What to Wear to a Sporting Event

Sprinkled amongst the glamorous galas in Monaco this summer are three renowned sporting events: The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters men's tennis tournament, the Formula 1 Grand Prix Race, and the Monte-Carlo International Show Jumping Championships. Dressing for these fabulous and high-profile competitions (and ones like them) can be challenging—even for the most stylish women. You want to look chic and pulled together, but still comfortable and casual. What’s more, these events are typically held outside, which means you need to consider the sun and heat when getting dressed.

Princess Grace famously wore a short-sleeve white shirtdress and a patterned silk headscarf to attend the rowing competition at the 1960 Olympics in Rome—and her classic and elegant sporting event style continues to inspire today. Here, Jose Parron, a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, offers tips on how to dress for Monaco’s sporting events, or whatever competitions you happen to have on the calendar this season.

Keep it casual

While athleisure isn’t appropriate unless you are actually participating in the sporting event,  overdressing is equally off the mark. The key is to choose easy-breezy neutral pieces. For example, pair a crisp button-down shirt or sleeveless cotton sweater with trousers or cropped white jeans. (“Denim has become so casual that I would avoid blue jeans or distressed denim pieces,” says Parron.) For a posher event—like a polo match or regatta—you can’t go wrong with a sophisticated shirtdress or midi sundress (without sexy details like cutouts or plunging necklines). Choose quiet luxury shades like white, camel, and navy, which make even the simplest pieces look more elevated, and when in doubt, go for a monochromatic look. Finally, throw on a blazer or toss a sweater or scarf (like The Monogram Lavender) over your shoulders in case the weather turns chilly.

Prioritize comfort 

Sporting events are unique in that they tend to involve both walking around and sitting for long periods of time. “Lightweight fabrics like cotton, or a cotton-linen blend, are smart choices because they are breathable, airy, and comfortable,” says Parron, who advises against wearing 100 percent linen because it wrinkles easily when you sit down. Also, look for relaxed pieces that won’t pinch your waist when sitting down, or ride up when walking around.

Choose chic—but practical—footwear

Not only do heels feel too dressy and impractical for sporting events, but they will also dig into grassy fields, and make it hard to navigate uneven surfaces and stadium seating. “Shoes can make or break an outfit—and if you wear the wrong shoes, you can even break an ankle!” says Parron. Instead, wear loafers, espadrilles (one of Princess Grace’s favorite styles), fashion sneakers, or woven leather flats. “If you absolutely can’t part with heels, wear shoes with a small platform or low wedge which will give you a little height without the peril of a thin heel,” says Parron.

Cover up

To shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, wear a wide-brimmed straw hat, or drape a silk scarf around your head and tie it under your chin—just like Princess Grace used to do when attending outdoor events. (There are six beautiful Grace de Monaco silk scarves to choose from, and each will add a pop of color and hint of glamour to your outfit.) Finish off the look with oversized sunglasses, and “apply a generous amount of a high SPF sunscreen while still at home, and let it dry before getting dressed,” says Parron. Tuck a small tube of sunscreen in your bag in case you need to subtly touch up throughout the day.

Accessorize wisely

Accessories are the secret to creating a luxurious sporting event look. “An easy way to elevate a casual look is to add one dressy piece to your outfit,” says Parron. This can mean tying a twilly around your neck, wrapping it around the base of your straw hat, or twisting it around the handle of your purse (basket bags or cross-body bags tend to be the most practical purses for sporting events). Choose from the Grace de Monaco The Cote d’Azur Twilly, The Promenade Twilly in Yellow Gold, or The Promendade Twilly in Rose Gold. You could also add a sumptuous leather belt, or shoes in a statement color. “This will make the whole look appear more polished,” says Parron.

Sporting events are becoming more glamorous—especially when they are held in luxurious destinations like Monaco—which requires fans to dress accordingly. Choosing understated outfits with chic accessories will strike the right balance between casual and stylish.

Photo Credit
Guillermo Vilas and Bjorn Borg with Princess Grace of Monaco. 1981.
Björn Borg receives the cup from Princess Grace of Monaco after winning the Monte Carlo tennis tournament at the Monte Carlo Country Club in April 1977. Photo by Jean-Paul Bascoul.