what did marco polo do Fashionista Carson Kressley offers style pointers for Devon

polo coats for kids Fashionista Carson Kressley offers style pointers for Devon

Style guru Carson Kressley has become as much a fixture at the Devon Horse Show as lemon sticks and lady’s hats.

An accomplished equestrian, this spring he will once again compete in the show’s American Saddlebred classes, emcee Devon’s Black Tie Boots Ball (May 8) and judge the Lady’s Day Hat Contest (June 2).

As upbeat and friendly and not nearly as over the top in person as he is on screen, Carson, 40, is an Allentown native and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Gettysburg College.

He chatted with me about “horse show chic” from Australia a few weeks ago.

So, how should we be dressing for Devon?

Well, this is truly an old school society event, and although we no longer wear top hats and tails to the horse show, you should be at least a little dressed up. Men in blue blazers and Nantucket reds or other novelty pants (think skinny wale cords embroidered with martini glasses!) and penny loafers would be great.

Don’t go overboard on the shoes. I have personally ruined many a pair of Gucci loafers at Devon. Remember it is a sporting event so sporty and dignified would be key words.

For the ladies, I think a nice summer dress is perfect. Bring out the J. McLaughlin, the Lilly and the Polo and don’t be afraid of color. Hats are great too; just understand that they should be summery and colorful. (A felt hat has no place at a spring horse show!)

Bonus points go to those who incorporate a horsey flair or wear the Devon colors: a strong baby blue and creamy white! Of course, if you are competing at the show, a riding habit, jods, or breeches are always fine by me!

You and I are judging the Ladies’ Day Hat Contest again. Do you have any tips for this year’s contestants?

There are several categories so plan accordingly. I like a whimsical hat that has been put together either by a professional milliner or a creative hat wearer! Incorporate the feeling of the show and be very appropriate. You might use the show colors, treats that horses adore (carrots and peppermint,s anyone?) or something just plain crazy! One of last year’s winners created a show jumping scene complete with stuffed horse, a jump and live plants. She literally needed to strap it to her head to keep it stabilized. I think she left in a cervical collar but her hat was a winner!

A very tasteful and chic hat always gets my vote too!
what did marco polo do Fashionista Carson Kressley offers style pointers for Devon
Maybe a delicate fascinator style hat with a tailored 1940’s esque Veronica Lake number would be a good way to go! When the hat is simple, it should be the crowning accessory of a really great look. The whole outfit needs to be fantastic.

We didn’t’ have any men in the contest last year, and guys can look incredibly chic in a rakish Panama.

You spend several days competing at Devon every year so you get a firsthand look at how Main Liners put themselves together. What do you think of Main Line Style? Does our suburban style need more of an uptown edge?

I think the thing that’s so great about Devon style is that it’s NOT urban. It is totally appropriate for the setting and I love it! Bring on the vintage Lilly, the hats, the wicker purses and the seersucker.

The Main Line aesthetic is one of the things that makes Devon so special and why people from all over the world come to compete there!

It seems to me that preppy style can go two ways: classic and cool (a la J. Crew, Tory Burch) or dull and dowdy (LL Bean). Are there any tricks to doing preppy right?

Color color color. There is no reason to dress preppy without embracing the great colors of that genre. Lime green and hot pink always work. Even on guys. And Devon is the perfect venue to pull it off.

Also I think fit is a key issue. Some preppy clothes can be out of date looking and quite baggy. Make sure everything is slim fitting and lean, and it will look up to date.

Vintage is great too, in small doses. Pair a vintage bag with a new shift from J. Crew and you will look fabulous.

Guys can do the same with some vintage neckwear or better yet, go to Lilly Pulitzer and ask for the Grandstand tie designed by ME! I did an entire collection for them with horsey themed dresses, pants and ties and bags. It’s so very DEVON. In fact, it was inspired by DEVON!

Several designs in your QVC clothing line, “Perfect,” have been inspired by your love for all things equestrian; riding boots and Hunter Wellies are hotter than ever. What makes the equestrian look so eternally chic?

I think because it is classic. It’s well tailored, tasteful and works in so many settings both city and country. When we think of truly stylish women, and even when we look at their photos today, we do not see trendy looks, we see classic looks. Think of Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn they would be just as chic today as they were so many years ago.

Is there such a thing as dressing too preppy for Devon?

I say: the preppier the better! Bring it on!

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what did marco polo do Fashionista Carson Kressley offers style pointers for Devon