October is quickly becoming Austin’s busiest fashion month of the year. Just as Austin City Limits Music Festival drew to a close and attendees hung up their pink cowboy hats with boa trim, a whole new world was constructed about twenty miles away—one where the more money you spent on a Stetson the day prior, the better. Based in airport-blocked Del Valle, about thirty minutes outside the city, the Circuit of the Americas is home to the only permanent Formula 1 track in the States. More than 430,000 fans visited the racing compound this weekend, coming from anywhere from London to the United Arab Emirates to California. As the stars of the U.S. Grand Prix took lap after lap on the racetrack, twenty feet away, the rich, the famous, or just very lucky VIP-badge holders ruled their own runway.
Racing spectator fashion is its own genre: think a mechanic who buys her uniform at Neiman’s. But within the leather-bound confines of a cool racing look, attendees found plenty of ways to stand out. People clomped around in fresh-out-of-the-box Allens boots, identifiable by their wearers’ stiff walks. European guests, tricked by the cloud cover of a classic Central Texas 95-degree day, were sweating in their three-piece suits. The esteemed Paddock Club, located right off the track for prime viewing, hosted guests dressed to the nines in Prada and Loewe (though not as much Gucci as you’d expect). The “quiet luxury” trend had clearly gripped the racing fans: the more chic and less try-hard the outfits, the better. Even seemingly simple ensembles were made up of, say, $1,000 white T-shirts (armpit stains pending) and platform Prada boots.
The more daring attendees sported matching sets in monochromatic silk or leather. Some families showed up to the track decked out in their teams’ colors with matching Adidas Sambas, while a few brave women wore platform heels. We were all just trying to impress the F1 fashion king, Lewis Hamilton, who donned the hardest Versace chrome sunglasses to ever exist before racing on Sunday. See more of the best outfits from the Grand Prix—where the elites put more effort into their smizes and less into who was racing on soft compound tyres—below.