Hot to trot

01:39, Jan 04 2013
Dress by Trelise Cooper.

Although no Melbourne Cup, Nelson's harness races should be a stage to showcase what Nelsonians have to offer the fashion world.

It is not often we have events for which we can dress up to the nines, so we should be taking full advantage to doll up and show off the summer glow on our legs.

Yes, I know it is a bit of an effort to get the heels out, put on a frock and get a do-dacky thingy for your hair but let's go all out for the Sunday Fashion in the Field event at the Richmond racecourse.

Dress by Trelise Cooper.

First thing to keep in mind: The races are all about class darling; any unruly town dress should be left at home. No excuses.

There are a few conditions one must be aware of at the racecourse:

1. The wind


You must be at the ready at all times for unpredictable gusts. This can be unsightly at the best of times and, like a good girl guide, one must wear tidy, unrevealing undergarments, especially if you choose a floaty full skirt.

2. Sinkage Heels

Digging into the dirt is a real hindrance and can look incredibly inelegant, like one has being riding horses all one's life, so opt for a thicker heel or wedge or (although I don't like the look of them) plastic heel protectors for stilettos.

3. Champagne

A lady must keep her wits about her at all times. If one soils one's dress with wine it should be dabbed with soda water at once and dried under the hand dryer in the powder room. Stay away from silk if you wish to keep staining to a minimum.

With such hazards out of the way, it all starts with the dress.

This year it is all about vintage inspired pieces - think Hollywood camera footage of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

The races are about extreme glamour.

Keeping in mind class, sophistication and femininity, I would always opt for a modest neckline and hemline at the races. Keep it all about the silhouette of the female body and the elegance of the headpiece, hair, makeup and accessories.

For the shape choose a 1950s dress that nips in at the waistline and has a fuller gathered or pencil skirt with a boat or scoop neckline. This is extremely feminine and cute.

Another option could be a smock dress with a sleeve that ends at the bicep. This can be worn a little shorter at the hem.

For warmth opt for a delicate blazer in a matching colour or printed if the dress is plain.

Colour is what summer is all about and there is a lot about in the shops (and lots on sale, too, I might add). Pastel green, blue, yellow or lavender are perfect for the summer races, or, at the other end of the spectrum, bold coral, orange, green, blue, pink - the list goes on.

When wearing a solid colour, try to add another bold colour with a handbag or heel. Be sure to add in a tone somewhere as you don't want to look like a printer cartridge or popsicle with three bold colours.

Classic black and white always looks really classy at the races and never seems to date.

This year try a stripe. Ladies please don't wear all black to the races - it is a fashion crime.

Lace and mesh is a real cup day delicacy and looks so beautiful in icecream hues or cream or white. Broderie Anglaise could also be worn at a more casual Nelson race meet.

Alternatively bold prints are on trend, lots in floral or geometric designs, so go bold but be sure not to accessorise with too much colour.

Now for the fun bit: The headpieces and hats.

It's pretty much anything goes at the moment although we seem to have a huge selection of fascinators in Nelson rather than hats.

Large fascinators are on trend, and there are lots in floral shapes, while others are bejewelled.

The best selection I have seen are in Dames and Profile.

Clutches or little tiny bags with a long chain strap should be worn where there is just enough room for the lippy and cashflow card.

There are some lovely elaborate clutches at Shine, Dames and Profile.

Now, perhaps I should add: Don't take off your shoes on the grass, don't have too many bubbles and don't blow all your money on the first race.

The most important rule is, have fun.