The fashions on the field at country races are tipped as more competitive than racetracks in larger metropolitan areas.
As women prepare to slip into their chosen outfit for the Binda Picnic Races this Saturday, March 16. The Crookwell Gazette spoke to past-winner and judge Gill Gilbert, and media manager for Racing NSW, Julieanne Horseman, about the etiquette of fashion on the racetrack and their tips.
“In the southeast there are a lot of serious fashion contenders,” Ms Horseman said. “Over the past couple of years, the traditional rules have been relaxed… and most women will apply a modern take."
Straw and chiminea hats, popular in spring and summer, are packed away as soon as it ticks over to March 1. “You must wear head wear and appropriate for the season.” This means a heavier fabric: leather; felt; velvet; or wool.
If the conditions are hot and dry it's a "smart move" to pull hair back, Mrs Gillbert adds. “You never really see strapless outfits winning fashions on the field, the races are associated with more ladylike fashion."
Modesty is applicable Mrs Gillbert says, “knee-length or just under the knee is always a good length in a frock or a skirt."
“It used to be a hard and fast rule to wear your stockings in Autumn, but everyone decided it was too hot on the east coast," Ms Horseman said. “The same with gloves… again it's way too hot. To play it safe, some girls will carry them and hold them against their clutch."
It is also traditional to wear a closed toed shoe, and the general rule is that the handbag match the shoe, Mrs Gillbert said.
Mrs Gilbert has racked up four wins in the fashions on the field and judged twice. “I won fashions on the field in a bright yellow dress… in a suit.. and in black white," Mrs Gilbert said. “I’m wearing white this year with a touch of bright lime, I’ve never ever worn plain white. A block colour of a really bright colour always does stand out."
The Binda Picnic Races, Fashions on the Field, will be judged at 3pm in the saddling enclosure, committee member Catherine Harborne said. Selections will take place throughout the day, and entry cards will be passed out to the best-dressed ladies and the best-dressed couple.