Chukkers, ponies, mallets, and divots: of course I'm at the FedEx Polo Classic

Photo creidt: Rachael Wang

The 2009 FedEx Polo Classic to benefit the National Rehabilitation Hospital was held in Chetwood Park in The Plains, Virginia on June 13, and despite the tumultuous economic state, no expense was spared for this lavish event. Even more exquisite than the fois gras hors d’oeuvres, custom champagne and crème de cassis cocktails, and beautiful polo ponies were the fashions that showed up on the fabulous guests.

Polo events are certainly a great opportunity for parading one’s style, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it was on this glorious afternoon. Women wore sundresses in fabrics as light as linen and as luxurious as crepe de chine. While pastels are customary for events like this “afternoon in the country” themed polo game, guests traded in demure baby colors for bold and sassy hues like chartreuse, lemon, and coral. Jewelry was, as expected, pearl and diamond dominated, with extravagant settings and gemstone pairings.

Despite the impracticality, ladies pulled out teetering heels and playful wraparound lace-up pumps—nevermind that the recently dampened grounds meant sinking heels and potentially ruined shoes. It was delightful to see women eschewing formal black for flirtatious and bright colors to pair with the sea of Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines apparel. More sensible guests opted for Jack Rogers sandals, which are both preppy and well-suited to field spectator games like this one.

While the women were dressed to the nines, the men were not to be out done. Dapper in pocket squares, bowties, and ascots, male attendees were every bit the dandy for this polo event. Lighter suits, like khaki, white, and ivory, were all the rage, while Nantucket reds held their own with the younger crowd.

The food was to die for, featuring incredibly rich French cuisine like coq au vin and steak au poivre, perhaps in honor of the visiting French opposing team. The politely rowdy silent auction, which featured luxury items like a gorgeous Hermes saddle, kept the mood chipper while guest swilled drinks from the bar. The event raised money for the Washington DC NRH, a not-for-profit facility that specializes in treating persons with neurological and orthopedic afflictions. This event is certainly a wonderful way to combine philanthropy and entertainment.

While all the décor, food, drinks, and guests were wonderful, nothing was more exciting than to see the hats worn by the guests. Large hats, small hats, round hats, geometrically-shaped hats, hats that were feathered, bejeweled, appliquéd, embellished, and otherwise adorned drifted around on the heads of proud fashionistas. Even young girls took part in this tradition, including an adorable tot who had selected a lovely hat just too big for her head, causing it to slide down over her eyes. Men donned Trilbies, fedoras, and Homburgs. With the balmy weather, cheerful guests, and lively atmosphere, this was certainly a day of well-mannered frivolity.

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