Race events offer a variety of FOTF categories, Classic and Contemporary Racewear being popular choices.

When deciding on which category to enter, how do you determine if what you are wearing is classic or contemporary? What are the judges looking for?

Image 1: Janelle Burnside classic winner left, contemporary winner right Taranki Cup Feb 2019, 2: Amelia Hardaker, classic winner left, contemporary winner right, 3: Nadia Schmidt contemporary winner left, classic winner right.

Until recently, I hadn’t put much thought into this, but it seems many are struggling with the differences between the two. After all, you don’t want to ruin your chance at a sash by entering yourself into the wrong category.

So, after some lengthy research and a few grey hairs, this is my take on Classic vs Contemporary racewear.

Keep in mind, always check with the race club hosting the event. They might have their own ‘rules’ on each category and you should dress according to these.

Classic (Traditional) Racewear

Here are some examples of how some race clubs have defined their Classic Category:

Classic can be defined as traditional race attire; or what racewear originated as. Think about what women wore to the races in the 1900s, when the dress codes, rules and regulations were strict and conservative.

Shoulders covered, no décolletage on show, appropriate lengths in skirts, a structured silhouette, and accessories like gloves, classic bag and shoe styles.

When thinking of classic racewear, full skirts or pencil skirts, a feminine, elegant and tailored look come to mind.