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Competition Judging Criteria

Race wear is a tradition almost as old as horse racing itself, with fashion at the races evolving for over 150 years. Since the Melbourne Cup was first founded in 1861, women have been putting on their best for the races. As fashion evolved, race wear saw its own changes, with bonnets turning into fascinators, and raising hem lines. Even with all the changes though, so much of race wear’s traditions have stood the test of time. Even today some women look like they stepped out of the 1950s, yet still belonging in the trends of 2016.

Men have got back into the act of dressing well too, where crisp tailored suits have never gone out of style. The first Fashions on the Field competition was in 1962 during the Spring Racing Carnival in Victoria, to find the ‘smartest dressed woman’. Hats, gloves and stockings were considered necessary, and the winner won a new Ford Falcon Future motorcar, and a Cyclax beauty case valued at fifty pounds.

The stakes have grown ever higher today, and Fashion at the Races is no different. Melding the old and new, the judging criteria respects the traditions of the past but still commends dressing to modern trends. For everyone around the state entering this year, this is what the judges will be looking for at each event, so make sure to take note.

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. There are 26 chances to qualify for the state final so check out our event calendar for all of the dates!


Image via Herald Sun

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