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Glamourous, sustainable racewear fashion from some of Canberra’s best!

By Nina Gbor - 5 November 2017 3

Chris Rankin and Sally Martin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

Chris Rankin and Sally Martin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

Two of Canberra’s racecourse fashion experts show you how to find the best pieces and use what you already have to create your perfect racewear ensemble. Consider this your guide to more sustainable, more affordable, yet super fabulous racecourse styling using apparel from Canberra designers and stores.

With Spring Carnival race season now at hand and Melbourne Cup just around the corner, many of us have been aiming to get the racecourse glamour look. We might even get brand new outfits, only to leave them collecting dust in the back of the closet after the event.

Sally Martin believes you don’t always have to buy a completely new outfit to get that race day look. Winning several sashes in ‘Fashions on the Field’ events both locally and in country New South Wales over the last couple of years, Sally says you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to create racewear outfits from your wardrobe. Sally recommends you “play around with different pieces. Know your style, and what you’re comfortable wearing.  Take photos of your outfit as this helps to see the overall look”.

Sally Martin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

Sally Martin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

In an outfit sourced entirely from local op shops, Sally is wearing a pink, white, blue, and slightly silver colour palette. She wears a pink blouse with a 50’s inspired white skirt that she amended for the occasion. The look is finished off with a classic boater hat. Sally draws inspiration from Pinterest for colour palettes, styles and millinery. She goes for the classic look with a touch of her personal style.

Starting with knowledge of your body type, Sally suggests choosing what you’ll feel good wearing. “Don’t be afraid of mixing colours or prints or having a standout accessory or even go with a classic look with a modern twist. It’s fashion and it’s fun.”

Chris Rankin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

Chris Rankin. Photo: Lehan Photography.

“Ladies aren’t the only ones to have all the fun with fashion,” says Chris Rankin, founder of Christian James – Men’s Accessories of Distinction and winner of ‘Men’s Fashion on the Field’ at Thoroughbred Park 2015. Chris recommends men should also have fun with style and inject their personal flair into it. His style involves unique tie knots with complementing socks, paisleys, florals and bright colours.

In creating his debonair ensemble, Chris used mostly pieces from his wardrobe. As an admirer of classic styling, he went for the three-piece suit in blue with a white shirt as a base. From his own range of accessories, he selected pieces with the pop of complementing colours. He recommends keeping things simple.

Starting with a suit and a shirt, Chris says the key to race day is basically adding the accessories. Here are his steps for creating your own look:

  1. Start with a well-fitting suit (this rule must never be broken).
  2. Match your leathers  ­– brown shoes, brown belt and watch band.
  3. You can match the tie and hankie or if not ensure colours complement each other.
  4. Ensure colours or outfit is contrasting (you don’t want dark on dark or light on light. It will get washed out).
  5. Utilise your accessories. Tie, pocket hankie and lapel pins and flowers should be standard.
  6. Always wear a hat – make sure it suits your body and head size.

Chris will be available to help you get race-ready with a range of accessories this Sunday at Three Sixty Market.

Where to find Women’s Racewear:

Canberra-based labels Sovata and Dissonance have exquisite race garments and hats. Find them both at Trove Canberra, Canberra Fashion Market and Three Sixty Market this weekend and other times.

Sovata. Photo supplied.

Sovata. Photo supplied.

Dissonance. Photo supplied.

Dissonance. Photo supplied.

Where to find men’s racewear:  

Suits: Ministry Menswear has a great selection of suits and blazers. For adjustments on suits, contact Katherine Lemin in Warramanga.

Accessories: Christian James

Christian James – Men’s Accessories of Distinction. Photos supplied.

Christian James – Men’s Accessories of Distinction. Photos supplied.

How are you styling yourself for this season’s races? Tell us in the comments below.

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3 Responses to
Glamourous, sustainable racewear fashion from some of Canberra’s best!
Maya123 3:37 pm 06 Nov 17

That pink blouse doesn’t cut it for me for Melbourne Cup fashion. Too ‘ordinary’. A matter of taste though I guess.

Rachel Torrealba 12:52 pm 06 Nov 17

These tips are useful to use not just for the cup day but any of the numerous celebrations coming up. It makes us think outside of the standard purchases and allows us to get creative and personalise our style. Thanks for this valuable information Nina Gbor.

jkadosh 9:07 am 06 Nov 17

Thanks for this great article – insightful, interesting, and practical. It’s amazing that high-fashion looks like racewear can be achieved by hunting at these op shops! I particularly enjoyed the step-by-step for the gents’ guide and the prose: elegant but to the point. Looking forward to more such tips.

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