It's not a fancy dress party! What NOT to wear to the Durban July

The Vodacom Durban July is taking place this weekend, so if you’re planning to go – or to celebrity stalk on social media after the fact – be sure to read our list of fashion don’ts

29 June 2017 - 11:22 By Paula Andropoulos, Ranaa Patel and Toni Jaye Singer
Khanyi Mbau clearly didn't think about the chilly winter weather when picking her outfit for the 2016 Durban July.
Khanyi Mbau clearly didn't think about the chilly winter weather when picking her outfit for the 2016 Durban July.
Image: Jackie Clausen

 Don't take the theme too literally

The theme this year is 'The Colour of Magic', which may or may not be red, based on the hint-filled poem on the race's official website.

If you want to look sophisticated - and not like a magician at a kiddie's birthday party - think out the box when you integrate the theme into your outfit. Remember, the Durban July is not a costume party!

Take your cue from Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel Dutoit of KLUK CGDT, who interpreted the theme in a refined, creative way when dreaming up race day ensembles for the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase. 

Their looks featured iridescent fabrics and translucent sequins, which appear to be different colours depending on how they catch the light.

"The theme is a great excuse to play with colour. Break out of beige or black and make bold colour choices," said the designer duo in an interview on the Vodacom Durban July website.

They suggested wearing a neutral coat lined in a bright colour with a matching dress, layering colours or opting to create an ombre effect. 

Don't ignore the theme altogether

Nobody likes a party pooper. 

Don't wear impractical footwear

Don’t let the damp grass get you down – literally. Either opt for wedges, or buttress your stilettos with heel-stoppers to avoid sinking into the mud.

Don't forget that it's winter

Layering can contribute to a chic ensemble, but it always looks incongruous – not to mention a bit silly – when people team faux fur stoles with tiny mini-dresses that leave their bare legs exposed to the cold.

The Durban July always takes place in the heart of winter, so take the chilly weather into account when planning your outfit. 

@zarth_designs X Thabooty for #VDJ2016 #leadersofthepack pic by @@Mr3vcom makeupby @dreythemakeupartist hair by Thobile

A post shared by Thando Thabooty Thabethe (@thando_thabethe) on

 Don't forget it's a daytime event

"Lets bring back the glamour to the Vodacom Durban July, this means no trashy looking ensembles. The outfits need to be more race day than evening wear," said Invited Designer Sibu Msimang in an interview on the Vodacom Durban July website.

Don't go OTT with your choice of hat

That's not to say don't wear a hat, by all means do, but pick one that complements the rest of your outfit.

Make sure that it won’t distract people because it’s falling off your head, blowing away, or looking a touch too 'Alice in Wonderland' for comfort.  

Former Miss SA Rolene Strauss complemented her Anele Botha dress with a matching fascinator at the 2014 Durban July.
Former Miss SA Rolene Strauss complemented her Anele Botha dress with a matching fascinator at the 2014 Durban July.
Image: Jackie Clausen
Tamarsha Khanyile's outfit at the 2016 Durban July   was far too OTT.
Tamarsha Khanyile's outfit at the 2016 Durban July was far too OTT.
Image: Abhi Indrarajan
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