10 pro tips for entering The Ned Prix de Fashion

17 Feb 2020
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Whether you’re hoping to take out the winner-takes-all grand prize & national title, or just wanting to have a little fashion fun, 2019’s winner of The Ned Prix de Fashion and a judge for 2020, Aleisha Mitchell, shares 10 fantastic pieces of advice for entering this year’s competition on 29 February.

Aleisha making her judging debut here at Ellerslie at the SkyCity Boxing Day Races 2019 with one of our ambassadors, Hannah Marinkovich, smiling alongside


“Perhaps you’re entering in an outfit you’ve painstakingly created from head-to-toe, or you’re simply entering to support a friend who’s managed to twist your arm, my advice is the same: go in with an open mind as to what the day will entail,” Aleisha suggests.

“One thing is for sure, you will meet a wonderful bunch of ladies that will all be just as nervous as you.

“So the main thing is to remember to smile and have fun,” she says.

Aleisha’s first three tips are for anyone entering…

1) Bring extra bobby pins as well as a needle and thread as wardrobe malfunctions are common and it pays to be prepared.

2) When it’s time to show off your look, don’t break into a light jog on the runway due to wanting the whole thing to be over before it’s even began! Take your time, stop & smile at the judges and let them see how wonderful you look. Enjoy the moment.

Aleisha taking to the runway in The Ned Prix de Fashion 2019 which she won


3) Please, please, please don’t forget to wear in those fabulous new shoes a couple of days beforehand.

And for those gunning for a sash on the day, she has some further advice on planning your look…

4) There is certain criteria that the judges are looking for – and this is noted well on Ellerslie’s website – so check it out beforehand to make sure that your outfit ticks the boxes.

5) Be mindful of current trends, but always ask yourself ‘is it raceday appropriate?’.

My The Ned Prix de Fashion 2019 winning outfit had a sheer back, which could be defined as too risqué, but the see-through back was balanced by the fact the shirt was long sleeve and buttoned high at the neck.

6) Push the boundaries a little; it will make you stand out on the day. My see-through backed shirt was a good example of that.

Aleisha alongside her fellow Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field judges at Ellerslie on Boxing Day 2019, plus the day’s top three womenswear entrants (centre)


7) A polished look is absolutely essential. Triple check that everything is perfect. That means no bra straps showing, hair kept in place and no scuff marks on your shoes.

8) Your accessories should complement your outfit, not dominate it. They can still look fabulous but they shouldn’t scream ‘look at me!’.

9) You don’t have to buy new headwear. In fact, you can find some wonderful pre-loved and well-priced racewear garments and headwear on the Facebook page ‘Millinery and Racewear for sale’.

10) Keep up with what others are wearing. I suggest you follow ‘It’s all about the sash’ on Instagram for all the updates on who wore what to which race meeting, along with the top finalists and winners at race meets throughout New Zealand and Australia.

And finally…

Aleisha’s last words of wisdom, are to not go in with expectations of coming out with a win.

Aleisha on the winners’ dais immediately after being announced the winner of The Ned Prix de Fashion 2019. Standing alongside are The Ned’s owners, Rosemary & Brent Marris (Marisco Vineyards)


“You never know what the judges are looking for and their opinions are subjective.

“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t place. You would have most likely learnt a lot on the day, so take those lessons and jump into your next raceday competition!

“In saying that, three of the top five Hawaiian Airlines Fashion Qualifiers on Vodafone Derby Day 2019 were first-timer entrants and they each walked away with 100,000 Hawaiian Airlines air miles, plus the Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field winners [male & female] on Boxing Day were also first-timers, so it just goes to show that you can pull it off on your first go.”

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