The 101 on what to wear so you're 'ready to raceday' this winter

12 Jun 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

The always-popular Ladies’ Day at Pukekohe Park is fast approaching and as ATR’s only winter raceday it may have you thinking…what do I wear?

Fear not, we are here to break down the do’s and don’ts of winter racing fashion, keep reading for more.

A winterwear showcase from Ladies’ Day at Pukekohe Park in 2022.

First things first. Lets get that outfit sorted

Anna Campbell ticking all the winter racewear boxes in this stunning silhouette

Some may not be aware, but there are many rules surrounding both summer and winter racing fashion and it’s important to keep these in mind when planning your outfit.

Typically in winter we see dresses worn in a more neutral and jewel toned colour palette. You’ll see these in smaller prints and in heavier fabrics. Some of the fabrics you might find on track include; wool, velvet, heavier laces, cashmere, suede, tweed, jacquard and silk.

Similar to summer racing, you can opt for a short or longer hem in winter too. If you like the thought of the shorter hemline but not the chill factor, why not team this up with a pair of stockings, a season staple. And while sleeves are the norm in winter and have a lot of different styles to choose from, you can wear a shorter option if styled appropriately.

Pretty in Pink. Collette Gordon stands out in this bright winter number

We love the versatility winter brings, so if dresses really aren’t your thing, a very popular option is a well tailored pantsuit or skirt-suit which will almost certainly have you looking impeccably put together, especially when teamed with a tweed fabric (I mean there’s a reason this is such an iconic look for Chanel right?)

But wait, hold the phone. Just because something’s a rule doesn’t mean that it can’t be broken right? So, in saying all of the above, summer dresses can almost certainly be transformed into a trans-seasonal look with the right accessorizing (keep reading to learn the tricks of the trade). As well as this, wearing a winter outfit in a bright colour or unexpectedly ‘loud’ pattern is definitely a way to add some ‘wow’ factor to a winter raceday look and help you stand out from the crowd and the competition.

Next. Heads up ladies

Put the sinemay away, put the straw down…. this season is all about felt, velvet, leather, metal, and heavier fabric covered headwear. While some materials can be mixed and matched for the seasons, generally speaking you should shy away from straw, raffia and sinemay pieces. Although, trans-seasonal, in winter embellishing millinery with feathers or veiling is another way to add dimension, texture and give an outfit that broody, romantic winter feel you’re after.

So now you know what fabric to wear, are there any shapes of hat that are typically autumn/winter? The answer is no, however it is more common to see berets, fedoras, boaters and pillbox styles grace the grandstands in the winter months.

Wait. How do I accessorise?

When it comes to accessorising for a winter raceday, there are options aplenty. They can be used to a huge advantage to add interest and texture and take your outfit to the next level, something at times summer racewear leaves us wanting. So lean into gloves, stockings, neck scarves, shawls, coats, blazers, capes and stoles which are all great winter appropriate options that will not only keep you feeling toasty but are items you can have a bit of fun with too.

Funky patterned fishnet stockings (or sheer socks), elbow length gloves, floor length faux fur coats are all examples of how winter accessories don’t have to be a total snore-fest and can definitely still be a vibe.

And remember, in the winter months, closed toe shoes only are a must! There is nothing worse that frosty feet (or stockings peeking out of open toe shoes) am I right ladies?

And finally, lets pull it all together.

A sleek, pulled back hairstyle can work with a number of headwear styles, but soft and flowing locks are probably better suited to a more low-key headpiece or brim.

Elizabeth Charleston’s high pony is on point
We’re also seeing ladies mix it up with ponytails and long plaits, which when done well can be a nice point of difference to the classic polished up-do. Whatever you’re doing with it, remember that headpieces and waves stay in better with ‘slightly dirty’ hair, so plan to wash your mane at least a day out from showtime or get that dry shampoo at the ready.

We LOVE makeup to compliment racewear and pull the whole look together. In winter, ladies will often opt for richer tones of red for the lip and a soft smokey eye in natural and soft metallic tones. The key thing to remember is that it’s called raceDAY for a reason, you catch our drift?

And voila! Now you’re ready to enjoy a winter raceday at Pukekohe Park. See you trackside!

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