How to Dress Like a Fabulous Boekelo Party Person

Photos by Leslie Wylie. Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Boekelo, which just wrapped up this weekend in the Netherlands, is part three-day event, part social event. There are big, swanky parties every night and cross-country day in particular is a sight to behold. This year some 60,000 people spilled out onto the sprawling course, some there to watch the horses, some just there to see and be seen.

To put the number 60,000 in context, that’s about twice the attendance of cross-country day at Rolex. It was pretty nuts. I’ve had better luck moving from stage to stage at Bonnaroo than I did moving from jump to jump at Boekelo. The best thing to do, I found, was just merge into the current and go with the flow.

The galloping lanes were lined with bars, and spectators started bellying up to them early. By mid-morning the party was in full swing, with champagne flutes sloshing and everyone cheering every time a horse went thundering past (not that you could always see them through the crowd!)

Great day at East Netherlands yearly tradition: the Military @ Boekelo!

A photo posted by tacopotze (@tacopotze) on

Which was actually sort of fine because the people-watching was pretty entertaining as well. As Leslie Threlkeld wrote in her Boekelo Instagram roundup, “One thing I noticed on the live stream this morning as the camera panned across the crowd and zoomed in on spectators — which happened as frequently as a horse galloping through the frame — is the Dutch are really quite stylish. I saw fur coats, you guys.”

Leslie speaks the truth, and I was taking style notes big-time. Here are a few fashion tips I picked up at the Boekelo trade fair, in case you want to get the “I just stopped by after the hunt breakfast on my way to afternoon lawn tennis with Will and Kate” country chic look.

First, let’s talk outerwear.

10 - Copy

You’re gonna need some tweed.

3 - Copy

Dude tweed.

Lady tweed.

Lady tweed.

Capes and caps are also having a moment.

It's like a blanket you can wear!

Snuggies do not count, sorry.

For a more contemporary look: puff jacket.

Iridescent is in.

Iridescent is in.

Fur-lined hoods are hip.

Or fur. Anything with fur.

Speaking of which, sorry PETA …

Boots with the fur.

Boots with the fur.

Gloves with the fur.

Fur-lined gloves.

Furry jackets.

Matchy-matchy fur jackets.

Fur capes.


You think you can't pull off the pom-pom hat.

You think you can’t pull off the fur pom-pom hat.

But you totally can.

But you totally can.

You also need a scarf.

Hey guys, does this scarf make my neck look fat?

Hey guys, does this scarf make my neck look fat?

As for footwear, country boots or wellies. Your choice.

Sequined wellies, what?!?!?

Sequined wellies, what?!?!?

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. A few ideas:

A bicycle with a basket and a bell.

Bicycle with basket and bell. Very Dutch.

A sporty-looking pup.

A jaunty-looking dog.

20 - Copy

A watercolor set, classic novel or portable instrument.

A delicious pastry.

A delicious pastry (or totally random potato if you’re trying to do the Irish thing, I guess.)

Some sort of fake European accent is a plus. And don’t forget about your horse!

Newmarket is classic.

Newmarket all the things.

Well, that’s all the fashion tips I have for today. I’m going to go back to sitting in front of my computer now, eating potato chips from the bag in a threadbare 1997 Pony Club rally T-shirt and pajama pants.

At least I have great socks.

At least I have great taste in socks.

Go Eventing!

Boekelo: Website, Final Scores, Final Team Standings, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Instagram