Style Awards: Meet 2020’s best dressed

Running alongside Newmarket’s three-day July Festival, our first virtual Style Awards saw entries come from across the world. But the overall winner hails from home turf, as Velvet reports

Newmarket’s virtual July Festival Style Awards attracted entries from all over the globe - the farthest flung coming all the way from Australia. But the overall winner was Bury St Edmunds mum and shop owner Megan Barber, whose outfit, say the judges, “struck the perfect balance between elegant and eye-catching”.

Australian Sally Martin took second place, with her fun and fashion-forward pastel look, while Emily Roberts, of Bury’s Tabitha Ada Millinery, came third in her perfectly coordinated outfit, a twist on some of the season’s hottest trends, polkas, pleats and blush pink.

“The July Festival Style Awards is an annual fixture and we didn’t want to miss this year,” says Alice Ryan, Velvet editor and long-time awards judge. “After living in joggers during lockdown, we knew people were ready for a reason to get dressed up!

“We were so happy to see so many people getting into the spirit of the awards, albeit from home. Standards were so high and personal styles so wide ranging, it was a real headache selecting the top 10 - even more so to decide on our final three. So sincere congratulations to all those shortlisted!”

Alice was joined on the judging panel by Michelle Anderson, The Jockey Club’s regional head of marketing, and two industry experts: Rosie Rubin of Rosie Olivia Millinery, hat-maker to royalty, and fashion and beauty influencer Laura Blair, of @thelaurablair.

Meet the Winner: Megan Barber from Chedburgh, Bury St Edmunds

How do you feel about winning?

So excited! Although I’m at work, not sipping Pimm’s in the sun, it’s still been the highlight of my week.

Tell us about your outfit: what are you wearing and how did it come together?

My dress is ASOS, shoes and bag Karen Millen and my hat by my amazingly talented friend Emily who owns Tabitha Ada Millinery - and won third place today! The outfit was based around the hat: I knew I wanted something big, bright and beautiful and with Emily’s guidance this was the result.

What inspired you to enter the virtual awards? Are you a regular entrant in race-day fashion contests?

Ladies’ Day is an annual event for me and my girlfriends. We spend months chatting about outfits and my hat was actually finished back in March!

You clearly love fashion! Where does that love come from? And how would you describe your style?

I’m a creative person: I went to London College of Fashion and now have a shop in Bury, Sparkle & Co, making print jewellery, cremation ash jewellery and hand castings. I would say I’m generally quite classic and understated in my style, but when it comes to Ladies’ Day it’s time to embrace something a bit more daring.

What do you do when you're not dressing for race days?

When I’m not potty training and home-schooling, I’m at my shop creating treasured keepsakes.

SECOND PLACE: Sally Martin from Canberra, Australia

THIRD PLACE: Emily Roberts from Bury St Edmunds

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