Fashions on the Field isn’t just for the ladies, there is definitely a place for the blokes too and we spoke to Ben Carbonaro about his love for the races and putting together a winning look.
Tell us a little about yourself….
I’m 31, live in Melbourne and have worked mostly in the sports industry including for periods at Netball Australia, Moonee Valley Racing Club- Home of The Cox Plate before moving to my current role with the AFL Umpiring Department where I am Training and Property Assistant.
What do you love about going to the races?
What I love about going to the races is that it gives me an opportunity to dress up nicely as I usually wear a tracksuit and runners to work. Also the fact that racing attracts all kinds of people from the rich and famous to the regular person who likes having a few bets each weekend impresses me too.
What is your favourite race event?
I experienced my first full four days of a Melbourne Cup Carnival last year, but without a doubt my favourite race day has to be Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley and not just because I used to work for the host club. It’s a day where racing purists flock to what is the best track in Australia to watch the races because you are so close to the action, you can almost lean out and touch the horses as they go around.
What is your favourite race track?
Moonee Valley is also my favourite track because it’s just such a great place to watch the races and Friday nights there over summer are great, usually a big crowd after work unwinding over a few drinks as well as placing a few bets. Also seeing a lot of smaller country trainers with only one or two horses in work win at The Valley is awesome as well, in a lot of instances it’s their first city winner.
Why did you decide to participate in FOTF?
Not exactly sure what pricked my interest in competing in Fashions on The Field and I love experimenting with different outfits and styles in an attempt to not just look good for myself but also hopefully also impress the judges too.
How so you put an outfit together for FOTF? On average how much do you spend?
My process for putting an outfit together is usually pretty uneventful, I’m about getting value for money and wear out of things so I love sales time where you can pick things for a fraction of what they would usually be priced at. I have five suits so I always ensure I rotate each through for fashions competing, I probably spend the most on shirts, ties and pocket squares. Average spend might be anywhere from $300-$600.
What has been your favourite outfit?
A favourite outfit, that’s a tough one but probably any I have worn when I have won Fashions on The Field at various country tracks in Victoria including Werribee, Stony Creek and Kilmore.
Who do you follow or look to for your outfit inspiration? What are your favourite brands for men?
I try to develop my own looks as I like to stand out from the crowd a bit with bold and rude/outrageous prints but someone who I do take some inspiration from is fellow Fashions on The Field competitor Michael McAlpine who has become a close friend, he always looks outstanding. Brands I like include Jack London, Brooksfield, MJ Bale, TM Lewin, RM Williams and James Harper. I particularly like RM Williams boots and you will see me in them at the races if I’m not competing in fashions because they a classic Chelsea boot that can be dressed up or down, they are so versatile.
What FOTF events have you won and what were the prizes?
The Fashions on The Field events I have won have been at Stony Creek Cup twice, Werribee Cup once, Kilmore Cup once and Ballan Cup once. I also won Country Racing Victoria’s Best Dressed competition a few years ago and that was probably the biggest prize I have won which was a $3500 voucher for a menswear store where three of my five suits were purchased.
What advice do you have for gents wanting to enter FOTF for the first time?
The advice I would give is to be yourself, but most importantly feel comfortable in the outfit you have put together and don’t be afraid to chat to your fellow contestants.