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How to win the Style Stakes

Know what to wear and what not to wear in order to win from the horses’ very own mouths

  • Dubai World Cup 2014 JSS winner
    Best Dressed Lady at Dubai World Cup 2014 steps out in styleImage Credit: Supplied
  • Best dressed man 2014
    Best dressed man at the Dubai World Cup 2014 as part of the Jaguar Style StakesImage Credit: Supplied

Every year tens of thousands of impeccably dressed men and women miraculously turn up at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai to compete in the Jaguar Style Stakes, part of the richest horse race in the world.

But Guides found out that just being well-turned-out isn’t going to be enough to win any titles.

Jaguar Style Stakes judge Alanoud Badr and ex-judge Dom Bagnato tell us what you can do to win and what might cost you the crown. 

1. Care

“I always look at attention to detail," says Dom Bagnato, “I need to be able to see that the person has taken a lot of care when putting their look together."

Judges will be looking out for people who have put some thought (a lot of thought actually) into their overall appearance. Attention to detail is key, which means a lot of planning and impeccable execution.

2. Swagger Vs Attitude

While Dom says swagger is very important, Alanoud Badr says one should be careful not to overdo it and end up come across as being over-confident or conceited. “Often we get people who think they’re better than everyone else with a lot of unnecessary attitude," says Badr, “and this is a big turn off for the judges. Be classy, be confident and please wear a smile.”

3. Creativity Vs Ridiculousness

“I hate to say don’t go over the top because I don’t want to discourage creativity in any way," says Badr, “but I suppose people know what I mean, when I say be creative, but don’t be ridiculous. At the end of the day, your attire must be wearable, yet interesting and classy.” 

Dom on the other hand says he’s hoping the men come dressed with no holds barred. “This is the one day in their calendar year when they can let the peacock out, so I think they should go all the way” says Dom.

4. Colour Vs Trends

Dom also says that people shouldn’t shy away from colour. “With Dubai being a colourful city, people’s dressing should reflect this.” However, he does warn that the colour should be in sync with the person’s personality.

Alamoud agrees that colour is very important when picking out a dress and urges people to steer clear of trends. “Very often we see people blindly following trends that don’t suit their body type or complexion. Dress according to what brings out the best in you, always,” she says.

5. Hats

“Hats are lovely and always complete a look as well as bring out the distinct personality of a man,” says Dom. 

For the ladies, Alamoud says the hat or fascinator is among the top considerations for the judges. “The hat needs to be amazingly creative yet not so much that it ends up being ridiculous,” she says. “We do keep in mind the practical side of things.”

6. Dresses and suits

Of course this is the most important part of your ensemble. “You need to wear what suits your body type, your complexion and even your hair,” says Alamoud. “If you go wrong here, there’s nothing one can do. I don’t mean to discourage creativity here, but at the end of the day we’re looking for someone who can stand out yet look normal – amazing normal.”

Dom says the men don’t necessarily have to come in a three-piece tuxedo and they can be creative and mix and match. “As long as their personality is brought out and they are who they are in their attire, they’re on the right path,” he says.

7. Shoes

Again an important part of any outfit, Alanoud says she doesn’t go for a “matchy matchy” look. “The shoes have to complement the dress not distract attention away from it or overshadow it in any way. They should work in tandem. So if the dress is plain, go all out with the shoes, but if there’s too much going on with the dress the shoes should ideally be plain to balance it out.

Dom says it’s a little different for men. “Shoes are almost an accessory for men. They should be carefully selected and have to be clean,” he says. I’ve often seen men look fantastically turned-out, but as soon as you get to the shoes, they’re either quite old or not kept well.” He urges the gentlemen to go out and buy new pairs of shoes for the event.

8. Accessories

Alanoud says women need to select their accessories like earrings, necklaces and bags very carefully so that they don’t ruin the look of the dress. “I’ve seen so many winning potentials’ looks destroyed due to the wrong accessories,” she says. “You don’t have to wear something if it’s not going with your look.”

One statement piece would be great for men. Dom says a great watch, a statement tie and a pocket handkerchief can make a big difference for men. “If they manage to make their watch, tie or hanky part of their overall presentation, it makes them look more elegant and it also shows attention to detail.” 

9. Make up

“Don’t forget it’s a day event,” says Alanoud. “So light and fresh makeup is what we’re looking for. You can carry along a darker shade of lipstick and eye shadow for the evening, but during the day keep it clean.”

10. Enter the right competiton

Something that doesn't occur to most people is to enter the right competition. “I’ve wanted to cry sometimes seeing someone with a fantastic hat and a very ordinary dress compete in the ‘best dressed’ category, when she would have certainly walked away with the prize for the ‘best hat’,” says Alamoud. “So make a quick assessment of what your strongest attribute is and enter the competition accordingly.”

About the Judges

Alanoud Badr
is a Saudi-born fashion designer who's successful label Lady Fozaza is worn by celebrities including the  Kim and Courtney Kardashian, Vampire Diaries actress Evan Rachel Woods, Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova and singer Nancy Ajram.

Kim Fletcher is a Melbourne based designer who specialises in creating beautiful quirky hats. Her first collection was launched in 1993 and her creations have been showcased in Dubai, England, Singapore, Germany and Australia.

Salman Sultan is part of the Jaguar Land Rover MENA team and he will support the fashion connoisseurs in selecting the best dressed at the Style Stakes event. 

Kate Hazell is a British fashion director, writer and stylist with over 10 years of industry experience. Currently, she is the fashion director of Esquire Middle East and editor of the bi-annual Esquire Big Black Book. 

Dom Bagnato is the founder of his self-named men's label and comes with a lot of experience including being Australian Myer fashions judge for 17 years, during the Melbourne Cup. He was a judge for the Jaguiar Style Stakes 2015.


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