What to wear to the Boxing Day Races at Pukekohe Park

20 Dec 2022
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Of all Auckland Thoroughbred Racing’s mainstay racedays, there are few more revered than the highly-anticipated Boxing Day Races.

Year after year the mac-daddy of the racing calendar showcases the very best thoroughbred racing action, alongside the most enviable trackside fashion ensembles.

The iconic Boxing Day races are not to be missed


This year, the Boxing Day Races will look slightly different, being held at Pukekohe Park while the track at Ellerslie undergoes a facelift. But never fear, all the elements you know and love from our favourite race day remain. World-class horses will still be running for valuable purses, an array of fine food and crisp champagne will still be served, and you’ll still be able to mix and mingle with industry buffs and keen racegoers in a variety of hospitality options.

But, for some the main draw of the day is fashion. And if you haven’t managed to put your best hoof forward yet, The SkyCity Auckland Style Stakes might be your chance to do exactly that. The atmosphere at Pukekohe Park may be more relaxed than our inner-city sibling, however, the competition in fashion is still as fierce as ever.

This competition also boasts not one, but TWO chances to qualify for the The Ned Prix de Fashion 2023. Our roaming fashion judges will be keeping a keen eye out during the day, spotting our best-dressed ladies on course, or you can self enter by filling out the entry form to guarantee the judges get to see your outfit!

We can still expect to see some of the finest frocks mingling trackside, so if you’re thinking of entering, keep reading for a few of our hot tips for impressing the judges!



Choose your dress

Obviously, the first step to nailing any race-day look is choosing your dress first, this way you’ll know which colour scheme you’re going for and be able to accessorise accordingly. And it doesn’t have to be a dress, you can distinguish your look by opting for a two-piece, suit, or whatever you feel comfortable in! But hot tip (literally) choose something weather appropriate, you don’t want to be boiling on the day, and the judges will take note if you’re not weather-appropriate.

Try opting for something that has an interesting design element, whether it’s a pattern, structure, or a big bow out the back (shoutout to our Counties Cup day winner) – go for something that separates itself from other fashionistas to ensure you get noticed.

THE bow that lead Celeste Stark to become our Counties Cup Day fashion winner


Now it’s time for shoes!

Choosing your shoes wisely at the races is arguably the most important step to nailing any race-day look. Firstly, because they need to go with your outfit and impress the judges, but also because you’re going to walk around in those things all day. If you try to skimp on your shoes, you’ll regret it when the blisters start to join the party (trust us, we’ve all been there).

Chaos & Harmony has an elite range of footwear that won’t break the bank or your feet… Once you know the colour scheme of your outfit, choose a shoe that will complement it. Be careful to ensure that your colours don’t clash, if your dress has elements of bright white for example, don’t opt for an ivory accessory as it will look disjointed.

A great way to avoid this problem is by accessorising with a colour or texture that is more forgiving, such as silver and gold. These Chaos & Harmony Twilight Heels would be the perfect complement to any outfit and colour. They also have a nice sturdy heel so you won’t be pulling yourself out of the grass all day! The wrap-around ankle will also add a bit of flare to your outfit overall – check check check!

Don’t let accessories be an afterthought

Now that your frock and shoes are locked down, it’s time for accessories. While accessories may be an oversight for some, they are what separates a good race-day outfit from a great one.

So how does one choose the very best accessories? It’s a balancing act… While matching all your accessories and shoes may have been the approach in race-days past, if it’s too matchy-matchy it can make your outfit feel like it lacked thought and coordination. Handbags, jewellery, headpieces and belts can all contribute to your overall look!

Instead, try to incorporate colours and textures throughout your look, and wear accessories that will complement that. Try looking in the mirror to distinguish whether or not your accessories are dominating your outfit too much.

Headpiece, no headpiece?

“Always wear millinery” says one of our judges Carena West. Millinery doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and if you’re opting for a more low-key look at Pukekohe Park this year try opting for a headband instead. Pro tip – lighter fabrics such as straw and sinamay are a great option for summer racing looks, and will ensure your look has synergy. Luckily for us, New Zealand doesn’t lack in great millinery and there are many options available out there, including to hire.

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