Hints for the boys at Black Opal Stakes

Published on 09 March 2018 by Adam Moore

With autumn now well and truly upon us here in Canberra. That means one thing. The biggest racing day on the Canberra calendar is on this weekend. Whilst you may not be trying to woo your way into the birdcage at Flemington on Cup day, doing the little things right with your attire will set yourself apart from the field and ensure a great day for the Black Opal Stakes.

Here’s a few hints and tips that will have you looking your best trackside and turning all the fillies heads.

While traditionally racing fashion for men consisted of dark coloured three-piece suits and a suitably old-fashioned hat. The modern gentleman and their attire has taken over the fashion on the field in the last few years. With pastel colours, floral ties and no socks now being accepted and even encouraged by pundits and experts alike. The reality is that anything goes these days and there are no hard and fast rules about men’s fashion both on and off the track. With the recurring nature of style, what is out of fashion this year may be completely on trend next.

Even though it's technically autumn in Canberra its likely that temperatures on the track will hit over 30 degrees on Black Opal day. This can be a factor when deciding what to don for the big day. With race day entertainment now extending long after the last horse past the post it can be a long day wearing something uncomfortable and unenjoyable. One of the great things about this is that no longer are suits made only for cooler weather, with huge advances in technical garments and the use of fabrics like merino wool, suits are now lighter and cooler than ever. Check the material your suit is made from and always opt for 100% wool, or for the more fashion forward, linen, for warmer days at the track.

What you wear on your feet is just as, if not more important for a long day. Although everyone loves to break out a new pair of kicks for the big day, this is almost always a disaster waiting to happen ending with sore feet and a significant hobble for the next few days. If you do plan on wearing a new pair of shoes, make sure you have worn them around the house a few times at least and don’t be afraid to pack a band-aid or two. Going with well looked after, and well broken in shoes will always win out over the newest pair that you can only wear for the shortest time.

Although I did say there are no hard and fast rules about men’s fashion there is also an almost unspoken rule. If you want to win fashions on the field or at least want to ensure you have a shot. You need to be wearing a hat. But like I mentioned before its no longer the old-fashioned hats that are ruling the roost, there’s a huge range of new stylish hats now to suit the modem man. I suggest looking at a fedora, trilby or panama hat to ensure you complete your ensemble. Check out the range from Paul Smith or Brixton available at David Jones, in the Canberra Centre.

One of the best things about dressing up for the races is the opportunity for someone to wear something a little different than their everyday attire. Even if you wear a suit daily this is your chance to add a touch of sartorial flair to what can be a bland look. One of my favourite ways to do this is with the use of paisleys and florals. Look for bright colours that stand out from your jacket to make sure they pop. A floral pocket square or tie can turn a boring look into one that catches the eye. But don’t feel the need to overdo it. One or two bright accessories can make an outfit but three or more will often be too much and you could start to look like someone in a hired novelty suit.

One of my personal favourite looks for the races is the use of separates. Combining a chino or suit pant in a lighter colour and a darker jacket or blazer is a smart and practical way to set your self apart. For the more conservative gentleman go with a tan chino and a navy blazer for a simple but effective combination. For the more fashion forward, colours such a rust, forest green and purples are set to be more common this year. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you like and what doesn’t suit you. To keep things simple, I would pair this look with a simple white button-down shirt. This makes the look super versatile both on the day and when its individual pieces are sitting in your wardrobe in the future.

Here i've picked a few items, all available at the Canberra Centre to give you an idea of a simple but classy look for race day.

Starting from the bottom I’m picking my all-time favourite shoe style the ‘double monk’ This style is a perennial style winner and with no laces means it perfect to get on with your day and forget about them. This is the Hocking Double Monk available from Aquila. This is a true brown colour and would pair fantastically with a lighter coloured chino.

Double Monk in Hocking Brown from Aquila

For the pants, like I alluded a tan chino is perfect for race day and extremely versatile as well. MJ Bale’s range of pants and chinos are perfect for this occasion and their McQueen Chino in classic tan is perfect. For someone looking to go that step further, the feather colour which is a shade lighter as well as the Mcqueen chino in White would also be a great option.

The McQueen Chino from M.J.Bale

A classic white shirt is always a staple in any mans wardrobe and the one that has given me the most wear in the last two years is the one I am recommending here. It’s the Peter Jackson ‘White Twill Dress Shirt’. With its spread collar and its tightly woven strands of Egyptian cotton, offering a richer, deeper texture. This shirt is simple but shows the man wearing it, knows what he likes.

For a jacket, I have picked another piece from Peter Jackson’s that is an absolute favourite the Navy Morgan Indigo Check Blazer with its textured Sharkskin weave, it again adds a level of texture and depth to your outfit that you don’t get with a standard jacket. This jacket is perfect with a look like this with a tie, but equally casual enough to go sans tie for an after-work dinner or drinks.

Get the look from Peter Jackson
Hopefully this little guide gives you inspiration to crack the whip on your fashion agenda for this weekends Black Opal Stakes at Thoroughbred Park and I look forward to seeing you there.

Follow Adam Moore - @a.d.a.m_moore