What does it take to win Fashions on the Field? This judge tells all …

FASHION FORWARD: Brisbane 2018 Winter Racing Carnival fashions on the field judge Millicent van der Velde: “Female power suits are really in fashion at the moment.” Photo: Peter Wallis, at Eagle Farm Racecourse, Ascot.

Turning out in a fabulous frock and donning a stunning hat are safe bets when competing in the 2018 Winter Racing Carnival’s Fashions on the Field. But the secret to winning is all about how you wear it, judge Millicent van der Velde reveals.

“Racing fashion should be about showcasing your own personal style, not inhibiting it,” she says.

“I love that it allows you to be adventurous and wear things you can’t normally. It’s a chance to flaunt gorgeous millinery, an elegant dress or a bold look without compromise.”

Millicent competes in race day fashion competitions across Australia, this year scoring first place at the Gold Coast’s Magic Millions and a runner’s-up berth at The Championships Day 2 Fashions on the Field in Sydney.


She’s back for a second stint on Brisbane Racing Club’s Fashion Committee, which oversees the carnival’s off-track action at Doomben Racecourse. Each race day has its own fashion theme and as a judge for UBET Stradbroke Day, Millicent will be on the lookout for outfits inspired by current trends.

“The theme is ‘black and white with a touch of red’ and though I recommend sticking to the theme, I’d love to see some bold looks from our entrants,” she says. “Maybe some high-waisted culottes or a jumpsuit. It’d be great to see women pushing the boundaries, rather than sticking to ensembles that are safe and conservative.

“Female power suits are really in fashion at the moment. Yeah, something like that would be an absolute showstopper.”

FOR THE PLACE … Finalists of the Womens Harrolds Fashion Chute contest Elisa Chian, Tanya Lazarou and Millicent van der Velde at The Championships Day 2 — Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

She says there are alternatives for those who don’t like hats. “Millinery isn’t for everyone. Either a long, patterned silk scarf wrapped around the base of your ponytail or a wide headband are both on-trend options if you’re not the millinery type.”

And it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, Millicent says.

“Don’t wear a straw hat in winter — stick to felt or leather instead. Also midriffs and thin-strapped dresses are not suitable and I highly recommend wearing closed-in shoes. It’s far more elegant.”


1. Gloves are optional. “They’re not necessary, but can make a great addition to your look.”


2. Don’t wear a summer dress in winter. “Choose something that’s typically longer in length, with a sleeve of some kind.”


3. Stick to winter-friendly fabrics such as velvet, leather and lace. “No tulle!”


4. Wear shoes that are comfortable. “You don’t want to have sore feet at the end of the day, or worse yet, end up barefoot! Take a back-up pair, such as ballet flats, that you can leave in the lockers.”


5. Choose a long-lasting foundation. “Race days are long, so it’s a good idea to wear a foundation that will last, and bring a powder in your handbag for touch-ups to keep your makeup looking fresh.”


Hats/ headpieces: All available from the millinery pop-up shop, QueensPlaza.

Shoes: Millicent’s own.

Stylist: Millicent van der Velde.

Hair and makeup: Samara Nilsson

Photographer: Peter Wallis.

 STYLE GUIDE … Millicent van der Velde models her race day fashion style suggestions for the 2018 Winter Racing Carnival’s Kirin Doomben 10,000 Fashions on the Field competition. She wears an Atoir Impossibilities dress, $299.95, Martina McGrath Millinery velvet pearl chain headpiece, $340, Calvin Klein bangle, $209. Picture: Peter Wallis .
OPTION … A simple head adornment is right for those who prefer not to wear a hat to race days. Peter Wallis
UBET Stradbroke Day: Reiss Imie-Wrap jumpsuit, $595, Kate Spade Small Byrdie handbag, $349, Felicity Boevink Millinery hat, $420, Samantha Wills ring, $79.95 Photo: Peter Wallis
Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup Day: Veronika Maine Floral Medley top, $189, Veronika Maine Drapey Crepe culottes, $239, Felicity Boevink Millinery green felt bow headpiece, $280. Photo: Peter Wallis
BE BOLD … Pops of colour are on trend. Photo: Peter Wallis
Treasury Ladies Oaks Day: ( Main image) Ministry of Style Dusk to Dawn midi dress, $289, Meg Rafter Millinery burgundy felt headpiece, $480. Photo:
Peter Wallis