The NZ Polo Open continues to cement itself within the highly competitive social calendar of events each summer. Traditionally, the dress code for the final match day was formal “Sunday best”. But over the years the sport has continued to grow, attracting a broader more diverse crowd keen to inject their dynamic fashion flare onto the scene. It could be considered as riveting to watch as the game itself!
Coming off the back of the racing season and nestled amongst the flurry of music and social events, what to wear to the polo can be a bit of a grey area for first timers or those unfamiliar with the day. Plan for breathable materials. It’s a big day of spectating from the sidelines, mingling and stomping divots in the sun. You want to make sure your outfit is fashionable yet sensible. For both women and men, the rules are simple. Keep it elegant, effortless and comfortable.
For the ladies:
Dress: For a floating silhouette opt for lighter fabrics such as chiffon or silk, allowing movement, comfort and a bit of breeze. A two piece set can create a relaxed yet sophisticated look with a tailored pair of high waisted linen shorts, a top with a pop of colour, completed with a lightweight blazer or feel confident in a sundress or jumpsuit with texture or ruffles. I am loving the resurgence of wide leg culottes and would love to see these make more of an appearance on the day!
Colour: To create a safe classic aesthetic, opt for pastels or neutral colours or enhance the look with colour blocks or opposing hues. While the general guide is lighter tones, do not fear rejection if you want to flirt with a bold colour!
Accessories: Accessories are an easy way to accentuate your look or add structure to a flowy dress. A statement thick belt can add shape at the waist or allow you to play with hem lengths. Unlike the races, the Polo has a slightly more relaxed vibe, so shorter dress lengths are acceptable but keep to the guide – elegant, effortless and comfortable.
The Polo is not the event to showcase your creative millinery skills, leave this for the races. However you can transfer your creativity over to your hat; big, floppy or wide brimmed and add features such as detailing or a scarf tied around and draping down your back.
For the men:
Dress: Each year I am equally impressed by the outfits creatively pieced together by the men, as I am the women. I must say, kiwi guys most definitely have it in them! You can’t go wrong with a pair of neutral toned tailored chinos. Shorts are perfectly acceptable as long as they are tailored and tidy. Given its name, a polo shirt is an easy win on the day but I would encourage everyone to have a bit of fun with your style and wear a lightweight shirt and a blazer. This is where you can weave in pops of colour and patterns. I prefer a long sleeved shirt with sleeves rolled up over a short sleeved shirt but personal preference. Linen shirts are comfortably classic, exactly what you should be aiming for, for a day at the polo.
Colour: Let loose on some colour! Brightly coloured linen shirts are making a strong entrance this summer and work well when balanced against a neutral toned pant. Or flip it and wear a pair of coloured chinos with a white shirt or muted shades.
Accessories: Men’s accessories can be commonly overlooked yet they can take a look from smart to dapper. Add a coloured pocket square in your blazer, experiment with hats or swap out the leather for a coloured woven belt. Chelsea boots are best worn with chinos, while tidy boat shoes or loafers are worn with tailored shorts.
With that said, there really are no strict rules when it comes to Polo attire, especially in New Zealand. The NZ Polo Open has created a relaxed and open community of spectators all there to experience one of the country’s most exhilarating and thrilling sports. As long as you are contributing your own personal flare to the scene whilst respecting the sport and tradition, all are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there!