This year I couldn’t be any more thankful for great friends. Their help, support and advice have been invaluable to me. Shamefully, what I haven’t been good at is celebrating them or investing time in the fun things that you can do together. So when intu Chapelfield invited Laura Ellen Wright, Laura Stafford-Smith and I to have a girls day out to find outfits for the Great Yarmouth Races, I jumped at the chance. Yesterday we spent a full day shopping and eating to our heart’s content. We found some amazing outfits and got a first glimpse at all of the gorgeous autumnal pieces that are slowly making their way into the shops.
After my initial excitement at the prospect of a day shopping and at the races, came the question we all hate… What on earth do you wear to the races?! I’ve been once before but it was a more casual affair. This time around I’d be a guest of a sponsor. *gulp* I’d need something on the smarter side, but that was still me. I tend to like to think outside of the box or put a modern twist on occasion wear, so I did a little bit of seasonal research pre-shop. Fortunately, all of the shops in intu Chapelfield were packed full of amazing trend led and classic pieces that were easy to dress up or dress down. I am rather fond of outfit recycling too, so I wanted to discover something that I could wear again and again.
Hitting the shops
After pouring my coconut flat white all down my white top (nice one Shelley) we began our shopping in H&M.
The first floor of H&M in intu Chapelield is home to the smarter section. We spotted plenty of prints, suits galore and gorgeous pieces in mustards, plums and rust shades. I got a little over excited an tried on about a billion outfits in the changing rooms. I fell in love with two white dresses and a gorgeous deep berry dress, that was sadly too casual. Then I potentially found the one – a leopard print skirt and black polo neck combo.
After much deliberation and giggles at some of the hilarious things we tried, we placed our favourites on hold and headed into Zara.
Zara is basically my mecca. As someone who resembles a bean pole, I find their clothes fit perfectly. In my head, I had an idea of 70’s esque outfit for the races – a black wide leg jumpsuit and a leopard print headband. Zara kind of came up trumps. I fell in love but was sure whether it was smart enough. There are some amazing classic pieces in there this season, however, they’re more on the casual side.
Next up we went to Accessorise and Monsoon. They had so many classic and geometric piece of jewellery, bags in deep berry shades and primary colours. We swung by River Island too – they had some great options in there, but I found I was too tall for most of them!
Next on our hit list was House of Fraser. If you’re on the hunt for an outfit for the races I’d recommend starting here. They have the biggest range of brands under one roof. You can find everything from the more traditional races outfit to something a little more modern. Their shoe department is amazing too. I fell in love with so many pairs of shoes in Dune!
After a hard morning of shopping, we stopped for a lunch break at Carluccio’s and sat outside watching the world go by. I adore the food there and they have so many gluten free options. My crab and langoustine rigatoni was divine and the perfect fuel to keep me going for the afternoon. I opted for affogato for dessert. The combination of ice cream and espresso was basically the rocket fuel I needed. In all seriousness though, it was up there as one of the best desserts I’ve had!
I’m notoriously bad at making decisions and after trying on so many amazing pieces it was almost impossible to choose. In the end, thanks to Laura and Laura and the power of Instagram polls, I opted for the leopard print number as my outfit for the races. I paired it with a silk knotted headband from Zara for a modern and trend-led twist on the traditional headpiece. I’ll probably curl my hair on the day too.
I couldn’t leave the Zara jumpsuit and leopard headband behind, so I picked these up with my own money. I’ll probably be living them for the foreseeable!
Top tips for shopping for the races
Never shop alone – take your honest and stylish friends with you. Not only will it make the day more fun, but you can rely on them to tell you what looks good or not so good!
Start your search at House of Fraser – they have everything under one roof and it’s an easy way of being able to see all options all at once.
Ask to put items on hold – loads of shops will hold pieces for 24 hours so you nip to other shops and try n other things
Take mirror selfies – this will help you whittle down all of your outfit options. After trying on so many outfits it’s so easy to get confused.
Take a break and refuel – shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea! A quick pit stop will let you rest and reassess all of the amazing pieces you’ll find.
Bring on the races!
I had such a wonderful day shopping at intu Chapelfield with Laura and Laura. It was so easy to find an amazing outfit without breaking the bank. I actually can’t wait to wear it to the Great Yarmouth Races now. I’m also determined to make a day of shopping with the girls a more regular occurrence. It was so nice to celebrate our friendship and spend quality time together.
So here’s to good friends, giggles and lots of shopping. Bring on the races!