Posted on: 10/26/2016 Posted by: Jiawa Liu Comments: 0
What to wear to Spring Racing Carnival

Advice from an (unlikely) Myer Fashions on the Field judge

As regular readers, I can understand that you may be in ever-so-slight shock at such a topic as, what to wear to Spring Racing Carnival, appearing here on Beige Renegade. Similarly, those of you, who are not yet familiar with our 83%-denim-wearing minimalist manifesto, may be dubious as to the writer’s authoritativeness on race fashion, if judging solely by this very nonconformist racewear look, which patently breaks a slew of race fashion rules. But, as unlikely as it may seem, yours truly is honoured to be a judge of Myer Fashions on the Field, Australia’s premiere race fashion competition. Truthfully, I felt as a Soviet spy who had stumbled into an Allied war meeting in session – perhaps the war metaphor is a step too far – and as such, what I offer is an astute outsider’s look at what really matters in the veritable secret society that is the race fashion circles.

The intel? Putting aside the A4 piece of paper which outlined, in admittedly egalitarian terms, that creativity and trend observance trumped the narrow parameters of what entrants ought to wear to Spring Racing Carnival, what I observed to appeal to my fellow judges was inevitably the image of the elegant high society lady imagined by any self-respecting 10-year-old aspiring princess. And this perhaps sums up the underlying aesthetic of race fashion exactly. Such an aesthetic, comprised of a feminine silhouette, conservative lengths and old-fashioned sensibilities, in the face of the rapid changes in the big wide world of fashion, is zealously protected by racewear tradition.

At this point, I can just about sense your pointed questions. Why can’t race fashion be as democratic as the fashion industry at large? Is it at all meaningful to dress up as the affluent upper class for a day, when such an activity is almost by definition a past time of the proletariat? One could go down some serpentine dissertation on the point, but suffice it to say: it just wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.

Ultimately, Spring Racing Carnival and other race days are nothing if not a form of indulgent escapism. It’s the opportunity for women to, as my fellow judge Emily Hunter (national winner 2015, no less) put it, assume a glamorous alter ego. Emily, who works an administrative job in ‘real life’, was the vision of an upstairs character in delicate pastel blue pleats. I can sympathise with the notion that the accessibility of extravagant clothing came too late for those that share that My Fair Lady dream. The days when dressing successfully to rigid societal standards yielded admiration and reward are no more. But race day is the magical land that time forgot. It is no wonder then, that the WA State winner, with her numbered fan in hand, was brought to tears of exhilaration.

So trusting that I have – rather long-windedly – established my expertise on the matter, what to wear to Spring Racing Carnival? If you would like to play by the book, do as I say and not as I do:

  1. Your silhouette should be decidedly feminine. Fit and flare is always safe.
  2. The skirt should be between mid-calf and knee-length, and no shorter.
  3. Steer away from eveningwear styles such as strapless, low cut or bodycon
  4. The colours and prints should be spring appropriate
  5. Headwear, whether a fascinator or hat, is compulsory
  6. Flat shoes are not an option
  7. Show as little skin as possible. Absolutely no midriff.
  8. The look should be lady-like and never sexy
  9. Creativity is important, but more important is a well coordinated look from head to toe

Here are some pieces I love, for those who would like to live the My Fair Lady dream for a day.


For those of you less interested in placing in Myer Fashions on the Field, by all means, wear a pink suit.

Location:Perth, Australia | Photography: Bloggers Boyfriend

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