The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 brings with it a sense of nostalgia. It’s strange that a race that started in 1909 has turned into “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, gaining global clout. Local news sources have been producing stories highlighting the long history of the race. And I can’t help but recall my first trip to the track when my uncle, took my cousins and I. We walked through the infield, saw gasoline alley, and watched the pit crew do what they do. It was an unforgettable day. As an adult, I’ve also had my share of visits to the race; partying in the infield and enjoying the race from the comfort of a suite. It’s great to have such a long-standing tradition here in Indianapolis, but I do have a complaint. Year-in and year-out, in spite of the diversity of the crowd and the unpredictability of the Indiana weather, the ubiquitous cargo shorts with the cut-off shirts keep making an appearance. It’s time to up the ante! Indianapolis is getting some pretty great press as we head into not just the racing season, but also (keeping my fingers crossed), the 2012 Superbowl. So guys? How about a few tips to help you look your best at this year’s race?
I recommend that every fashion conscious guy who’s planning on partaking in this year’s race festivities, needs 3 specific outfits. First, the Carb Day outfit. If you’re a race fan, it is a tradition to go to the biggest party at the track. It’s a great day to grab your friends, beer, and enjoy being outdoors with the sound of cars zooming around you. Just make sure you leave your ill fitting cargo shorts and cut off shirts at home. Instead, try the Polo Ralph Lauren Chino Vintage Officer short. The shorts are a perfect length, hitting a few inches above the knee. The Chino is a nice sun bleached casual short that looks great with a button down shirt or simple cotton T-shirt. If you don’t want to pay the $89.50 price tag, then I recommend the European fast fashion retailer H&M. H&M has some inexpensive cotton short options around the $29.95 price tag. This is a great option because you get a lightweight inexpensive short, since Carb day can get a little rowdy, that you wouldn’t mind getting a bit dirty. A perfect pairing is to find a linen button down shirt. Linen is a great option for the hot weather at the track, because linen is breathable and lightweight. H&M seems to have these every summer season around $19.95, and in a wide range of colors. If you guys choose to wear a T-shirt, please check out my earlier post about graphic T-shirts.
The second outfit you’ll need is a party outfit. There are a handful of celebrity hosted parties like the Fantasy 500 Party that are the hot parties to go to. My ideal party outfit suggestion is a blazer, button down shirt and a dark pair of denim. Let’s start with the denim. I am not a fan of all the fancy decorative stitching, but prefer and always recommend a simple pair of dark denim. Something that looks clean and put together. I often go to my Express straight leg denim for this look. I also love the traditional style of the Levi’s brand. Next, find yourself a black fitted button-down shirt. There is nothing worse than an ill fitting button down shirt. Sticking with a neutral colored shirt will give you the ability to wear multiple color combinations a lot easier. Then finish off the look with a pin stripe blazer. Then the fun comes in with some style options. Instead of just wearing a standard outfit, throw in a bow tie and pocket square. Pick a color from any of the signal flags used at the race, to add that hint of color. If by chance you don’t know how to tie a bow tie properly, I highly recommend the knowledgeable staff at Nordstrom’s. They taught me!
The last outfit is for Race Day. Go back to a nice pair of fitted shorts, and a thin polo. Believe it or not guys, there are different weights of polo shirts. Take the time to find the thinner weight shirt, sometimes it will have the description of “weekend polo”. I am a fan of the “boat style” slip on shoes too. It is a nice mix-up from tennis shoes and flip flops. To bump up your level of style, go ahead and add a breathable straw hat or fedora. The hat will not only add some style to your look, but also keep you protected from the sun.
The Indianapolis 500 is a fun event, so have fun with your fashion. Just because you are going to the 500 does not mean you have to stick with the cargos and cut off shirts. There are breathable fabrics out there for men, that will not only keep you cool but protected from the sun. So make sure you stay hydrated, slather on some SPF and have a great time, hanging out with friends, new and old. After all the Indianapolis 500 is a large social event. Hope to see you guys at a race party or track. Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines, and go shopping!