Fashions on the Field

How to win Fashions on the Field? That is the million dollar question.

Is there a secret recipe to putting together a winning outfit? Does planning your outfit 6 months in advance bring you any closer to winning the sash than the last minute Larry ‘throw your outfit together the night beforer’?

We spoke to three winners of Fashions on the Field and asked them the hard hitting questions we are all dying to know. How did you win Fashions on the field?

So what is Fashions on the Field and why do people go crazy over it?

Let's rewind a few decades, right back to 1962 to be exact. To encourage more ladies to the track, Victoria Racing Club introduced a new competition, (tapping into our competitive nature of course) Fashions on the Field. They dangled a prize pool of 7000 pounds in their faces. Today, the structure remains the same, the prize pool however is different, ranging from a convertible Lexus to a voucher at a local boutique.

We spoke to three winners, Brodie Worral (winner of the 2014 Derby Day) , Erica Clarky (winner of the Women’s Classic Racewear section of the Launceston Cup in 2021) and Giian K (winner of the Fashion Forward category in the Brisbane Fashions on the Field in 2021) to find out what the winning formula actually is. Is it the headpiece? Is it the dress? Is it being organised? Or is it throwing your outfit in the air and letting it land on top of you Instagram Reel style? (if only it was that easy right).

Q- Where did you buy your dress?

Brodie – I had a stroke of luck with my Toni Maticevski dress. I thought it was sold out, but I stumbled across the final one by a lady returning it at the counter. Luckily, it fit perfectly, and I got my dream dress five days before Derby Day.

Erica - I decided to start with my dress when putting together my outfit. My dress was picked from the Heather McDowall website, and was the Dancing in Roses Dress by Only One Ashley. I absolutely loved the quality and tailoring. It fit like a glove and is very me! I hope to wear it again in the spring. I think this is my favourite label now.

Giaan – I picked an eye-catching striped dress, something I would not normally wear.


Q- Where did you buy your headpiece?

Brodie - I went down to Felicity Northeast Millinery and Felicity made me a metal veiling hat the day before Derby Day to match my dress.

Erica -  I picked my millinery to match my dress based on a vintage hat block previously used by a Paris milliner who made hats for Grace Kelly. I always love a good story behind outfits.

I played around with different millinery including a broad brim hat at one stage, however I decided it covered too much of my outfit and myself generally. (I’m fairly short so needed something that opened up the outfit better)

It wasn’t until my friend, Kathryn Lee Millinery, came to visit that I decided to go for more of a pillbox style in peach with pearls adorning the rear of the hat. The hat was a beautiful shell shape that was different to anything I have ever seen. The complete style looked quite 1960s royal in the end, a Princess Anne style.

Giaan - I purchased my Veil headpiece piece from Heather McDowall a few years ago. I loved how it bought a modern contemporary aspect to Fashions on the Field (which was the category I entered). I added my own touch with the Gold chains to match my earrings.

Q- What prize did you win in your category?

Brodie -  I received $15,000 in Myer vouchers, 2 TVs, a watch and the best of all… a convertible Lexus. Being 22 and still on my P plates, it was pretty epic to win this car.

Erica - I won a $1,000 travel voucher, $500 lingerie voucher and several vouchers from local clothing stores and a voucher and hamper from Laser Clinics Australia. This added to a total of $2,500 worth of prizes.

Giaan - I won a Bouquet of flowers from Bouquet Boutique, an Oscar Oscar Salon voucher, a magnum of Moet and Chandon, a $200 TAB voucher, a Studio Pilates Hamilton voucher and a gift pack from Nova.


Q- How did you put your outfit together? Did you know the category you were entering and plan around it?

Brodie – I’m pretty disorganised, so I didn’t actually plan my outfit very much. I didn’t think too much about what judges wanted, and just wore what I personally liked. I kept in mind that they were looking for current trends and appropriate racewear, however I knew the key was feeling good in what you’re wearing as that’s what shows the most.

Erica - It took me a few months to find the right pieces to put my outfit together. I always planned to enter this category and planned my look around it. I have entered this category three times and was the runner up in 2019. For this reason, I knew the judges at Launceston like a very classic, weather-appropriate and elegant look, but with a slight creative flair and therefore I aspired to create this look.

Giaan -  I knew the exact category I wanted to create my look for. I created my look myself, following the “chain trend” with my handbag having a heavy link chain handle and a smaller bag attached. I chose my headpiece before my dress because I loved it so much.


So there you have it guys, probably didn’t bring you any more clarity on how to Win Fashions on The Field, but hey, it answers the other question - Why do people go crazy over these comps?

The prizes are just too good!!! Hello convertible Lexus.

I have judged a few Fashions on the Field comps in my time, and the thing that stands out for me are outfits that are effortless. Styled to match the trend of the season.

Just because an outfit won 7 years ago, doesn’t mean the same outfit will win in 2021.

Staying on trend doesn’t mean you have to be over the top either, matching your toe nails to the back of your earrings, dress, shoes, lipstick, lining of your bag. An outfit that screams look at me, give me the Sash or I'll hunt you down.

Stick to your own personal style and let that shine through, not the 700 million trends you’re trying to incorporate into one look.

Mostly importantly, have fun. 


Good luck ladies,




Click here to watch my Fashions on the Field judging debut in Sydney
August 10, 2021 — Heather McDowall

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