With Spring Carnival coming up next month in Australia, outfit planning is well underway for many racegoers- myself included.

I endeavor to attend a good number of racedays over the season which requires many outfits. Something I often get asked is how many outfits I’ll prepare and wear over the carnival. The answer is… way too many! The next question is ‘will I re-wear my outfits?’

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L-R Caulfield Guineas (I didn’t make it past the heats in FOTF) Geelong St Patricks Day Races (I won FOTF) and at the Prix De Diane Chantilly, France. This is one of my all time favourite outfits and it makes me happy to wear it. I have also worn the hat previously with a totally different outfit.

For me part of the fun of going to the races is coming up with a new ideas and challenging myself creatively to come up with new concepts and make new clothes and hats. I don’t see winning in ‘Fashions on the Field’ as the be all and end all for a great day at the races. When I am creating my looks I generally wear whatever I am in the mood to wear and when entering competitions I pay no attention to what I think a particular judge will vote for. Instead I focus my energy on looking appropriate for a particular raceday or racetrack. If I am lucky enough to have a major win in FOTF then I’ll retire the outfit from competition. If an outfit was unsuccessful in FOTF but I loved it, I do occasionally wear my outfits again or try to work out a way to re-style it a bit. I think that is the attitude of almost all female competitors in FOTF.

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My winning outfit from Flemington National final in 2011. I felt I could never wear this outfit again (and I had to wear it so many times during Melbourne Cup week that I never wanted to) so I donated it to the Racing Museum.

Rosehill Golden Slipper 2006

I was lucky enough to win FOTF at the Golden Slipper in 2006 at the Sydney Turf Club (now the Australian Turf Club) and took home some incredible prizes. I have never worn this outfit again, although I still own it and it does still fit.

There are clearly a lot of women like myself that enjoy the art of putting together a new look and spend considerable time, money and effort in creating their racing looks. However, I’m not sure that this is the case when it comes to the Men’s competitions in Fashions on the Field. There seems to be more of an attitude of win at all costs. If you looked over the winners from the men’s FOTF events over Australia in large and small competitions many of the same faces in the same outfits regularly show up to try and sweep up all the prizes. Do you choose to wear whatever it is that you consider to be your best outfit- even if you have worn it many times before and won significant prizes in it? To me I feel it’s against the spirit of the competition, and to repeat a very successful outfit is in poor taste. This seems to be the unwritten rule of the women’s FOTF competitions, but not in the men’s FOTF competitons. What are your thoughts on this?

Another trend in the men’s competitions has been for designers or stylists to send in large groups of people dressed up in their looks to dominate and ultimately win the competitions, against the interests of individual competitors. It was especially noticeable at Caulfield and Flemington last year with very little effort to conceal the group and outfit repeat approach. Do you think this diminishes the competitions and the sponsors attitudes towards them? Would love to hear your thoughts!

By Angela Menz 

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In case you’re wondering the majority of my racewear ends up in my regular wardrobe rotation, or re-appears for other special occasions. L- Stakes day Flemington 2014. R- On holiday in June 2015.