In my former life as a regional magazine editor I was often
enticed by promises of champagne asked to judge fashions on the field events at the local race track.
Disclaimer: we’re not talking a dirt and dust race track. This particular track is regarded as one of the country’s finest and it certainly is a beautiful place to
drink champagne watch horse races while dressed up and looking pretty.
… or so you would think.
Every Melbourne Cup Day. Without fail. I’d witness a new spectacle in the carnival that is spring racing.
And I’m not talking about the spectacle after the last race at 4pm when young girls and their not-so-dashing gents seem to take a keen interest in gardening. Or at least passing out in said gardens while waiting for a cab.
No, I’m talking about the spectacle around lunch time when the young fillies line up, clutching their fashions on the field number in one hand and a plastic glass of champers in the other, teetering and sinking in heels across the grass to walk up on stage for judging.
If there is a fall, Lordy … let’s just say that knowing whether they’d had a Brazilian as part of their Cup Day-grooming is more information than a judge needs to know.
What these girls – and I’ll call them girls because most of them had to show their id to get through the gates – got wrong every year was that they thought that whacking a fascinator in their hair and working it back with the outfit they wore clubbing the Friday night before was going to cut it.
After being abused by one
Tramp of the Track lovely young lady who stumbled over to the judges’ tent to take issue with our decision, I was forever grateful that as soon as the winner was presented with her bevvy of prizes that we were whisked away to the VIP area for a more champagne civilised lunch.
And I was forever grateful that no matter how many track tramps presented themselves for judging, there were always enough racegoers dressed to impress to make a stunning example on how to style it up.
So, as we head full steam into the Spring Racing Carnival, I thought I’d share my key points for turning heads (in the right way) at the track.
1. Start with your frock. Apart from Derby Day when it’s tradition to wear black and white, there’s no excuse not to embrace colour when heading for the track this season – you’ll find everything from graphic prints to bold blocks.
2. Be adventurous in your accessorising. A winning racewear outfit is all about the details.
3. Don’t make your hat an after-thought. Make it the focal point of your outfit. Thanks to the Royal Wedding (Princess Beatrice’s stunner aside) the hat or hatinator has made a huge comeback.
4. Make sure it all works together. Not in a matchy-matchy 1950s way, more in a complementing way.
5. Do choose an outfit that reflects in some way a current trend but don’t be a slave to that trend – judges want to see individuality.
6. If heading to Melbourne, plan an option for your outfit that accommodates a possible cold and wet day. A flimsy summer frock accessorised by goosebumps and frozen nipples is not a stylish look.
7. Don’t let your outfit down by slack grooming. Hair, nails, a pedi and possibly a light spray tan (depending on your outfit) make all the difference.
8. Please don’t walk out the gates at the end of the day barefoot with your shoes in your hand. Choose shoes you can go the distance in or take fold-up flats to change into.
1. Country Road drape front dress $249 | 2. Hats by Sandy A hat $330 | 3. Nancy Ganz sleek slip dress $149.95 | 4. Country Road Santana heel $199 (available this month) | 5. Mimco hybrid headband $149 | 6. Prada sunglasses £200 at Net-a-Porter | 7. Olga Berg clutch $59.95 at Myer | 8. Diana Ferrari jacket $169.95 | 9. Starlettos (to save your heels) $14.99 | 10. Samantha Wills earrings $170 | 11. Carly Paiker ring $132 | 12. Peep Toe clutch $110 at Westfield online | 13. Trenery dress $149
Are you planning to go to the races this Spring Carnival season? Have you got an outfit planned? Need a little advice … or just someone to stand guard while you avail yourself of the porta-loo facilities?