Seasonal changes are fun for the racing fashion enthusiast as they provide us with the opportunity for experimentation and creativity. Unlike our northern hemisphere counterparts, racing fashion in Australia is divided into two seasons, Spring/Summer (S/S) and Autumn/Winter (A/W).

It is important to abide by the seasonal changes in fashion as judges of Fashions on the Field are often strict on these rules, in terms of fabrications of clothing, millinery and accessories.

When you’re just starting out, it can be tricky knowing what is and isn’t appropriate for the season. So, in this post I’ll shed some light on the key differences between the seasons.

Clothing Fabrications

Spring/Summer

In S/S, opt for lightweight fabrics, such as cotton blends, lace, sheer fabrics, silks, linen, chambray, seersucker, jacquard, chiffon, tulle or rayon. Almost any light-weight fabric will be fine. You can opt for a heavier fabric, as long as it doesn’t look too wintery, such as tweed or wool.

season appropriate fabrics

Fabrics above all available from www.tessuti-shop.com

Autumn/Winter

In A/W, a thicker fabric such as wool, velvet, heavier laces, tweed, flannel, faux fur, silk (silk is great for winter because it keeps you warm, but still breathes) corduroy, jacquard, leather, suede, cashmere etc. are the most popular choices.

fabrics for winter autumn

Fabrics above all available from www.tessuti-shop.com

Note here though, a fabric can be interchangeable between S/S and A/W by choosing the appropriate colour for the season.

For example, you may still wear a light-weight cotton in winter if it’s in a rich winter tone, like emerald green or burgundy. The same goes for the reverse, a winter fabrication such as leather, could be made suitable for S/S with the use of a lighter colour such as nude, cream or pink or a floral print.

In the following pic, Lindsay is wearing tulle, typically a S/S fabric. However, she has made it winter appropriate, by choosing a rich purple colour and pairing it with a thick over coat dress.

examples of tulle fabric in winter

Image credit: Lindsay Ridings

Outfit Silhouettes

Spring/Summer

In S/S you have a bit more lenience in what styles to wear. You can wear off shoulder, a variety of sleeves; such as no sleeve, short sleeve, long sleeve (if you won’t be too hot) or one shoulder. The length of your dress can vary from a midi length to knee-length.

yellow red race dress

Image credit: @emscodellaro, @itsannabeldavy

warm weather styles

Image credit: @stace_reynolds03, @gracyn_marsterson23, @airs.and.graces

Autumn/Winter

For A/W it is best to have a sleeve; long sleeve is favourable in the cooler states. Personally, I love being able to play around with different styles of sleeves; your sleeve can be the stand out feature in your outfit.

You can wear off shoulder if you can style it appropriately, but it has to be made winter appropriate, like Lindsay has done below. Or you could wear a fur stole over the shoulders. If you’re just starting out though, may be best to try a covered shoulder just to be safe.

lindsay ridings

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @lindsay.j.ridings

The dress silhouettes are much the same as in S/S, but I would keep the length a little longer than knee length, to combat cold weather.

Winter dressing styles

Image credit: @monika_neuhauser_millinery, @bicyclebob45 photo of @amandamacor and @shannleigh__

past knee length fashions on the field

Image credit: @katiemcnamara85, @elizabeth_winlo, @alicebright__

Pantsuits are a super fun option for the races and can be worn in both S/S and A/W. You can style a pant suit to look summery or warm.

pantsuits for races

Image credit: @allportmillinery, @queenofhatsbrisbane photo of @style_by_annalucky, @kelli_louise

bright pants racewear

Image credit: @courtneythorpe_xx (left two), @_tess.alexander_ (right)

Accessories

Accessories are where you can really give your outfit the season appropriate feel. You can basically style a variety of dresses to look S/S or A/W appropriate with the right accessories. I’ve seen many ladies wear a dress for a S/S event and then style it up later in the year to be A/W appropriate.

Emma wore this stunning Alex Perry nude dress to Magic Millions in January, with sinamay twist millinery. Then accessorised it into a winter vibe for Toowoomba, by adding a burgundy leather cropped jacket, leather boater with flower details and gloves.

remodel outfit for different season

Image: Emma Clarke

Emma also shows us how to style a lace dress in lighter colours often worn in S/S to make it appropriate for the cooler months. A cropped jacket and leather accessories does the trick nicely.

white cropped jacket for cold

Image credit: @missemmac in @makermillinery

Spring/Summer

Your accessories for S/S can be made from a variety of fabrications. For gloves, if you choose to wear them, you have the choice of sheer fabrics, tulles, leather (trans-seasonal), lace and silk. Avoid wearing wool or velvet gloves as these are seen as winter fabrications and will not suit your look.

sheer gloves fabrics racewear

dressing for the season with gloves

Your shoes can be open toe, strappy or closed toe in leather, suede, silk or any fabrication really.

Bags and clutches are much the same, with leather being trans-seasonal, straw and silk or even hard cases like plastic or pvc are popular.

Autumn/Winter

It used to be a popular rule that you must wear pantyhose in A/W. These days, judges are less strict and, unless it is in the rules of criteria for the FOTF competition you are entering, you can ditch them.

If it’s a very cold day though, I suggest wearing them. It may suit the ‘appropriateness for the day’ criteria and, also, there is nothing worse than shivering your way up on stage, teeth chattering.

I should note here, your pantyhose don’t just have to help with the weather because, recently, they can be found in all sorts of funky prints and colours, adding a quirky touch to your look.

stylish winter pantyhose

Image credit: @wendellt image of @lisamarch1

Image credit: Ross Stevenson’s photo of Amanda Macor, @photochicsonia photo of @suzanne.suzette

And for those of you who like to try new trends, how about trying some sheer socks with your heels!

socks with high heels trend

Image credit: @viviana_croker

As for your shoes, always wear a closed toe heel. Open toe will lose you marks in Winter.

You can choose to wear a boot too. I have heard a few ladies ask whether a closed toe sling back shoe is appropriate… that would depend on the judges, but generally, I would leave that style for S/S.

Gloves can be a fantastic accessory to give you that added winter styling feel to your outfit. You don’t have to wear them if they don’t go with your outfit, but you could always consider holding them in your hand, or over your clutch. Fabrications for gloves in winter are wool, leather, felt, satin, silk, lace or velvet.