What We’re Wearing to the 36th Annual Harriman Cup Polo Match

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It’s “Boola Boola” vs “Wahoowa” when Yale and the University of Virginia meet for the 36th Annual Harriman Cup Polo Match on Saturday, September 9th. Gates open at 10 a.m., VIP Tent at 11 a.m., and at noon the valiant players mount their steeds for the exciting championship match.

The fieldside action is also in full gallop as the event attracts an all-age collegiate set for an afternoon of spectating and tailgating — then even more excitement commences with a DJ’d dance party under the field-side tent.

The Harriman Cup is a fabulous, fun-filled day in the country and a not-to-be-missed event for great polo and people-watching. The event draws hundreds of fans who arrive by trains from Penn Station to celebrate the legendary rivalry between the two teams.  Celebrating over a quarter-century of polo tradition, The Harriman Cup is part polo match, part social event commemorating the life of diplomat, polo player, and former New York governor Averell Harriman.

Photos courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame

Averell Harriman was the former Secretary of Commerce under President Harry Truman, and later went on to serve as the 48th Governor of New York from 1955-1958. He remained in Political Service for nearly eight decades, where he became a skilled negotiator and US diplomat, all while managing to rank 4th overall in the US for polo. Having graduated from Yale University in 1913, he was a treasured alumni whose name is celebrated every year at Yale’s annual Harriman Cup.

My first introduction to Rowing Blazers & J.P Crickets Ivy Loafers — both fellow sponsors and the Best Dressed Award.

If you pine to get your prep back on, this is the place to go! The attendees are highly stylized and serious about winning the Best Tailgate and Best Dressed Awards, which I judged for several fun-filled years — and no, I could not be bribed!

Hilary has close ties to the University as both her daughters Sophie and Gigi attended. “Having two “Hoos” in the family, I will be cheering for Virginia this weekend. I turned to Veronica Beard for my outfit choices. And though orange is not really my color, I found these dresses with a floral print that will do the trick … and prettily! Denim is always perfect for those on the Yale side of the fence. Add a pair of VB’s most comfortable wedges, a hat and sunnies and you are ready for this fun fall event. Go HOOS!”

Dresses:  Mikhail Floral Block Print  $548   /  Lexington Floral Block Print  $548   /  Julie Cotton  $498  /  Mauli Denim  $448   /  Lavella Floral Wrap  $598   Accessories: Oversized Tortoise Vintage Sunglasses  $79  /  Cosmo Hat  $266  / Tan Molina Mini Bag  $520   / Dali Block Heel Sandal   $350  /  Dali Espadrille Wedges  $132  /  Hannalee Suede Clog  $120

I also confess a loyalty to the Hoos as my son Adam will be playing for the team. What2WearWhere has sponsored the event, and judged the Best Dressed Award and the Best Tailgate Award for several years and it was always such fun to see the festive fashion in full fall swing.

For my what-to-wear to a great polo event, I shopped at Neiman Marcus for a selection of transitional fashion. Getting back to post Labor Day dressing always presents a bit of a challenge when your summer frocks are looking slighting worn and the chill of the fall hasn’t set in yet. Brights are in style this season, as are plaids. And I’m happy to report that a feminine feeling is still on trend. A big sunhat and shades definitely enhance your chances of getting noticed. Also trending are thick-heeled sandals, perfect for the half-time divot stomp.

Dresses: Ulla Johnson  Rosalinda Puff-Sleeve Belted Poplin   $390  /  Eddy  Julia Puff Sleeve Tie-Cuff Floral  $318   /  Veronica Beard Sherry Plaid  Snap Front  $398  /  Derek Lam Crosby Tora V Neck  $425  /  Eddy  Tina Sleeveless Fluted  $348  /  Ulla Johnson Phoebe Cutout Tiered Halter  $240   Accessories:  Ray Ban Gina Square Sunglasses  $182  /  Sensi Studio Crochet Straw Floppy Hat  $378  Shoes: Paloma Barcelo Brenda Espadrilles  $390

After the game, legendary polo player Adam Snow will be honored with the 2023 Harriman Cup Award. Snow is a former 10-goal player and 1987 Yale graduate. No stranger to winning — The Harriman Cup award joins his 2 US Open wins, Player of The Year titles held in 1997 & 2003, and his induction into the Polo Hall of Fame in 2014, which is the highest honor in the country for players of the Sport of Kings.

Photos courtesy of Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame

Adam and his equally talented wife Shelley Onderdonk, DVM, just released their second book, Winning with Horses. Together, they manage their New Haven Farm while working with the United States Polo Association to further polo development in the US. These books are not just for avid horse people; they are full of wit and humor and humanity for all of us to enjoy and learn.

The Cup is dedicated to promoting the sport of polo and supporting the collegiate polo programs at both schools. It was founded in 1984 by Tom Shuman, Zene Colt, Dick Cawley, Mike McGhee, Mike Schram, Molly Baldrige, Bill Ylvisaker, Lou Lopez, Steve Orthwein, Sandy Carden, and John Harris, Jr.

To learn more about the rich history of the Harriman Cup, please click here.

Spoiler Alert: The vivacious Pamela Harriman was instrumental in the naming of The Cup!

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