This past weekend several friends and I got all dressed up for a (rainy) day at the Arlington Park racetrack in Chicago, and it was so much fun. I highly recommend this weekend activity if you’re looking for ideas to change it up as the weather gets warmer. And if you aren’t near a racetrack, this would be THE weekend of all weekends to host a racing viewing party – it’s the 2015 Belmont Stakes

Our adventure to the racetrack – an invitation we couldn’t turn down from America’s Best Racing to join their VIP suite for the day –  included a train ride, learning how to read the odds, betting on 8 different races, plenty of libations and my favorite thing of all – outfits.

This is a style blog, so I have to comment on what to wear, first and foremost! 

For women, a floral top or dress with a flouncy or A-line skirt screams racetrack-chic to me, so I turned this green J.Crew sheath dress into a top by pairing it with the flowy black asymmetrical skirt. Black is a bit somber for spring, though, so I made sure to keep all the other details bright as could be.

As for the accessories, it’s all about the hat so you better go big or go home, gals. And take the opportunity to bring it with bright shoes, tooYou might remember this hat from my Kentucky Derby party outfit! I just added some fake flowers, focusing on purples to tie the shoes and lipstick together with the purple/pink flowers on my top.

My friend Lindsay wore this beautiful floral summer dress (wanted to steal it) with wedges and one of my floppy hat creations. She looked perfect!

As for menswear recommendations – y’all have it easy! A great hat and a bright bow or neck tie will accent any shirt and blazer quite nicely. Have a little fun with your accessories and color combinations, too. Why not?!

horse racing on belle meets world blog

Since most people don’t have a horse racing track near them, another fun idea would be to host a viewing party at home to watch any of the upcoming popular races like the Belmont Stakes this weekend. Have your friends dress up, wear big hats and serve plenty of punch! And of course, don’t forget to place your bets –  a little healthy competition among friends never hurt anybody – and the photos of the losing faces are priceless.

Take a look through this gallery for our Arlington adventure highlights, plus some additional male and female racetrack-chic outfit inspiration from our recent Kentucky Derby party (photo credits to Evan and Matthew Bivins).

Thank you so much to America’s Best Racing for treating my friends and I like kings and queens for a day at the Arlington Park racetrack. Can’t wait to return!