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Autumn Aesthetics: The gentleman’s guide to racing attire

Any man who has gotten ready for an event in the same room as a woman knows that look. The ‘You have it so infuriatingly easy’ glare that usually accompanies her squeezing into shape-wear before asking you to zip her up. But however easy it may appear for guys to slip on a suit and roll around in flat shoes all day, it’s the finest features that count most in menswear. FATR discusses the details with industry expert Luc Wiesman ahead of Oakbank - one of the state’s most prominent racing weekends.

D’MARGE founder Luc Wiesman began his relationship with style during his childhood. “My mother was a model, she was always around fashion, so I was aware of it from a young age,” Luc said. “I also had some close friends who were just naturally stylish, so I took inspiration from them,” he said. “As I grew up I began to understand what went with what and how to dress a certain way.”

Though he is one of Australia’s most stylish men, Luc believes he is still learning. “Just last week I discovered how to wear seeker-sucker (striped) trousers,” Luc said. “Having a willingness to try new things and cop some flak is helpful in discovering more about fashion and style.”

In the lead up to launching D’MARGE, Luc was working in advertising and found himself bored. “Plus, I wanted to get invited to cool parties,” Luc said. “Fast forward eight years and I never go to parties anymore and I’m so busy I barely have time to watch Netflix,” he said. “I got what I wanted but grew up a bit along the way.”

D’MARGE is ‘The Playbook for the Modern Man’ – a medium Luc developed because men typically don’t seek help from their peers. “They ask the internet, they ask Instagram, they ask us,” Luc said. “We’re their confidant when they need to know what watch to buy or where to go shopping,” he said. “It’s their way of learning without being seen as a novice and protecting their ego.”

Luc’s interest in racewear began when he was 19 and attending a carnival with some friends. “From there, I went to every Spring Racing Carnival,” Luc said. “Each year, I would buy a new suit, try something new, like a colour or a tie,” he said. “I remember I once wore a white shirt and a white tie with a black suit; that wasn’t my best outfit.”

Luc believes good racing style is defined by the details. “The knot in your tie, the cut of your suit, the shape of your shoes,” Luc said. “You can have the cheapest outfit ever just as long as it’s been well fitted and finished,” he said.

Luc recommends beginning with the suit, moving on to the tie or pocket square and finishing with the shoes and shirt. “We have a guide we publish each year which helps guys work all the different outfits out,” Luc said. “It helps them stay on trend and look the goods.”

This year, Luc notes the growing popularity of black suiting. “They were reserved for waiters for a long time but now guys are going for that slim Saint Laurent look,” Luc said. “Also, with made to measure suits becoming so affordable, you can now get a black suit made with big lapels and in interesting black fabrics,” he said. “Made to measure is my personal preference as I tend to like weird and different fabrics, however HUGO BOSS, M.J Bale and P Johnson are all great options for racing suits.”

While Luc believes pocket squares and lapel flowers will remain popular, more men are wearing rings and jewellery. “Of course, a nice watch helps,” Luc said. “I would opt for a smaller watch with the suit.”

However, Luc believes a good look will only take you so far at the track, noting intoxication and old or unpolished shoes as the biggest menswear mistakes. “Wearing sunglasses on your head - just don’t do it.”

Luc’s racing style icons extend to the men of the Mediterranean. “To be honest, the Italians tend to have the right kind of flair when it comes to suits,” Luc said. “Lapo Elkann and Luca Rubinacci are two guys who are always wearing bold suits which are perfect for marquee days at the races.”

With the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival nearly upon us, country flair is on our minds at FATR. Shoe Shed Director Sognia Slade favours the weekend for its famous picnic atmosphere. “It is a traditional country meeting where you can feel comfortable in a more relaxed outfit or dressed up,” Sognia said. “You can finally use layers in your outfits to keep yourself warm,” she said. “Jackets, scarves and boots will all be popular outfit choices.”

Sognia predicts boots will be a hit for Oakbank as the weather gets cooler - and this time, with socks. “Boots for men have become so popular for dress or everyday wear,” Sognia said. “At Shoe Shed, men will find a great range of boots from the timberland look to a classic pull-on boot,” she said.

“Men should definitely go for a pull on or lace up boot for Oakbank to give you that country feel,” Sognia said. “Textures and contrast stitching will be very popular this winter and the trend of wearing boots with a suit will continue!”

Rossi Boots Brand Marketing Manager Jayne-Anne Power says Oakbank is a staff favourite for its punting potential, fashion and bubbles. Describing the theme of the event as “Chic with layers”, Jayne-Anne recommends warm fabrics with a relaxed-cool vibe – and of course, an essential pair of boots. “You can combine style with comfort (and a decent pair of socks for a breezy day).”

“For us, quality leather is always spot on,” Jayne-Anne said. “We prefer our customers don’t change their look to suit the boot,” she said. “Wear the boot with your own flair and create your own unique style.”

To style a look for a country race day, Luc says less is more and light colours work best. “A khaki suit, open collar shirt (must be light blue or crisp white) and a pair of suede derby shoes,” Luc said. “Loafers wouldn’t go down well in the country.”

Now you are well versed with your aesthetic aspirations, start planning your Oakbank experience here. With some of the season’s best FATR prizes to win, plus everything from picnics to premiere hospitality on offer, it is the ultimate SA racing weekend worth wanting for.

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