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A day at the races; Fashion Vicky Pepys likes to see a bit of spit and polish.

WE all have our peculiarities. It's even been discussed by Richard and Judy on TV this week. The difference between north and south dressing, that is.

Northern girls typically like to dress up yet wear less (that's from Manchester and Liverpool upwards, by the way) and spend a lot of time and effort doing so.

Parties of course, weddings yes, but also the great social occasions of the summer, and here in the North East our beloved Plate Day this Saturday, June 28, followed by Beeswing Ladies Day on July 16, are days when we can really push the boat out.

We're not hampered by the very formal rules of last weeks Ascot's Royal Enclosure dress code; there's been a big clamp down this year on too short dresses and thin straps, bare midriffs, off the shoulder and halter necks... but we might like to follow suit, if only to show that we're not all 'typical' and sheep-like in our behaviour.

It may also prove to 'southerners' that trends can indeed be 'set' up here.

The popular black and white colourway for occasionwear surely started here?

The bold graphic style is nowhere more in evidence than in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, on Plate Day; the loyal Magpie colours need no explanation.

Just in case you're interested the fascinator head piece, if skimpy, was also facing the Ascot chop; substantial fascinators that covered the crown, cocktail hats and traditional racing style hats were the only styles allowed.

It's been interesting to see who's been allowed to get in and who remains firmly 'out', particularly as it's the traditional showcase of the deliberately outrageous.

Its easier for men (isn't it always?) if smartly suited up they always look the part, but if they want to follow the Ascot code then it's possible to hire as well as buy black or grey morning dress, and the obligatory top hat must be worn at all times.

It has to be said race days are not Saturday party nights; a little decorum is required in daytime company and any extra effort in the spit and polish department will be rewarded by extra enjoyment and compliments on the day... and if the sun shines, that's even better.

STOCKISTS

Jaeger is at Fenwick Ltd and John Lewis in Newcastle, 0845 051-0063.

Precis Petite, for 5'4" and under, is at House of Fraser and Debenhams within MetroCentre, Gateshead.

Moss for Moss Bros Hire, 12 Northumberland St, Newcastle, (0191) 230-0221.

Wallis, MetroCentre, Gateshead, (0191) 493-2032.

Autograph is at M&S, Northumberland St, Newcastle, and MetroCentre, Gateshead.

Burton hire is available at Burton stores at Eldon Square, Newcastle, (0191) 261-0686 and MetroCentre, Gateshead, (0191) 493-2020.

Crombie, 7-8 Eldon Garden Shopping Centre, Newcastle, (0191) 232-1780.

CAPTION(S):

GET SPOTTED Black and white dress, pounds 99, in sizes 8-18, by Precis Petite.; DAPPER CHAPS From left, grey single breasted two-piece suit, pounds 575, with waistcoat, pounds 130, shirt, pounds 75, and tie, pounds 69.95, by Crombie; Tailcoat suit hire, from pounds 48, top hat and gloves, pounds 16, at Burton; Ultra light three piece morning suit from the new Royal Ascot Collection by Moss Bros Hire, from pounds 99 (top hat extra) to hire, and pounds 499 to buy, sizes 38 to 52 regular.; PERFECTLY GROOMED Black and white print puff dress, pounds 299, size 8-18, worn with print scarf, pounds 65, black belt with silver buckle, pounds 75, and sunglasses, pounds 75, all by Jaeger.; A CLEAR WINNER Silk panel dress, pounds 49.50, sizes 6-18, button hairband, pounds 4 all within Autograph at M&S.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 23, 2008
Words:595
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