you’ll have time to see more of her blog, as I thought you might be interested, having the same sort of fitting issues (tho’ her location & age & job are quite different).
          Am so glad you can do the platform shoes, as they drive me crazy. Even w/o a tall male semi-attached I like to be taller, too!
          Too bad getting dressed up also had everybody so uncommunicative. Know some of the fabrics & styles had you thinking. Ah, well… 😘
          Have you looked up fascinators on youtube yet? Wheeee! How I wish they were the fashion here. Come to that, I should help get it started…

          • Haha you should! But maybe not wearing it to shop for groceries! They’re only in fashion here at weddings and posh race days. But maybe we could have casual everyday wear ones! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

            • Aw, not even for big grocery shops😒😒 Had ornaments all picked out… πŸ’ 🍊 πŸ†πŸŒ½
              I like the idea of casual ones… will give that a think. πŸ˜€

  4. Carolyn says

    What great pictures – thanks for sharing! It seems like going to a fancy event like this would be so much fun. I’m sure I’d be scoping out everyone’s dresses just like you did. πŸ™‚ It’s fascinating how the variety of styles is absolutely huge. As someone above said: anything goes! I guess this means we should all just wear whatever we want. πŸ™‚

    • Yup, definitely anything goes! We’ve been to a smaller race meeting a Ripon for the last few years (when i wore this same dress a few weeks ago), it’s still a dressed up day, but not really hats and nothing too over the top. This really was something else! I’m going to look out for a whopper of a hat on ebay or the charity shops in case we ever get chance to go again.

  5. Fiona M says

    Some of those photos made me laugh out loud! (You want to be careful, sneaking about taking surreptitious photos in the loos is likely to get you a smack on the nose lol!)
    The Blue plaid dress looks like a Vivienne Westwood?

    • Haha, I was discreet, that’s why they’re wonky! Everyone these days wanders around with the phones on so don’t think I made it too obvious. The blue paid was probably the most stunning and stylish, I’ll have to look on the Vivienne Westwood website and see if there’s anything like it. πŸ™‚

  6. As you say, anything goes! I agree with Robyn that the second lot of stripe matching is atrocious! It would have been a nice skirt otherwise. I also have no idea how anyone walks round all day in those heels! I went to Goodwood recently wearing a vintage 50s dress because I didn’t finish what I was sewing to wear and my shoes were almost flat compared with everyone else’s. I know I’d fall flat on my face if I tried some of the ones in your photos! Your dress was lovely and the best thing is that you knew no-one else would be wearing one like it!

    • Thankyou – it was good to know I wasn’t going to bump into someone wearing the same frock. But heals, I’m afraid I’m a big lover of high heals though I may live to regret it when i’m older. Unfortunately my fat, i mean wide, feet won’t always fit into the styles I’d like to wear. Wedges with a small heal are comfy if you don’t want to go to high, but I just like trying to see a bit more than I usually can from my 5ft 4 inches. Have you managed to get your 50s dress finished?

      • It was another dress I had to finish and that is now done. The 50’s frock is a genuine Horrockses dress which comes out for special occasions!

  7. The stripes on that skirt- they have to match! !
    People watching is a brilliant form of inspiration. I do it all the time without even thinking about it, I bet you do too

    • I do, but don’t usually take photos. How did we ever manage without smartphones!? The stripes really are a shocker, and I bet the wearer is totally oblivious. πŸ™‚

  8. Oh please don’t let mismatched be a “thing”! It is dreadful. Some stunning dresses here, your head must have been spinning, trying to take it all in. That blue plaid – I adore it! And you look positively lovely, sweet little fascinator and all. Thank you for sharing such a fun outing!

    • You’re welcome Jen, it was fun trying to take sneaky photos so I could share them, though I think the hubby was a little embarrassed. The blue plaid really is something else, I’m going to try and find it online, I bet it cost a fortune! πŸ™‚

  9. seweverythingblog says

    I loved looking at each picture. There are fun captions to each one that are whirling in my mind – complimentary captions.
    I think the one with the ladies lined up at the bar (?) with their backs to you is a fantastic photo composition.

