The beauty of race day! A long standing tradition 52



View Profile
Margaret Wood, the first ever winner of Fashions on the Field in 1962
Men’s Fashion on the field winner awarded on Derby Day

Fashions on the field are fun to watch, but how many of us take them seriously?  The Flemington Myer, Fashions on the Field have been cranking up, with glamorous women stepping out on display everywhere.  Dressing up for the races has become an institution…   Derby Day was a beauty and today is set to be a stunner, followed by Oakes Day later this week the final.  The prize for the woman who wins is frankly, enormous… and there are plenty of incremental prizes given along the way.  I want to know if you have ever “spent up” or put this much time and effort on a race day outfit?  Some media is saying that women are spending up to $40,000 on outfits and styling to enter the competition.

Have you ever seriously “dressed up for the races”?… I don’t mean like I am today where I splurged on a new fascinator to accompany a pretty-but-old dress. I mean really dressed up… I remember it, many years ago my mum won the “best dressed” at a Melbourne Cup party at a glamorous Brisbane restaurant…  It wasn’t Flemington, but I remember it as very special to her and I the younger admiring daughter.

Fashions on the Field competitions were introduced back in 1962 to  ‘woo more women to the races’ during the Carnival. They captured everyone’s imagination and set up a trend that changed Australian racing forever.  Women dress spectacularly for Flemington, and many other race days around Australia, making this marketing initiative one of the best a tier one department store could dream of sponsoring.

Fashions on the field finalists, 1970

Myer Fashions on the Field is not just for the fashionable Women on the track but incorporates a number of competitions including:

And the prizes are nothing to shirk at!

Highlights From Victoria Derby Day
Derby Day finalists

Derby Day finalists 2014The National women’s winner gets:

  • Winner
  • Major Prize: A Lexus RX 270 for twelve months valued at $20,000
  • A trip for two to Hong Kong valued at $10,000
  • A meet and greet with Jennifer Hawkins
  • Myer Shopping Spree to the value of $6,000
  • A TCL TV package including 55” Smart 3D TV plus a 40” Full HD LED valued at $2,298
  • Longines Conquest Watch, valued at $3,175
  • Antler luggage to the value of $1,100
  • Hospitality for you and a guest in the Myer Fashions on the Field enclosure on AAMI Victoria Derby Day

And the men’s prize is not too bad either.

Judges are apparently tuned to the tiny flaws of badly pressed outfits or puckered seams.

Makes my pretty fascinator seem like a pretty poor effort…

Are you dressing up for the cup…?  Share your memories of Fashions on the field and how you participated over the years today.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. One should NEVER spend what one does NOT have on anything. Sadly we all do and will continue to do so.

  2. It’s up to the person themselves..if money’s not a problem go for it, if money’s tight be sensible, simple.

  3. Make more money out of it Dennis Hewitt. Shovle and bucket only way to make money from horses.

  4. What to wear to the cup has never been an issue for me because until recently I’ve always worked and, would you believe, my only connection to the Cup has been the occasional office sweep!

  5. I went to the Cup in 1966, only because it was a work function, still remember what I wore. Like Wendy I’ve worked most Cups, and just had the occasional ticket in sweeps at work.

  6. Who can forget Jean Shrimpton’s “outrageous” outfit she wore on Derby Day in 1965? No hat, no gloves, no stockings and no handbag, sleeveless and a hemline almost 4 inches (10cm) above the knee! She was then the world’s highest paid model and received 2,000 pounds from her sponsors to attend the Melbourne racing carnival – more than the then annual average male’s wages. Decent people everywhere were scandalised and it became a huge international story. Come Melbourne Cup day, she bowed to pressure and wore a conventional 3 piece grey suit with a traditional hemline, hat, gloves, stockings and handbag. I was 16 then and was really wowed by her and “that” outfit and I still recall the headline above the picture – “The legs that stopped a nation”. Now 72, she is running a pub in the UK she owns with her husband.

  7. I was usually at work so only ever went in a sweep or two. Now I’m retired and am babysitting. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *