How to make the right fashion statement this Melbourne Cup

Ipswich’s Maree Horseman knows the best way to make a fashion statement at the races.

In recent years she has become a regular in Fashions on the Field competitions.

Earlier this year she won Fashions on the Field at Ladies’ Oaks Day as part of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and last year she was a preliminary finalist on all three days of the prestigious Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion and I enjoy entering Fashions on the Field because it’s both a creative outlet and a chance to dress beautifully and wear millinery,” she said.

Mrs Horseman is heading to this year’s Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne where she will again compete in Fashions on the Field for Derby Day, the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day.

She is expecting red to be a big colour this year and a focus on 40s and 50s style on the back of a House of Dior exhibition currently showing in Melbourne.

Before heading south Mrs Horseman shared her tips for race day fashion success with Ipswich First.

  1. Keep it comfortable

A day at the races is a marathon, not a sprint, so comfort is key. Wear an outfit that is appropriate to the season – a shawl or pashmina is always handy for when the sun goes down, and for the boys, lucky you – you will have your jacket!

For those of you not used to wearing sky high heels for long periods, I strongly recommend wearing-in your shoes prior to the event, because it is NEVER a good look to walk barefoot!

If wearing lower heeled shoes is in your DNA, perhaps bring a spare pair of foldable ballet flats (‘Jiffies’) in your bag for the walk to the car.

  1. Keep it Classy

Thoroughbred races are meant to be an elegant affair and were once popular with royalty; it’s not called the Sport of Kings for no reason!

So dress appropriately – it’s not a nightclub! Steer clear of anything that is, too short, too low cut, too tight, too sheer etc.

If in doubt, dress as if you were attending a wedding as a guest, or meeting the in-laws for the first time. As far as fashion trends go, that’s up to you, however if in doubt black and white is always a classic combination.

  1. Make like a scout – be prepared

Remember about it being a marathon, not a sprint? I suggest the following for your clutch: Band-Aids, headache tablets, tissues, makeup for touch-ups, a couple of safety pins and perhaps those Jiffies.

Also, have your travel plans sorted well in advance – both to and from the venue; it’s highly likely that parking is going to be a nightmare so plan to leave with plenty of time to arrive if driving.

Don’t dismiss public transport if it’s handy; in Melbourne the train ride to Flemington is an event in itself, with all the passengers dressed to the nines! If you plan to have a few drinks, be sure to book a taxi or Uber well ahead (or be prepared to be indebted to your teetotaller friend for quite some time!).

  1. Develop a thick skin

For those of you who plan to enter Fashions on the Field, that’s awesome! Like me, you may soon find yourself hooked! Here are the golden rules:

  • Most Fashions on the Field comps have a theme, so follow/interpret it as best you can.
  • Learn the judging criteria and adhere to them.
  • Don’t go in expecting to win, especially your first time entering, and don’t take it personally if don’t – you will need to develop a thick skin to continue with Fashions on the Field.
  • Enjoy the experience and who knows, you may end up with a whole new circle of friends.
  1. Have fun (but not too much!)

The races is meant to be a fun day out, spending time with friends and making new ones, people watching and perhaps having a flutter on a horse. Just don’t go so heavy on the drinks that you do something you regret. Photographic evidence lasts for years. Kick up your (high) heels but stay grounded.


If you can’t put Maree’s tips into action at least remember the words of legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy…

Melbourne Cup Flemington 2016.

Brisbane Caulfield Cup Day 2017.

Brisbane Ladies’ Oaks Day 2017.

Brisbane Kingsford Smith Cup 2017.

Lockyer Valley Races 2017.

Be in the know about Ipswich.

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