Naomi Schiff knows how to dress for a Formula 1 weekend

Naomi Schiff knows how to dress for a Formula 1 weekend

Naomi Schiff knows it’s not common to see women in Formula 1, let alone a woman of colour. But in the past two years, she has broken barriers with her calm, elegant style as a Formula 1 analyst and TV presenter, interviewing the world’s fastest drivers in front of a global audience – even in the face of racist abuse. But what sets Schiff apart from others in her field goes beyond her strong online following and sense of style. Before she focused her attention on on-camera talent, Schiff was once a racing driver.

“It was the driving aspect that attracted me to the sport,” the South African native told NYLON. “I’ve always been a bit distracted, and it’s very difficult to get me to focus on one thing. In most sports, you can’t get away with it because there’s a huge team working behind you, a lot of sacrifices and effort coming from all kinds of angles. What makes Driving a car is different from being able to concentrate while driving at full speed. “You are the one who gets in the car and has to get it to the finish line. She has a unique vision in a very focused moment.

This adrenaline rush carried her throughout her 16-year motorsport career. At the age of 12, she raced in the Volkswagen Formula South Africa; She competed in formula car racing at the age of 16 before heading to Europe and winning the Chinese Clio Cup Championship. She also competed in the KTM X-Bow GT4 and the now-ladies-only folded W series before feeling like she was at the end of her time on the track.

“It’s very difficult to be successful in motorsport, and that doesn’t mean that many drivers in the world have suitable, sustainable professional careers,” says Schiff. “I’m also tired of chasing sponsors because you spend your whole life selling yourself to people and then they promise you things. After 16 years of doing that, I’m tired of chasing people for money – it’s getting exhausting.”

It didn’t take long for a new opportunity to appear on television to materialize. Since 2022, Chef has been an associate analyst with the Sky Sports F1 team. In addition to her insightful on-screen commentary, she is known for her impeccable sense of style – a notable quality as her fashion presence grows both in and out of the ring.

With only two races remaining in the 2023 season and next week’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, Schiff is an expert on what to pack for such a special occasion. While Chief will be missing while racing in Las Vegas (celebrating her best friend’s birthday) also (which takes place on the same weekend), is full of tips on how to prepare for this historic event. Read more about Chief’s transition from the track to TV, her thoughts on fashion in Formula 1, and outfit ideas for the upcoming race.

About her background in motorsport and her transition to a career as a TV presenter

For the longest time in my life, there was no place I put myself in that I wasn’t referred to as a racing driver. The fact that I was going to lose that was hard to deal with. I think a lot of athletes, when they retire, they go through this transition and they’re trying to find themselves, and it’s a bit of an identity crisis. I was really excited to take on this role in my post-racing career because it got me talking about driving from a driver’s perspective. I have a professional career that pays me relatively well for the first time while keeping me in a sport I love. I’m working alongside drivers and people in the industry who I’ve looked up to my whole life.

On the rise of fashion in Formula 1

Fashion is, and always has been, very prevalent in motorsport. There were races like Monaco, where they used to have fashion shows outside of the weekend. In the last couple of years, some things have changed in the sport. You have Lewis Hamilton, the trendsetter on the track. Now, some bikers express themselves the way they want through clothing, and a stream of photographers line up to ensure they get that shot. From a regulations perspective, it’s changed – teams are putting pressure on drivers to wear their merchandise when they enter, as all these photo opportunities are moments where branding is more exposed. It appears that drivers are free to walk the track wearing whatever they want. Once they settle in, they switch to team gear, so it’s a good balance for everyone.

About how to dress for each Formula 1 location

When I started this role, I reduced the number of outfits required. I can’t tell you how much of a side hustle it is. It was necessary to define my style and how much I could stay with myself because I was entering a new field in Formula 1. I’m trying to reconcile what is authentic to me and what is relevant, because at the end of the day, I’m there to do my job as an analyst.

Right now, my style is more street chic, and I wear practical clothes. I try to raise these silhouettes of events on and off the track. We also have some limitations. I’m not allowed to wear open-toed shoes or heels, so I find myself wearing a lot of big shoes these days.

It’s been great to see other people feeling comfortable pushing the boundaries of fashion even further. In this sport, we chase the sun on the calendar. I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but many of the spots on the calendar are hot when we get there, so you want to wear something practical and comfortable. Since I stand and walk around all day, I need clothes that work both for standing and sitting.

About what to wear to the Las Vegas Grand Prix

Many people may not realize how cold it is in Las Vegas. They expect temperatures to reach 40 degrees in the evening, and it’s a night race, so you’ll need layers. I’ve been wearing quite a few suits lately, and I love them because you can pair them with a pair of heels or boots – make sure they’re comfortable. After all, there will be a lot of walking involved, whether you’re at the arena or heading to the fan zones to watch the venue’s amazing entertainment. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to push boundaries. Even though I won’t be in Vegas this time, it will be glamorous, so sequins and cut-outs could work well here — as long as they’re practical.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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