What to wear, by Caroline at BTC

Above - Elizabeth, Stylist for Westfield, Judge, and ohh so getting it right.


Racing and fashions have always gone hand in hand. Fashion statements get bigger every year along with the prizes for Fashions on the Field. There are numbers of opportunities to stretch your fashion prowess at City Pacific Doomben.

So What do I wear?

A day at the races is one of the few opportunities left to get really dressed up – and you may be rewarded for your efforts! During the Sky Racing Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival we have a major prize valued at over $5,000 in the Hardy Brothers Jewellers 'Fashions on the Field' competition.

Hat vs Fascinator:

Wide-brimmed hats with floral and accessories look fabulous, while feathers, veiling and flowers in a head piece are extremely chic. Head wear is essential for a day at the races, how often do you get to wear a hat anyway?

Accessorise! Accessorise! Accessorise!

Jewellery is the perfect way to finish off any outfit. In fashion at the moment the beaded, shoulder-brushing earrings and shortly strung necklaces with a pendant – just make sure your jewellery compliments your outfit. A necklace can sometimes ruin a great neckline.

Dress for the season:

While the days may be bathed in glorious sunshine, as the sun sets it can get a little chilly. Bring a shawl/poncho/pashmena to wrap around your shoulders.


An Essential item of every fabulous outfit is a handbag for your lip gloss/lip stick, compact, wallet, phone, keys etc. The major accessory for the day at the races is a racebook and, for the truly fashion-conscious, jewelled baby binoculars!


Make sure you top off your outfit with an amazing pair of heels! However remember that stilettos sink in City Pacific Doomben's well-manicured lawns and your choice of footwear must be comfortable enough to dance in to our live entertainment for the day.

Thank you to Caroline at BTC for her article.  Read more about Doomben races on www.doomben.com

The Statement Outfit

The statement outfit really takes allot of confidence to pull off. You will look fabulous on fashions on the field and then you have to be ready to sit in it for the rest of the day. I love the over the top more is more attitude especially during Melbourne Spring Carnival. This takes allot of time and care with a brilliant couture designer. You have to plan your hair and with this item I took my fascinator to my dressmaker so it matched my ensemble perfectly.

Remember the attention to detail in the workmanship of the garment.  Look for welt buttonholes and the fabrics.  This outfit is silk, fully lined with tulle black overlay to give that silvery shimmer.  You can see how this finalled on Melbourne Cup Day.  That was the year a New Zealander won.  We love the ladies from New Zealand, but we just cannot let that happen again.

Also a tip, you are not only being judged on how you see yourself in the mirror.  Make sure that with an outfit like this with so much impact you have to have impact from every angle.  Don't forget your shoes either ladies.  There is nothing worse than seeing either scuffed toes and muddy heels.  When it comes to judging keep your man handy to have a spare pair of shoes.  Change into judging shoes at the last moment. 

Thank you to the lovely Dimitria, who made and designed this outfit.

The Basics

When first going to the races you are posed with a dilemma, what do you wear?  Here are some basics that will give you some ideas.

Tip: Think of the race meeting.  If you are going to a county meeting in the middle of no where, it may look fantastic but you will look a little overdressed if you are wearing Melbourne Cup attire.  Try and plan to know what the weather is going to be doing.  There is nothing worse than going in a sun dress in the pouring rain, and on the other hand, a three piece wool suit on a 35 degree day just looks plain foolish.

The big guns.  Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Golden Slipper, Doncaster Day, Caulfield Cup, Oaks Day, Derby Day.  Bring out your most over the top, Haute Couture you can grab.  This even may be a time to get a stylist involved if this is your first time.

Here are some tips from Dale Olsson from 'The Hat Box'. Dale is always happy to help her customers with their styling. Here are the top 10 tips from Dale especially for 'Fashion on the Field' entrants.

1 A shade and style of outfit which suits your body type and colouring. Do not choose a colour and design simply because it is in fashion.

2 Make sure your hat or fascinator co-ordinates with your outfit and doesn't overpower it.

3 Never choose more than three colours in your ensemble.

4 Bags and shoes no longer need to be colour-matched, however, make sure that every aspect of your ensemble blends well. For example, you could match your hat to your shoes or your bag to your dress.

5 Dress according to the season. No bare shoulders or sandals. Even if the day is warm, outfits must still contain a nod to Winter.

6 Dress according to the occasion. Racewear is formal day wear, not cocktail wear.

7 Pay attention to detail. It's the quirky little touches like dainty leather gloves or a vintage velvet bag that can catch the judges' eyes.

8 Good grooming is essential as is deportment. Stand up straight and smile at the judges.

9 An extroverted personality is a bonus. Judges love confidence – they like to see you having a good time.


Raceday Ready


It does not have to cost a fortune.

Here we have a pretty normal black and yellow dress.  Stylish and fitting your size.  Perfect for someone who maybe twenty something.  Just by itself, it is cute but a few accessories and you can take it from evening dress to race day ready.

A simple brooch that will set you back around $12 and an Olga Berg Clutch with some black ribbon soon gives this dress character.  Pick up a facinator, or if you are creative you may be able to make your own.  Some classic black pumps and black gloves, now you are race day ready.


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