Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Barcelona, Monaco, Budapest, Austin, Sao Paulo: These are not Sting’s upcoming concert tour locations. They’re this year’s venues for the most prestigious racing event in the world, Formula One (F1). Established in 1950, this international motorsport event spans 19 countries and draws thousands of people and millions of dollars to the cities that host it each year. After a long hiatus, F1 returned to the United States in 2012 at Austin’s own Circuit of The Americas (COTA). It was an enormous event, one that filled 117,429 seats on opening race day and 265,499 total seats over three days of racing. That’s a lot of people—and a lot of people watching, as the television audience reaches an approximate 30 million viewers per Grand Prix! In order for Austin to hold its own against a fashion mecca like Shanghai, we feel that attendees must appear polished, pulled together, and effortlessly fashion forward.
While we would like to suggest looks that are appropriate for F1, it’s important to maintain the Austin vibe of casual yet edgy. We want Austinites to stand out among the international crowd, but without drawing attention in a negative way. The F1 races at COTA have a more jet-setter atmosphere than, say, ACL or SXSW, and, as such, patrons should raise the bar of their attire. Because Austin’s fashion sense and cultural attitude are unlike that of any other city—unlike, for example, the sophisticated black associated with New Yorkers and the tropical colors of Miami—it is important to keep its fashion identity while making a positive statement.
COTA goers will come wearing every fashion, from Burberry to Birkenstock, leather to loafers, faux to fur, and denim to diamonds. As the American Grand Prix is held in mid November, Central Texas weather should allow the flexibility to wear high-octane looks that don’t involve linen or flip-flops. We suggest being savvy about your seat location in the stands and basing your look on expected sun exposure. Hats are a great addition to accessorize an outfit and provide a little extra shade (no ball caps in the grandstand!).
Your footwear should be practical, catering toward how much you want to stroll, so we suggest wedges, boots, or loafers. Austin’s see-and-be-seen scene will be represented in an extremely eclectic fashion, so you have some freedom. To add a little Austin funk to your outfit, we encourage playing up your accessories; add on a statement necklace, a great colorful coat, or a fabulous handbag. Oh, and don’t forget your earplugs: Those cars come screaming around the track!
So, as you are looking out from the viewing stands this November, keep in mind that many will be looking right back into them. Our hope is that Austin doesn’t get a citation from the fashion police! Throw a blazer on over that T-shirt, and swap your Chucks for a sleek bootie. Let’s give Monaco a run for its money and show the 42,000-plus visiting international fans that Austin is no longer a fashion sub-culture but its own standout entity.