With Race Day nearly upon us, I am certain many of you are still putting the finishing touches on your University Row outfits: picking out your hats, finishing your hand-made fasteners, coordinating your colors, accessorizing with jewelry, clutches, gloves and colorful socks, or replacing those worn shoes with a fresh pair of Top Siders (or perhaps, you’ve opted for a pair of white bucks this year)?
Maybe you’re looking for that thin colored belt to compliment your dress, or you’re in a damn tizzy trying to decide whether to go for pastels, solids, checks, stripes, plaid or seersucker? Well, you only have a week to finalize these plans, so pay your local Vineyard Vines, Brooks Brothers and Barbour stores a visit–and soon!
Looking your best at University Row is imperative, and as the Chair of the Best Dressed Contest again this year, I want to provide you with some insight for what the judges will be looking for, details for the nomination process and the final judging at Step & Repeat.
When putting your outfits together, keep in mind there are three categories for the Best Dressed Contest: Best Chapeau (hat or fastener), Best School Colors, and Best Dressed. Seersucker suits, madras sport coats and crisp linen dresses accessorized with charming hats, clutches and gloves are highly encouraged because at this annual inauguration of the outdoor social season for the DC-area’s alumni chapters, high fashion meets hip DC urbanites, and color is key. Wearing school colors is also highly encouraged and is a unique chance for higher visibility for your school at the Row!
This year, my team of 10 judges will start circulating both pre-parties (at Union Jack’s and Rock Bottom Brewery) during registration and breakfast. They will also be on the buses and walking throughout the tents throughout the entire morning at the Row. The Best Dressed Contest judges will be looking for men and women to nominate in each category. Feel free to approach them (They will be wearing ribbons distinguishing them as judges), and if you are approached, they’ll likely be inquiring about your outfit. If nominated, the judge will hand you a unique stamped golden ticket with indication for the category you’ve been nominated. There are 80 nominations tickets (20 for Best Chapeau, 20 for Best School Colors, and 40 for Best Dressed – all evenly split between men and women), and this preliminary judging and nomination process will be finished by 1pm.
Then, between 1pm and 2pm, the Best Dressed Contest staging area will be set up for the Step & Repeat and final judging. If you received a nomination ticket, we ask that you please make your way over to the Best Dressed Contest staging area (near the middle of the Row) at 1:40pm. Once there, judges will ask for your ticket, name and school, and then provide you with a number with a fastener to display the category you’ve been nominated for during Step & Repeat.
Once all nominees have their designated number for each category, we will clear a walkway for Step & Repeat, which will begin promptly at 2pm. Be sure to bring your friends to this finale, since crowd input is a top factor in selecting the winners (clapping and whistling is encouraged)!
Once Step & Repeat has concluded (around 2:30pm), and the judges have made their top choices for three men and three women in each category, a quick tallying will occur and the Best Dressed Contest award ceremony will begin!
This year, Best Dressed Contest prizes include gift certificates and in-kind donations from a variety of DC-area restaurants, bars, sports teams (both professional and intramural leagues), clothing shops and salons.
Any questions? Email Trevor Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org or see him at the Best Dressed Contest table inside Union Jack’s the morning of Race Day.
Happy planning, and, of course, we look forward to checking you out at Gold Cup! See you at the Races!!