Yes it’s true, die hard Fashions on the Field fans like me can spend 6 months or more planning just one outfit for the races. Crazy yes I know! Let’s be honest, not everyone has that much time to dedicate to one outfit or event. So what do you do when your buddies text you at the last minute and say ‘hey, we’re off to the races this weekend and you’re coming”?

Don’t be daunted if you have minimal time to pull something together…. You can easily look fabulous without spending all your waking hours and life savings on an outfit. These are a few examples to show you how easy it is to mix and match new pieces with old ones. The black boater was $15 from Kmart, I found the green top discounted for $10 at Valley Girl and the white A-line C/meo skirt was on sale for $80 at Harbourtown Adelaide. The rest of the items I’m wearing are from Winning Post Boutique and you can find them for sale on the Carousel’s new arrivals page.

the races
the races
the races

HATS & HEADPIECES – Pop something on your head even if it’s a headband from Sports Girl, Lovisa, Mimco or Kookai. You could even find a cheap hat from Myer, K-mart or Target and do a little DIY by adding flowers or ribbons to match your outfit. Better yet, borrow something from a friend. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Going to the races is a great opportunity to wear something on your head so make the most of it, there aren’t many events like this where you can literally go all out from head to toe. Not all race days have Fashions on the Field but if you are feeling brave give it a go. Keep in mind millinery is usually an essential part of the judging criteria and you need to wear something suited to the season (felts for winter and straws for summer).

NIGHT CLUB NO NO – Dressing for the races is a little different from other special events. Less skin is more but that doesn’t mean you need to dress like your Nanna. There are plenty of ways you can make your personality and style shine through without showing off every body part. The ‘lower the bust the lower the hemline’ is a good rule of thumb and remember butt cheeks hanging out should be left for the beach. Sneakers and jeans should are a big faux pas for the guys so if a suit isn’t your thing make sure you iron a shirt and pair it with some dress pants.

SOURCE A SQUAD – Give your besties a call and put the word out that the races are on and they are your designated wingman (or woman) for the day. Most race days start around 10-11am so you are guaranteed your Saturday sleep in and plenty of time to get ready.

SHOES WILL SAVE YOU – Pick some comfortable shoes because chances are you will be doing plenty of walking and standing up during the day (this goes for the guys too). Bring some heel stoppers if you know you’ll be on a grassed area and if your bag is big enough throw in some of those folding ballet flats for later.

BE BOLD BOYS – Ok guys, this one is for you! Pop on a tie, or at least get yourself a funky pocket square or lapel pin, and dust of your best suit. Don’t be shy to accessorise for a day at the races. Dressing up will show off your style because let’s be honest, we ladies do love to see a bloke in a well co-ordinated outfit and hat. It’s also a good conversation starter so give something new a go and show the other blokes how dapper is done!

WATCH THE WEATHER – When you attend any event you need to take the weather into consideration not matter what time of the year it is. A fur wrap, coat or cape will keep the chills away and an umbrella will make sure your top half is protected from the rain or sun. Don’t be afraid to try out a new style like a jumpsuit, pant suit or culottes if it’s cooler outside. You don’t have to stick to a traditional dress or skirt – especially in winter. You can still look stylish and be warm at the same time!

TIPS FOR TIX – Race day packages include drinks and food in an exclusive area and are have to be booked in advance. They can be great value for money and some events will donate proceeds to support a charity, so you know that your money is going to help others. There are often raffles, live fashion illustrations, parades and other fun add-ons to take part in. General Admission areas are a more casual option with most tracks providing seating, food stalls and betting facilities. If you know someone who is a member you can be their plus one for the day and get the inside scoop on the members only areas, but they’ll need to organise a ticket for you.

A WIN OR A PLACE – You may not know the first thing about how to pick a winner but that shouldn’t stop you from going to the races. There is no pressure to put a bet on and if you are unsure how it works the friendly staff or bookies are always there to help guide you. If all else fails pick a colour, number or horse name and go in a syndicate with your friends. You can also head down to the stables and check out the beautiful horses as they strut their stuff and choose your favourite from there.

HAIR & FACE – No you don’t need to put on drag queen level false lashes or get your hair ‘did’ for a day at the races. It’s fun to get pampered with hair and make up but it’s not essential. Keep your makeup fresh and not too heavy. From home you can easily do your own beachy waves or a slick pony if you want to save time and money.

STYLE IT UP – If you want to look great without spending a fortune there are plenty of hire boutiques that stock amazing designer brands. You can also order online at the last minute from websites like The Iconic, they do fast shipping and returns within Australia. For a matchy-matchy look  just pick two complementing colours or go glam with metallic accessories. You don’t need buy a whole new outfit either, just choose a favourite item from your closet and find something new to go with it.

STALK SOCIAL MEDIA – Check out your local track’s website, Instagram or Facebook page to get a feel for what their race days are about. Social pics will give you some styling inspiration and point you in the right direction if there is a certain dress code for the day.  Do your research and find out if there is free tram/train travel or entry that’s included in your ticket. Taking public transport means you don’t have to paper, rock, scissors for who will be the Sober Bob driver.

That’s it, just like any new event you may not know your way around but there are plenty of signs so you won’t get lost. Have fun and we’ll see you at the track.