Do you love to drag your man (willingly or not) along to the races, but don’t know how to dress him up to look as suave as you do? Or are you a man looking to enter Fashions on the Field?

Well, I’d like to say you’ve come to the right person, but you haven’t. I’m more than happy to admit that when it comes to men’s racing fashion, I’m no expert. But luckily, I know someone who is.

With over 15 sashes under his belt (or more like over his stylish checkered jackets), Neil Carpenter is my go-to man for all things men’s race wear fashion.

Neil attends around ten races a year and if you’ve ever seen him you will agree he gets his outfits spot on every time. Neil is always up to date with current fashion trends and accessorises each outfit with the right amount of pizzazz and seamless style.

I’ve asked Neil to answer ten questions on how men should dress for the races and his top tips for entering Fashions on the Field…

What are the basic rules for men dressing for the races?

Whatever the setting (work, socializing, gym etc.), I always try to apply one basic principle in terms of how I dress myself – never exceed more than 3 colours (or tones) in an outfit.

As a ‘relatively newbie’ to fashions on the field (FOTF), my ‘three colour rule’ is a principle that I have taken trackside. I often find that sticking to three colours (both clothing as well as obligatory accessories) ties an outfit together succinctly.

I’m not sure whether it’s my English heritage but I personally do prefer full suits. I appreciate that it can be stifling hot, however in the context of entering a FOTF competition I am a firm believer in short term pain may precipitate long term gain, by virtue of some amazing prizes.

Again reverting back to my English heritage and having a predilection to “whinge”, if I can get through the basking heat in Dubai in a morning coattail and a top hat, I am pretty sure other gents can also do the same.

What are some style guidelines to abide by?

If I flick through some of my FOTF photos, I can guarantee the colour of my socks will pick up the same colour either in my tie or hat. I like to ‘book-end’ (head to toe) my attire with very similar colours in the hope that my look is compact.

Regardless of how conservative or creative, one is you can always be playful with the colour and pattern of socks. Personally, I swear by Happy Socks, they have an impressive ever growing range.

colourful socks

Whilst I would recommend ‘matchy- matchy’ to some degree, my personal preference is not to have the same print adorning both the tie and pocket-chief.

Image: @wendellt

Image: @wendellt

Now admittedly he does have a menswear accessories business but Brock Cross (@brockcross), another male FOTF competitor, does this very well by using complimentary colours and patterns in the tie and pocket-chief. His website brockalexander.com.au has a series of tie/pocketchief combinations that you wouldn’t necessarily think to put together but certainly work.

Image: @brockcross

Is a hat necessary?

In my opinion, yes it is necessary. Wearing a hat on a race day is an important tradition and is nowadays a unique occasion to do so. For me, it finishes off the suit and can really help bring an outfit together.