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Fashion types bring flair to prince's Connecticut polo match

| Sunday, May 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Bring on the white pants: Memorial Day rule be damned.

Many in the invitation-only crowd of about 400 who gathered to watch Prince Harry's team win the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup at the Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut brought out their summer clothes, including white pants, floral sundresses and even some seersucker. Model Karolina Kurkova even wore optic-white shoes with her white-and-navy Carolina Herrera dress.

However, as raindrops fell and temperatures hovered around 60, the spectators who probably most enjoyed the match were the ones in tailored leather jackets, cozy wraps and trench coats.

The event raised money for the prince's charity that benefits children in the small African nation of Lesotho.

Gayle King, co-host of “CBS This Morning” and editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine, wore a floral dress and a BB Dakota capelet trench. King said she wanted to be “Harry appropriate.”

At a luncheon held before the match, the prince wore a navy blazer and trousers with a white button-down shirt. No polo-collared shirts until he took to the field later.

His primary polo rival, Nacho Figueras — who models for Ralph Lauren fragrances — added a little more flair to his navy jacket with a pocket square.

The match drew Jason Wu and Valentino and models Jessica Stam and Stephanie Seymour, whose husband, Peter Brandt, owns the club. Stam and Seymour wore all black, but they are from the fashion crowd, after all.

A few women donned big, colorful Kentucky Derby-style hats for the event in Greenwich, a New York City suburb, although the consensus of the crowd was that hats actually have ties to horse racing, not polo.

Jay Fielden, editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine, which served as a sponsor, said he could think of no better occasion to wear a white suit — which he did. “A white suit is not something to wear every day, not to Christmas or Thanksgiving. This is really the only place, or an exotic expedition in Africa.”

“Polo seems elegant, sort of a cross between tennis, golf — and a little bit ‘Bridesmaids,' ” he said.

Fielden said he could imagine a big fashion film like “The Great Gatsby” influencing a dressier, dapper look at this summer's polo matches. The movie helps make sense of the look and makes it simultaneously desirable and accessible. (Polo clubs across the country, including Fielden's hometown of San Antonio, host family friendly, low-key polo matches throughout the summer season.)

The one non-negotiable part of the dress code should be the shoes: flats or wedges only. Anything with a spiky heel sinks into the grass, as many found out as they gathered as close to the field as possible to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and his trophy.

The match wrapped up a weeklong visit by the British prince to the United States.

Samantha Critchell is the AP fashion writer.

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