Fashions on the Field isn’t just about winning or getting a sash… but we don’t have to pretend we aren’t secretly hoping, somewhere in the backs of our minds, that it is us who will take it home, along with the novelty bottle of Champagne, a bouquet of flowers, a pamper voucher, some sparkly jewels, a few night’s hotel stay, a trip overseas or even a car!

champagne flowers prizes winners

Image credit: Left: Stacie Galeano. Right: @buorkeraceclub photo of Janette Booth, Jayme Francisco and Alex Murray.

So, how exactly do you win FOTF?

google search results

Looks like I wasn’t the only one asking this question.

I remember starting out (many moons ago) and googling this exact thing.

I figured I could just google ‘How to win Fashions on the Field’, like it was that simple. Someone could give me the top 5 things I needed to do… wear red, strut down the catwalk, wave your fan around on stage, wear a boater, wink at everyone… if only it was that simple. Well maybe not for me anyway. I can’t wink.

From a judge’s perspective though, I can give you the Top 10 things that I, and other judges I have worked with, look for when judging FOTF.

Keep in mind that this is just a bit of fun ladies, I know we don’t want to turn FOTF into a serious sport, but still…

Tip #1 – Be Strict about Dressing for the Season

When dressing for Autumn/Winter or Spring/Summer, there is always one main thing judges will look out for- and that is, wearing season-appropriate fabrics, millinery and accessories!

This is quite a strict rule and, therefore, judges don’t want to be burnt at the stake for selecting someone in a straw hat in Autumn when we know everyone is supposed to abide by this rule!

To be safe, stick to leather, wool, metal, lace and felts for Autumn/Winter, alongside closed toe heels. For Spring/Summer wear straw, silk, sinamay and any trans-seasonal fabrics.

dressing for winter races

I never get tired of looking at this outfit. It is perrrrfection! Photo credit: Ross Stevenson of Demi Monde.

As for your clothing options, keep in mind winter colours and fabrications. If it is still quite warm where you live, judges can be lenient and allow more summer style silhouettes.

Always check with a race club if you are unsure. Some clubs in warmer climates will specify that entrants won’t be penalised for dressing in Spring/Summer attire.

Tip #2 – Majority Rules

When entering a FOTF competition there is often anywhere from 3 to 5+ judges.

The judges have to make a unanimous decision on who will win, which means they must agree on just one person. This is tricky for entrants because you want to have your own signature personal style, but at the same time, if it’s a little ‘out there’, you may not please the majority of judges.

milano imai viva prix de fashion judges

If I like tacos but everyone else is more into pizza, then we are going to get pizza.

Something else to factor in is that some judges aren’t FOTF judges, so what they think is ‘fashionable’ and ‘trendy’ may not realistically be what racing enthusiasts would pick… which leads me to my next point…

Tip #3 – Research (Creep) the Judges

When I first read this years ago, I thought it was ridiculous. Research them in what way? And would that really help?

But if you think about it, if you find a race-enthusiast-turned-judge, you can often tell what their personal style is. Are they more classic, fashion forward or vintage?