    • The one of the ladies lined up – they were in the Powder Room touching up their makeup. I really didn’t need to be careful taking that one, they were all concentrating on themselves and never noticed me! Glad you enjoyed them all πŸ™‚

  10. You are hilarious! One of those women definitely clocked you 😱 I think it’s fantastic than women still love dressing up in fab frocks even if they are a shocker 😘

    • I did wonder myself if they’d spotted me at times, they maybe thought I was catching pokeman like half the population! It would be a good idea to arrange a meet up at a race day so everyone could go OTT with their frocks. πŸ™‚

  11. All through these delightful pictures I was screaming “foundation garments!” Then I was screaming about sway back and hip adjustments. Oh my, the stripe matching. You clearly had a lot of fun taking these photos!

    On stripe matching – as long as the edges match, do the colours have to? I like the idea of a large navy & white stripe fabric, matching exactly navy – white. Could look good.

    Amazing to see the sun shining in Yorkshire.

    • It does make sense that the edges could match and not the colours – it would add interest but still look ‘right’. Trinny and Susanna would have a field day there with the spandex undergarments! I really can’t see why ladies don’t wear it, it got one set of scaffolding that will go underneath most of my dresses. I see it as an investment and not something I need lots of! πŸ™‚

    • It was funny taking the sneaky pics! Would it be wrong to do it at a family wedding – I’ve got one in a couple of weeks. Maybe I could chop the heads off, lol! The stripes…I don’t think any of us would sleep if we made a dress that matched so badly! πŸ™‚

  12. Lynsey says

    I’ve never been to anything like this so its lovely to get a glimpse of what it’s like. There’s some stunning outfits and some that make me think why I do worry so much?? Bigger, bolder, brighter is the key to races but there’s still a line between fabulous and too much. You look great in your dress, very classy.

    • Thankyou! I did feel great in it, and just the right tone for me and the day. But I’d like to go a bit crazy one time and were something bright and daring with a whopper of a hat. And now I’ve seen what it’s all about I’ll go for it next time. I’ve never been to anything like this either – when we go to Ripon races it’s a dressed up, best frock type of affair, but nothing over the top. πŸ™‚

  13. corrineappleby says

    Great post! Well done for sneakily taking all those photos. It does make me realise how hard we are on ourselves when it comes to our own sewing. I bet those ladies paid a fortune for some of those frocks and they’re not bothered about fit or pattern matching at all!

  14. I made a tunic out of that fabric and Lucie (of Love,Lucie) made a fabulous dress! I wish there was shape wear for men, not that they’d care enough to wear it. Us women beat ourselves up about looking anything less than perfect. My Ascot hat is mahoosive and I love it, so go get yourself the biggest one you can find! I always find that being bold with the camera works best – people invariably want to pose for you then:)

    • That’s where I’d seen it, I couldn’t remember but I do now, thankyou! Shape wear for men…..my hubby likes his vest, does that count, lol! I’m searching ebay for a big hat, and going to keep an eye out in the charity shops too. Can’t wait to go to do it again! πŸ˜€

      • I know, I adore events like that. I bought my hat in a designer secondhand shop years ago and I haven’t seen anything to match it since:)

  15. Ladies day at the races… My perfect idea of a day of fashion & people watching!! You see the great & the not so greatπŸ˜„ Looks like you had fun.
    I’ve just bought a new big hat for my daughters wedding so I’ll have to go to the races again next year just so I can wear it again!

    • You will! It’s such a shame hats aren’t worn more. I remember in the late 80s when I used to go out, me and my sister used to wear hats like ‘Mel and Kim’! πŸ˜‚

  16. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I have been laughing out loud in the departure lounge! What a brilliant post! So fascinating! So funny! I don’t know what to say about some of those photos that won’t sound rude, but you’ve got to hand it to some of those ladies- if you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you haven’t, brazen it out! Fabulous!!

  17. Women have been wearing some sort of Shapewear for centuries – I’m just glad that I can find a comfortable version in these modern times, as it certainly makes a difference in some dress styles! Everyone looks lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Pingback: Fabric Shopping and Frankie | Sew South London

  19. Emily Handler says

    I wonder if the stripes are deliberately mismatched to create a vertical line? Especially in the first one. You know, the theory about vertical lines being slimming, whereas an uninterrupted horizontal line might be fattening.

  20. Wow! SO many beautiful outfits! Thanks for sharing and I agree totally on shapewear – it makes a world of difference – I had to buy a tummy one for my wedding which was 2 months after giving birth to my third πŸ™‚

  21. Pingback: Top 3’s of 2016 | T H I M B E R L I N A

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