Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I Wore...Hobart Cup Fashions on the Field

When I came back I was determined to enter Fashions on the Field. If you aren't from Australia, this event is huge here. It is a competition held on race days and was originally started in 1957 to attract more women to the male dominated track races. The competition started to gain national and international attention in 1965 when the beautiful British model Jean Shrimpton attended the Melbourne Cup in a shift dress that finished several inches above the knee, hat and gloves shockingly absent.

I sought advice from several sources, including a former judge of Fashions on the Field, who attempted to enlighten me on the many rules of the competition.  Competitor's skirt/dress must be knee length (this I ignored...hey, I've got good legs), head wear is compulsory, clothing must be ladylike and appropriate for day, and evening and cocktail wear is not acceptable. The most important thing she said, was to remember that you are competing against professionals. Women who enter these competitions each year, meticulously planning for months, armed with money and designer clothing and accessories. Women not there for the fun of it, not with prizes like holidays, cars, vouchers and designer goods at stake. These impeccably dressed competitors are hungry to win and they fly from all over the country to do just that.

I put my outfit together in 3 days. I am nothing if not confident, perhaps overly so. I wanted to wear something that I liked, that expressed my sense of style and ultimately that I felt comfortable in. I also wanted it to be on trend, so I looked to Spring/Summer 13 and went for a 60s inspired look. However here in the southern hemisphere we are firmly in the midst of SS12. Which means there were a lot of peplums, mixed print and bright, bold colours. Judged by The Mercury Style Editor, former winners and Myer Ambassador Kris Smith, the winner was the delightful Alex Hecker (pictured beside me in the shot as we waited for our preliminary heat). Alex wore an Etro dress and Rebecca Share Milliner hat. We chatted away in line and she told me she has recently graduated from university and is looking to apply to do her masters in Anthropology. Beautiful and smart.

There is always controversy here over the competition. At least half of the Top 10 competitors had flown in from interstate to enter, and the winner will ultimately go on to be our State's representative. Should somebody from interstate be permitted to represent us in the national competition? In my opinion, no. That's not sour grapes either, I just feel that in a small place like this it is difficult to compete with entrants who have spent thousands of dollars on their outfits. Speaking as someone who also sourced everything I wore locally in support of our local economy, it would have been impossible for me to access high end designer clothing here.

All this aside, it is lovely to see a return to elegant dressing and a nice excuse to drink champagne and place a bet. You'll be pleased to know I had a win on the cup, thank you Hurdy Gurdy Man.

Dress- Cameo from Belle and Paige Boutique, Fascinator- The Stocking Shop, Bag- Olga Berg from Polly Shoes


  1. What a wonderful post. You looked great, I love the green (aqua and blue together. Xxxx

  2. Amazing! love this post, great hat!