The last time I went to the races was more than 30 years ago, so race day fashions don't figure large in my life. But a brilliant idea offered by my clever housemate has set me on this new path. For the past few weeks I've been working on some new classes to run in 2018 at the Simply Stitches fabric store in Wagga Wagga. My house mate tells me the Wagga Gold Cup is a big deal in the area and maybe the fashion aspect of racing would be a good motivator for local sewing enthusiasts. And so was born the Wagga God Cup sewing and fitting classes for 2018. This local race day is scheduled in early May so I've planned a six session program over a three month period, February to April, to get some amazing outfits together with Wagga stitchers. The big challenge is to catch myself up on the current trends in race day fashions. This is what I've found so far by scanning the press images of the most recent spring racing carnivals.
Transparent and Perforated is an existing fashion trend that takes so well to the track. It's light and the play with semi-opacity using transparent layers is interesting without being too salacious (revealing). So all transparent and semi-transparent fabrics work well including lace, perforated cottons and decorated organza's and chiffon's. And you have the additional benefit of selecting an interesting lining to set your fabric off in the best possible way.
Hats will always be a key feature of race day fashions. So broad brimmed and decorated is the order of the day. If you're looking for something new for next years race day the Boater Hat has been turning up at every meeting in he Spring Carnival.
So finally I have to admit that I don't like fascinators, at all. This is hardly a good start to my return to race day fashions. I don't mind the slightly understand designs; it's the oversized pieces of art that I find most disturbing. Don't get me wrong I can see they are all beautiful creations and so well made for these big events. I just think they overwhelm the wearer. What's the point of wearing an accessory that is more important than you are? Fashion and adornment for me is about the celebration of the individual and their unique expression through clothing and accessories. Anything we wear should compliment and highlight the wearer but never dominate. So I was very happy to see that there was an option to the fascinator with the slightly understated headbands and crowns this year. But choose carefully and remember this is a day-time event and not red carpet or a wedding. There should be a clear distinction.
And finally my favourite, the Retro Trend. It's currently slipping into every layer of the fashion industry in one way or another. So no surprises to see it at the track. It's feminine, colourful, smart and modest. All desirable qualities of race day fashions. And wouldn't you die for that pattern matching in the far right garment!
All of the above images are from this years race carnival so consider that the colours we'll be wearing next year will be slightly different. Also consider if your favourite race day is in the Autumn or the Spring. This'll influence colour and fabric choices for your new creations. Some of my favourite sources for trend and colour forecast are WGSN and Pantone.
These are the colour trends for Spring 2018 that'll be useful when your buying fabric and planning for next years Spring Carnival.
Pantone Colours for Autumn 2017 will be indicative of fashion colours in the store. This is a great place to start if your favourite Race Day is in the Autumn. In my case the Wagga Gold Cup is run early May so autumn or transpersonal designs will be the most appropriate.
While conducting this trend research I've come across some interesting sites full of wonderful ideas about race day fashions. There are sartorial rules if you're attending the race track and in particular if you're entering the fashion competitions. And I like the clarity of Milano's blog post about entering fashion competitions on the big race days.
Do you have a favourite race day outfit? Let's all make trend boards that feature our greatest desires in race day fashion and work towards some fabulous new frocks for 2018. And have a look at my talk on A Makers Approach to Race Day Fashions. ;)