FASHION | Top tips from judge, Aleisha Mitchell

22 Feb 2024
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

With Trackside Derby Day a mere week away, we chatted to the ever-stylish Aleisha Mitchell to get some tips for a day spent trackside from someone who’s not only had a lot of experience, but absolutely nailed the brief, winning multiple competitions here at Ellerslie, including the coveted The Ned Prix de Fashion title.

Aleisha, in addition to joining our judging panel on the 2nd March, has also just launched her own styling business (My Stylist) and is giving one lucky ticket holder to Trackside Derby Day the chance to win a session with her to ensure your own look is of Group 1 standard.

The package (valued at $1820) includes:
– Initial style consultation
– Wardrobe edit
– One on one shopping excerise
– Outfit building
– Personalised wardrobe bible / lookbook

My Stylist offers services for all genders, body shapes and sizes. Styling packages follow our unique process ‘ The Mitchell Method’ and are adapted to focus on each clients individual requirements. Offering a seasonal refresher to a complete overhaul depending on your unique needs.

The Mitchell Method is THE UNDOING of limited behaviours and previous beliefs, THE DISCOVERY of your own unique style and THE GLOW of confidence found in your wardrobe.

Aleisha says…

It’s time to pull out the lippy, ladies, and pull up your socks, gents.  Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Week is here, and whether you’re a fashion devotee or someone who prefers comfort over couture, stepping out for a day at the races should be an exciting time to embrace your own personal style and be entertained by the fashion extravaganza that Trackside Derby Day delivers.

I fully understand that preparing your perfect outfit can be daunting, so I have some tips and insights to ensure your fashion decisions are practical, on point, and leave you feeling your absolute best for a day trackside.

The black and white theme of Derby Day can easily simplify the process. Embrace this classic colour palette—99% of us have some fabulous black pieces in our wardrobe, and white is also on point this summer. If you do decide to head to the shops, you’re sure to find some great fresh white style updates that could easily be integrated into your wardrobe for other events. A little black dress is always a chic option; just be sure it’s not too little—my rule of thumb is to ensure your fingertips at least graze the hemline with arms relaxed at your side.

To brighten your look, add some statement jewellery. Chunky metallics are on trend, and silver is having a huge moment this summer. Some metallic highlights in your outfit will reflect light and ensure you are truly shining on the day and well into the night.

Headwear is often categorised as a brim hat or fascinator, both of which are a great nod to tradition. Another option is to experiment and break the mould by embellishing above the shoulders with something unexpected. Play with a voluminous piece of fabric or a scarf, clip oversized jewellery clusters into a sleek ponytail, or incorporate strands of pearls into braids.

Now, onto the most crucial accessory for the day: sunscreen. This is non-negotiable, especially when you’ll be spending hours outdoors. If your bag has the space, take a small tube to reapply throughout the day.

When it comes to your essentials, a well-appointed bag is key. Make sure it’s spacious enough to hold your phone, lipstick, and sunscreen, with extra space for a race book and pen being a win! Ladies, relying on your other halves to carry your belongings in their pockets is not ideal, so choose a bag that allows you to keep your essentials close at hand.

Let’s talk footwear. Comfortable shoes are an absolute must-have for a day at the races. You’ll be walking around, standing, and possibly even dancing, so choose a pair that will see you through the day. Block heels are your friend and will help you tackle any terrain if you find yourself on a grassy slope at some stage.

For the gentlemen, a well-fitted pant and crisp shirt are essential. In the heat, opt for rolled sleeves and leave the tie at home for a more relaxed yet refined look. The big question…to sock or not to sock? If you can’t cope with the thought of flashing your ankles, selecting a fun colourful sock is an easy way to say ‘I’m not brave enough for no socks, but I’m brave enough to wear these!’ Leave your bulging wallets at home and opt for a sleek card holder instead. Overfilling your pockets instantly detracts from a polished look.

Now, here’s the best tip of all: you don’t need to go on a shopping spree to find the perfect outfit for the races. Instead, take a look in your own wardrobe and consider repurposing something you already own. Whether it’s a favourite dress, a tailored blazer, or a statement hat, wearing an outfit that you know you’ve felt great in previously is the key to confidence and comfort on the day.

See you all trackside!

Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Week kicks off with Trackside Derby Day on the 2nd of March, followed by Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day on the 9th of March.  Tickets are available now but selling fast.

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