Matalan Style Contest at John Smith’s Grand National

Posted in Fashion.

As you read this, I’m frantically body buffing, fake tanning and nail painting, because tomorrow I’m being whisked off to Ladies Day at the Grand National in Aintree as a VIP guest of Matalan. That’s right – I’m shedding my chunky knit cardigan and donning a dress to quaff champers and air kiss minor celebrities. Hoorah!


Matalan will be hosting their annual Style Contest on the day – fashionable ladies can take to the catwalk in the Style Enclosure (Red Rum Garden) between 11.30am and 2pm, and the style team will be keeping their Wayfarer-clad peepers peeled for the best dressed. The prize includes £5,000 cash, a holiday to St Lucia, a £500 Matalan shopping spree, £500 bet and £500 of Benefit goodies. Worth pulling on a killer dress and giving it your best smize? I think so.

Choosing a dress for the occasion was a life and (sartorial) death decision… in other words, I took it very seriously. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount but wanted something I’d be able to wear regularly afterwards (I’m nothing if not practical). I settled on this silk button-front print dress from H&M, which cost £24.99:


The money I saved on the dress meant I could buy accessories to give it that Ladies Day glamour:

Statement Spikes Bib Necklace, £20, ASOS

Metal Keeper Patent Skinny Waist Belt in yellow, £6, ASOS

Dressing my body was easy, but my feet are an entirely different story. I’m not much of a shoe person – I do enjoy a beautiful pump or perfectly-crafted brogue, but heels don’t feature heavily in my wardrobe.

After much clomping and stubbing of toes, I selected three pairs of heels and now I need your help deciding which are best. First up, the nude suede courts:

Suede almond toe platform courts, £35, ASOS (similar)

Pros: Leg lengthening, classic, relatively comfortable to wear (walking on grass not factored in)
Cons: Could be described as ‘office attire’, nude suede not good for grass, spike heel poses potential ‘sinking into ground’ threat

Zip back tan leather platform sandals, £15, Zara

Pros: Have lovely clutch bag that matches, ridiculously comfortable, not too high (i.e. don’t make me 6 foot tall)
Cons: Feel like I’m going to a BBQ when wearing them

Buckled grey leather wedges, £15, Oasis

Pros: Give any outfit ‘the edge’, wedges good for grass walking, people might refer to me as ‘directional’ if I wear them
Cons: These shoes hate feet, it takes approximately 15 years to get them off, ankle straps have tendency to make my legs look fat

You see my dilemma? I’m not sold on any of them, so here I am, crowdsourcing for a shoe solution. Tell me please – option one, two or three, four (run to the nearest Office brandishing my Mastercard) or secret option number five (wear flip flops. I’m joking. Would be easier though.) – what do you think?

PS – Should I wear a hat? If Coleen Rooney sees my naked head, will I be banished from Cricket forever?!



Aaaaah, aren’t you lucky! Wish I was going to the National. I love your dress, it’s definitely going to stand out & I think it’ll look the best with the nude suede heels. Absolutely gorgeous! Can’t wait to hear all about it!


I love a day out at the Races! I always go Ascot and Newmarket with my mum. Its so much I am ususally drunk as a skunk on Pimms by midday haha!
Hope you have a brilliant day!
I think the first option is best, can get some protective spray?


I’d definitely go with the nude ones, classy like you say. I’m not sold on a hat but there are some really nice fascinator-thingys on the high street 🙂 Hope you have a great day x


The dress is brilliant, perfect choice. I say hat, if you like hats, shame to waste a good excuse for a hat!

Fashion Junkie

Beautful dress, LOVE the necklace and the belt, and my personal vote for shoes goes to the black leather wedges, purely because of the walking on grass issue. Also what about some flats? I think they sometimes are discounted when thinking glamour, but a really pretty pair or very classy plain leather pair can be just as glamorous and stop any problems with grass, comfort or height.

Have an awesome day.


I vote wedges! Really like the necklace, think you will look fab tomorrow!! Hope you have a brilliant time xx


Would you wear heels if this wasn’t a style contest? Sometimes a pair of ballet pumps or brogues (I love brogues) can look equally as stylish as heels. It solves the problem of walking on grass and sinking and you can wear them all day without fear of the balls of your feet burning, blisters and twisted ankles…
Love the dress btw…
Good luck, hope you have a fab day.
p.s. all that said, I’d go for the wedges.


id go for the middle ones myself.. i think they would look summery without looking to heavy and are quite sturdy to take walking all over the grass!..
jut bear in mind that you do not want to look like some of the horrors who end up there.. and who usually end up on the worst dressed pages for the weekend!!
have a great time.. that necklace is gorgeous and looks lovely against the pretty dress

Sarah B

I’d suggest the black wedges. They compliment the dress and will make walking on grass so much easier. Plus it’s supposed to be gorgeous weather so it’ll be a good opportunity to bare your toes to the world! Have fun!


I think the nude pair will give you a really sophisticated look but the black wedges are definitely more edgy. I guess you have to choose if you want ‘directional’ or classic. Either way, with a dress like that you’ll look fab and no doubt have a blast!

Have fun 🙂

Rachel - Firebird

The last ones are immense! Though I’d probably insist on wearing my trainers or DMs to a Ladies Day so I don’t think my opinion on shoes should be taken in to the equation.

What I will say though is never ever pass on the opportunity to wear something on your head. A stylish fascinator would amazing with your cropped hair


The first pair would be lovely with the outfit, but definitely spray the hell out of them with protective stuff or the suede will get ruined. If you’re worried about sinking you can buy heel stoppers that’ll stop you disappearing into the ground, and also means you won’t track mud if you walk inside.


Aww that dress is SO nice. Personally, I would go for a hat. And I think I’d probably go for option 3 on the shoe front but I can see why the decision is hard to make! Have a lovely day.


so jealous!! this sounds like such a fun day!! and the weather is so good at the min it’ll be such a good day! cant wait to see your photos jen! and ps im off to try and buy the H&m dress now!! 🙂 xo

Funny Little Frog

So jealous, the races are fantastic….and even better if you win! Might be a bit late now but I’d say wear something in your hair or a hat (you have to for the races) I tend to go for fasinators, also having gone to the grand national last year I would suggest wearing which ever heels are comfier, sometime’s you’ve got to be practical. Hope you have fun xxx


I’m loving the pumps and the wedges, but for this, I think I’d choose the wedges. Have fun!!


I think i need to go back and pick the dress up! I’d pick the buckle wedges to not be so matchy but nude would look lovely too and a safe colour, not so practical. Would love to know which you chose. xx


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