Designs by Rich Factory. (Picture: AFI Gallery)

If you’ve just decided to buy a ticket to the Vodacom Durban July and are at a loss for what to wear, here’s a style guide to help you with your race day outfit.

The theme for this year is “Stars of Africa”, and Durban-born fashion designer Jacqui Emmanuel says that “People tend to take the theme too literally. You see a lot of theatre costumes outfits”.

“This is not necessarily bad, but you also want to dress for comfort. Your outfit must be versatile as it’s the peak of winter, and you want to dress for the weather. The good thing is that in Durban we have an all-around summer, there’s only a bit of cold.

“So ultimately, what we want to do is keep things classic and clean and sophisticated.”

How to dress up an existing look

If you don’t have the time to shop for a new outfit, Emmanuel suggests accessorising an existing outfit to take it to the next level and fit the theme.

“Bring in some African elements with accessories like a headpiece, maybe a nice bag or a beaded pair of shoes. What’s on trend at the moment is stacked heels. A lot of people have them customised with beautiful, South African-inspired embellishments,” she says.

“When it comes to fabrication, add a scarf or a sash, maybe a nice belt, or you could do a printed blazer over a classic piece.

Race day designs using African prints by designer Rich Factory. (Picture: AFI gallery)

The event is outdoors, so sunglasses are a must and as for earrings, opt for nothing too chunky, because while you’re trying to keep within the theme, you also don’t want to over-accessorise.

“Choose a single piece and work from there.

“This year is about African prints, and ‘African Stars’ can refer to your Ndebele tribe and their distinctive prints and our Zulu tradition with African and animal prints.

“The idea is to pick a print and stick to it, or pick a style and stick to that. Don’t try to combine too much of it,” says Emmanuel.

Where to shop

Local is best with this year’s theme, "You want to support local - local designers, local stores, locally curated accessories.

“I think doing so will really put the cherry on the top when it comes to African designers bringing out African styles.

“The Space, YDE and local designers who can put together looks or have a ready-to-wear rail are perfect examples of this.”