By Kate Piasecka, avid race-goer
I adore dressing up and heading trackside. I love racing fashion – it’s kind of like British wedding fashion with an Australian twist. I love the frocks and the extravagant millinery and the romance behind putting together a completely unique outfit you wouldn’t ordinarily wear anywhere but at the track.
I work in spring racing PR so as you can imagine, I’m in my element.
And so armed with the knowledge I have honed to a fine art, and in celebration of the 50TH anniversary of the iconic Myer Fashions on the Field, here is my guide to dressing like a fox at the races:
1. Be a traditionalist.
Thighs, cleavage or completely exposed shoulders should be saved for your casual summer wardrobe, or a nightclub.
2. Dress for the weather.
There is nothing worse than seeing freezing cold women at the races.
3. Millinery is a must.
A. MUST. Millinery can be a hat, a fascinator or some other kind of head piece like the Gatsby-style pieces we are currently seeing in stores. Millinery doesn’t have to be expensive. Trust me. Today I went to Spotlight and purchased a hot glue gun, some faux flowers, a ready-made base and a head band and BOOM, I have a magnificent hat (or so I like to think!) for less than $30.
Note from Andrea: If you’re going down the DIY route, only approach if you are really ‘crafty’ and you’ve got the time to make it especially fab. Circa 2003, non-crafty me swiftly created my ‘masterpiece’ for Melbourne Cup, only to find myself chatting with a renowned Australian Milliner in The Birdcage. Let’s just say I blushed, a lot.
4. If you are planning to walk on grass, do not wear stilettos.
Our Prime Minister demonstrated why this is so imperative this week when she tumbled onto a grassy lawn in India, and later said “…if you wear a heel it can get embedded in soft grass. And then when you pull your foot out, the shoe doesn’t come – and then the rest of it is as you saw.”
Sure, wear a heel, but make sure it’s one that won’t leave you with a sinking feeling – try a wedge instead. And if you don’t think you can last in your shoes all day, pack a pair of flats, I do it every year. Flat shoes are better than no shoes!
5. Old meets new.
Racing style is all about incorporating traditional style with on-trend pieces and creating a look you probably wouldn’t wear anywhere else. This season’s major trends are peplum, lace, florals, clashing patterns and neon. Work ‘em.
6. Dress for comfort.
A race day can be a long day, so make sure you are wearing something you are comfortable in, not something you will be adjusting all day because it isn’t right for your body type or that makes you self-conscious.
7. The sun is up. Dress accordingly.
Avoid evening-style dresses made from silk, for example.
8. Hydrate and protect.
Sunscreen and water are your best friends for a day in the sun drinking champagne. If you don’t hook up with these besties, you will look like a hot mess by the end of the day, no matter how amazing you looked at 10am. Trust me.
9. Make sure you watch some actual horse racing!
You know what goes best with racing style? Enthusiasm for the actual event.It’s fun flirting around in a frock, but it’s rude to ignore our equine friends. Go on girls, get into it!
All that said, I haven’t always been a self-proclaimed racing fashion know-all. If you Google me for long enough, you’ll probably stumble across 22-year-old-me, sporting a strapless leopard print number while sculling out of a champagne bottle at the 2008 Melbourne Cup. Classy.
Photos courtesy of sdpmedia
When your outfit is sorted, why not see how you fare in the fashion stakes?
Have you ever attempted a DIY head-piece for the races, and what was your secret to success?
And have you ever taken a Gillard-style lawn-tumble?