The only thing worse than rain on your wedding day is a downpour on cup day. As the clouds gather in anticipation of their eruption, the weather can all too quickly dampen the mood of even the most enthusiastic racegoer, quickly sending them into a film noir spiral where the only way to coax them to the track is in black-on-black.
While monochrome is always a good idea, it is highly likely winter racing carnivals will be awash with the same sentiment - and we all know FATR followers do not settle for being one of many. In the spirit of combatting colour-phobia in the cooler months, we spoke to serial racing fashion competitor Melanie Wade and Australian Fashion Labels Stylist Jazz Mignone to work some sizzle into your winter styling.
Victoria-based Melanie Wade is a frequent FATR and FOTF entrant, most recently taking home the title of Best Footwear at the Millicent Cup. “I was always a regular attender of my local country Cup in Horsham but got more interested in racing fashion from December 2017 onward,” Melanie said. “Since then, I have been attending competitions regularly.”
Melanie’s favourite racing ensemble to date was a look from spring 2018, in which she won Lady of the Day at Warrnambool Oaks Day and Most Fabulous Millinery at the Ballarat Cup. “This racewear look included a Thurley midi carnival dress, a statement millinery creation by Simply by Lou Lou, rose gold earrings from Abode Living in Horsham, a rose gold metallic Portmans belt, a rose gold sphere ball clutch filled with hand-painted flowers and Ivanka Trump leather coral stilettos.”
Aside from Thurley, Melanie’s most beloved racewear labels include Nicola Finetti, Keepsake the Label, C/Meo Collective and Ted Baker. With winter approaching, Melanie will be investing in earthy tones for her racewear wardrobe, with texture and dimension added by wool, metallics and touches of felt.
“Because of the need to layer to keep warm, I try to add colour in autumn/winter through ankle boots or stilettos, accessories, clutches, bags and of course, millinery,” Melanie said. “For autumn/winter 2019, I am currently loving red and am also incorporating bold prints, including hounds-tooth and leopard print,” she said. “Other colours that I have embraced for autumn/winter racewear include mustard, aubergine, burnt orange and burgundy.”
Australian Fashion Labels Stylist Jazz Mignone says the colours we need in our wardrobe this winter are mint green, tan and brown tones. “In terms of prints, leopard and reptile animal prints are coming through strong for the winter months,” Jazz said.
Jazz recommends focusing on outerwear when introducing new colours to your outfit. “A bold coloured coat or knit is always a great statement to compliment a simple outfit, such as the upcoming C/Meo Collective ‘Obsess Knit Jumper’, in forest green, from our April collection,” Jazz said. “Additionally, coloured bags, such as the Lilac Jaggar The Label Belt Bag, are a fun accessory to add some playful colour whilst practicality too, into your winter ensemble.”
As we delve into the winter months, Jazz believes suiting is the perfect go-to for an effortlessly sleek ensemble. “If you are looking to make a fashion forward statement, stockings are back in,” Jazz said. “Continue to rock your racewear dress, while pairing it back with tights and boots for a weather-appropriate look.”
BNKR’s new collections will make you want to leave the house to flaunt your latest looks at the track. “Winter collections feature luxe leather pieces with a utility twist, bold coloured faux furs and 90s inspired crop jackets and skirt sets,” Jazz said. “Think ‘Clueless’!”
While it is easy to get carried away in the excitement of adding items to your cart, building an impactful racing look is about process. Before Melanie makes any purchases, she scours the web for inspiration and collates images of pieces for an overall look.
“I also often seek advice and support from my Mum, good friend Brooke and milliner Louise Laity (Simply by Lou Lou),” Melanie said. “Once I have my outfit organised, I then source custom-made millinery,” she said. “To individualise my look, I try to add a pop of colour and be creative with distinctive accessories and millinery.”
To put together your racewear look, Jazz recommends beginning with European bloggers, magazines and stylists. “They are just coming out of the winter season, therefore they have experienced the new trends first, before they come here to Australia,” Jazz said. “Look to their Instagram feeds for those winter trends and adapt them to a racewear-appropriate look.”
For racing inspiration, Melanie keeps her eyes on hashtags like #itsallaboutthesash on socials, as well as racing fashion bloggers on Instagram to pick up the latest colour trends. She believes the best part of racing fashion competitions is getting out of your comfort zone and experimenting with new trends and styles.
“For those who are colour-phobic and drawn to black wardrobe selections, it might be worth trying some alternate neutral options like grey, tan, navy or cream,” Melanie said. “Another ‘safe’ option may be to incorporate splashes of colour through millinery, accessories and shoes.”
Though Jazz’s stylist work sees her come in contact with some of the world’s most glamorous women, she names Alyssa Coscarelli (@alyssainthecity) as her top fashion muse. If Jazz ever did get the chance to dress her for a day at the races, she has a striking look in mind.
“I would do a ‘white winter’ look,” Jazz said. “Beige patterned tights, a vintage Chanel-inspired tweed mini dress with pearlescent detailing as seen in our winter Keepsake the Label collections, layered with a high-neck white statement lightweight knit, as seen in the upcoming Finders Keepers and The Fifth Label winter collections.”
“Fashion and styling should be fun!” Jazz said. “Part of the excitement of a race day is putting together your outfit,” she said. “Build individuality, confidence and stand out with colour!”
Following the flurry of autumn activity in FATR’s calendar, our winter qualifying events will be held at the Port Augusta Cup on July 7, the Roxby Downs Cup on August 3 and the Quorn Cup on August 24. With just three chances to win your title this winter, creating your stand-out look has never been more crucial. Start planning your sash-worthy statement now.