“Hi Milano, I attended a comp recently and I’m a little upset at the judge’s decision. I had lots of ladies saying to me they thought I should have won…”
Since starting this blog over 2 years ago, my reader base has grown steadily and I now receive upwards of 30 messages a week. And I love receiving them! They help me understand what women are struggling with, the thoughts and feelings of the racing fashion community.
Usually these messages are from women asking for outfit advice, or questions about the races, but every now and then I do receive the odd message from someone who was disappointed with a judge’s decision.
Sometimes I agree with them. Other times I think the judges got it right or that either outfit could have won. Most times I have to remind myself that the choice is subjective, based on personal opinion and taste.
In recent weeks, I’ve been getting a whole lot more of these types of messages from disappointed race goers, which makes me think there’s probably a lot of women out there who feel the same way.
So today, I want to openly talk about the topic in more detail, and of course, I’d love for you to share your opinions in the comments below.
Was Your Outfit Actually Better?
It is so disappointing to spend months on an outfit, only to be overlooked (especially if you don’t even make the heats). To make matters worse, you might see the sash awarded to someone who doesn’t even remotely resemble your idea of a winning look.
You feel robbed. Upset. ‘The injustice of it all‘, you think.
Friends and strangers at the track say they think you should have placed. You receive messages on Instagram from ladies saying they thought you looked the best.
You start to feel frustrated, and then sorry for yourself.
You start wondering whether the race club and judges have some kind of grudge against you. Why don’t they like me?
Ever felt this way? I know I certainly have… more times than I care to admit.
While it can be a little hard to accept, in times like this, it’s important to acknowledge a few things:
First, no matter how objective you think you are, of course you’re going to be a little bit biased. How can you not be? Only you know how much effort and attention to detail has gone into your outfit.
Second, your friends won’t always tell you their true feelings because the truth can hurt. Sometimes it’s easier to tell a little white lie, tell your friend they should have placed, make them feel better.
Quick side note: As a race friend I think it’s good to be aware that telling a white lie can often fuel the fire. If you think the judges made the right call you could say, ‘you did look amazing, but I also loved the way the winner was styled’ or ‘maybe so and so won because [this detail in their outfit or millinery tied in so well etc.]’.
And third, just because the winner’s outfit didn’t resemble your idea of a winning look, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have won. Everyone has different styles and tastes, and on this particular day, the winner’s style won over the judges.
Now, having said all this, I think there will be times when your disappointment will be fully justified. Times when the judges… got it wrong.
Can Judges make a Wrong Decision when Fashion is Inherently Subjective?
Fashions on the Field winners are based on what the judge sees and interprets as racing fashion and they are there to judge solely on their opinion.
Therefore, it’s hard to say the judge’s decision is wrong.
Let’s say I’m a judge and I love the brand Self Portrait because that brand suited my style. If an entrant is wearing a Self Portrait dress, I may be more inclined to choose them as the winner over another outfit. But that doesn’t mean they are the best dressed. I just liked their outfit. Just me.
This is why there needs to be a judging panel of 5 (or so), a variety of opinions and tastes.
You also need a judging panel that is open minded to fashion, that can appreciate everyone’s styling and outfit choices from a racing fashion perspective.
Spring Carnival was a perfect example. It was a widely shared opinion that many stunning outfits were definitely preliminary finals worthy, but they didn’t even make it past the heats. Other, more controversial pieces, were scoring places.
Here’s a few of my favourites that didn’t make it past the first heat…