Photo by Tony Valainis
Is it cheesy to dress to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s obvious theme during its big annual fundraiser, Rev? We say no, and so does Beth Boles, president of Blackburn Sports Marketing, who has been involved with IMS style since the CARA fashion shows of the mid-1980s and ’90s, when drivers and their wives would walk a runway in Jacobson’s clothes for a sold-out crowd of 1,500. “Rev is where you wear crazy, fun outfits,” Boles says. “The victory dinner”—which she might attend because her husband, Doug Boles, is the IMS president—“is where you wear a nice evening gown.”
Plenty of Rev-elers choose a gown, or dressy shorts, or a little black dress, or in-season Versace sneakers with a suit. Being Indianapolis, no one judges a summery maxi dress or golf shirt, either. And we love that unpretentiousness. But we also love a sequined checkered blazer, a tire-shaped purse, and anything that shows love for Indy’s most famous heritage. Here is some inspiration for next year’s outfit.
The Men’s Shirt As A Mini-Dress
Two years ago, Beth Boles modified the sleeves of a black-and-white Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirt and wore it as a mini-dress. This year, she reached into her husband’s closet for an Italian men’s shirt with racing motifs that she bought him about 10 years ago. Back then, she couldn’t pass it up, but he never wore it—it’s just not his style. Everyone knows that Doug Boles always wears a suit, even on a hot day at the track in May. So Beth found the shirt, altered the sleeves, and made herself a party dress bedecked with vintage-style roadsters. Here, Doug is wearing a suit by one of his favorite Indianapolis tailors, J. Benzal.
The Hand-Painted Swing Dress
Indianapolis artist Gary Gee detailed this feminine frock for Jody DeFord, a noted local fashionista who always embraces a theme head to toe to purse to husband’s neckwear. Not only is she decked out with a DIY tire purse, but her husband, Kevin, is dashing in a scarf made from fabric that Jody had custom-printed with pictures of vintage racecars driven by legendary Indianapolis 500 winners. Inside Jody’s purse is another treasure: a hard-to-find compact given to drivers’ wives decades ago, back when the IMS used to always give them a gift.
The Green-Flag Dress
Local writer Tiffany Brown always tells a story through fashion, too. This year, she wanted to dress in color and took inspiration frmo the green flag that signals the start of the Indianapolis 500 every year. She decorated a clutch purse herself.
The Maternity Robe
Black and white is a perfectly acceptable racing theme—and wildly versatile. Local designer Jamie Bushong of Hous of Dampier outfitted her pregnant sister, Shawna Fultz, in a B&W version of her signature, flowy, baby bump–friendly Hous Coat, worn over a spaghetti-strap black dress.
The Checkered Blazer
Scot Pollard, former Indiana Pacer and Survivor contestant, jazzed up the standard black-and-white checkered flag in a bolder gold-and-red pattern, measuring up to wife Dawn’s red-hot statement necklace that connects to a belt.
The Racecar Bolero
Racing and rock go hand in hand, and Indy designer Jerry Lee Atwood fused the two vibes in a custom-made crop jacket worn by Michelle Christy, a member of the Rev committee. The back is embellished with an IndyCar and checkered flags in Atwood’s signature bedazzled style. The silk lining is painted with a picture of the IMS pagoda by Indy artist Erin Huber. This jacket deserves a place in the IMS Museum.
The Wing-and-Wheel Shorts
Best of Black and White
You can’t go wrong with an inspired black-and-white outfit or sharp accessory. Some favorites: