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Race wear is a tradition almost as old as horse racing itself. More than 150 years ago Fashions on the Field took playing dress ups to an entirely new level which changed both women’s and now men’s perspective on a day at the races. The words Fashion and Field were first paired together in the Australian Women’s weekly with a headlining story titled “In the Fashion Field for Flemington”. The article featured the fierce fashion that was on display at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and the launch of the iconic “fashion on the fields” to showcase the bold and vibrant outfits.

As fashion evolved through time, race wear saw its own changes, with bonnets turning into fascinators, raising hem lines and hats and gloves and stockings no longer being considered a necessity. However so many race wear traditions have stood the test of time, with some entrants today looking as if they have stepped out of the 1950s, yet still fitting in with the most current trends. But it’s not just about the women’s fashion anymore. Men are indulging in their passion for fashion more than ever now and showcasing their unique tailored looks and trends.

The stakes have grown even higher with today’s Fashion on the Fields. Melding the old and new, the judging criteria respects the traditions of the past while still applauding dressing to current trends. For everyone around the state entering a FOTF this year, this is a guide for what the judges might be looking for at each event. (Please remember this is not a set criteria and will vary from each club). 

Appropriateness of the outfit for the particular event and conditions

  • Entrants should dress with the weather in mind ie. if it’s a Winter Cup, they should dress in appropriate clothing, not in a summer dress
  • A dirt track and surrounds should also be considered, as footwear should be tailored to the conditions
  • Entrants should not be dressed as if they are going to a nightclub – appropriate daywear is essential

 Originality and confidence

  • The entrant’s personality and willingness to think outside the square should be obvious in their outfit
  • They should look confident and happy in their outfit and wear something that makes them stand out in a positive manner

 Attention to detail with accessories

  • Ladies appropriate headwear is essential
  • Men’s accessories should be considered (but not essential)
  • The overall picture must be considered in the judging – bag, shoes, jewellery and headwear
  • The entire outfit must be complementary and fit together

 Appreciation of current fashion trends

  • Entrants must show that they’re aware of current trends and interpret these trends in their own way
  • Elements of their outfit should reflect current trends without losing the entrant’s personal flair

 Grooming and deportment

  • Entrants will be judged according to not only their outfit, but also the way they carry themselves on stage
  • Hair, makeup and behaviour on stage will also be considered by the judges

Most of all, remember that while there is a judging criteria, the competition is as much about being yourself, and letting your personality shine through in your look. P.s Don’t forget! There is nothing like a day at the races. For all upcoming FOTF events click here.

(Please note the above judging criteria is to provide inspiration, and will differ from each club).

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