Closet Confidential: St. Andrews Charity Polo Tournament- A Microcosm for The New Equestrian Style
By Soph Hill
The glistening green, pristine Errol Park field held no relevance really, until this past Saturday morning when hundreds of tweed-clad students grabbed their binocular sunglasses and headed to watch the international St. Andrews Charity Polo Tournament. The sun was shining high in the sky, for most of the time at least, and the energy of the day was perfectly matched for the polished events ahead. And while Polo has become one of those events that is incredibly popular, far and wide, I believe it has come to be more about fashion than about anything else. As I experienced the delights of the day, my findings were just as delectable.
First of all, this year’s Polo event was very gracefully put together. I noticed a real attention to detail that seemed to make everything tell a cohesive story. I chatted to my friend, and Polo PR sub-committee member, Charlie Goodstein-Oliver about why he felt this year at Polo was “different.” He credited most of the events success to director Felix Arris; who’s vision of collaboration and minimalist charm really allowed for a dynamic flow throughout the varied tents. And while Charlie also described Polo using the three words of horses, white jeans, and champagne; it was primarily more about enjoying those specific things in a very beautiful setting. As I looked around however, I noticed more than I usually do at St. Andrews events, the heightened sense of awareness regarding fashion. Almost as if I was at a costume party, everyone was dressed in a way to encapsulate an expression of the event, myself included.
Fashion, in general, is approached in a particular way here in St. Andrews. People like to dress well, interestingly, and individualized. When broached with an event that has a unique theme, this sense of style seemed to translate over these boundaries in an amplified way. It was as if everyone knew what to wear to communicate unequivocally how stylish they were, while also fitting in exactly with the Ralph-Laurenesque vibes. And while Polo is synonymous for being preppy and classic, I believe a new equestrian style has been created due to St. Andrew’s general interest in fashion and the opportunity to showcase this discovery at this particular event.
What I saw, in terms of clothing, was a mixture of many things. Classic tailoring and fit streamlined the outfits, while bold accessories and colors were used to visually elevated the looks. Monochromatic outfits were incredibly popular; as individuals focused on the use of color to create more of a fashion story with their looks. Lots of pieces that might not have been originally thought to work at such an event, such as funky, eclectic jewelry and pronounced belts, were expressed using more establish equestrian pieces. Hunters, for example, were a streamlined choice of footwear that many utilized in completely different ways. It created a life-like painting of rich textures and patterns; some would categorize it as a visual fashion feast.
If there was anything negative to say, I think it might have been the wait for the busses at the end of the event. When it consequently started raining, resulting in patrons waiting for a prolonged amount of time to be whisked away home. That being said, from a fashion stand-point, a quite ideal opportunity to make use of everyone’s freshly waxed hunter-green Barbour jackets.