i Editor's Letter: The sartorial spectacle at Aintree


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You've got to love Aintree. I don't mean the racing, but the sartorial spectacle that is on display during the Grand National weekend. It takes absolutely no notice whatsoever of such ancient British shibboleths as dressing appropriately for the weather, or not frightening the horses.

To a woman, the ladies at Aintree were resplendent as ever yesterday in fake tans (bare legs – eek!), full make-up, high heels and short skirts despite the teeming rain and single-figure temperatures.

UK race meetings have their own distinct characters. Royal Ascot is full of women trying to look as if they are on nodding terms with Her Majesty and really do wear a hat every day of the year. The Cheltenham Festival is wall-to-wall green Irish tweed. At Aintree, however, you put on your best gear, pin on your brightest smile and have a great time. I won't be wearing my best gear this weekend – I'll be digging out my tattiest trackie bottoms, because I'll be working in the garden.

As Anna Pavord writes, next week is the first-ever National Gardening Week, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. The RHS has lined up a series of events that enable it to share the joy of gardening.

I am a confirmed biophiliac – just being outside, sniffing the fresh dampness in the morning air and seeing the dazzling green of new spring leaves, makes me feel happy. Research has shown that experiencing nature can have beneficial effects on physical welfare too – such as reducing blood pressure or blood glucose levels.

Like the ladies at Aintree, I won't care what the weather is like, or whether my attire corresponds to some spurious code. And although I might pass on the lippie and eyeliner, I will be sporting my brightest smile and having a great time.

Stefano is back on Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!