How to prep for Black Opal Stakes Day

Published on 06 March 2018 by Jemma Mrdak

Just as you put your Spring Racing Carnival fascinators, dresses and heels away, here comes the Autumn Racing Carnival with the Canberra Black Opal Stakes Day; Canberra’s premier race day.

Taking place on Sunday 11 March, and in its 46th year, the Canberra Black Opal Stakes Day is one of the most important race days in the autumn racing calendar. It’s a chance for local and interstate fashionistas and racing fanatics to get their frocks or suit and tie out, and don their best autumn race day look.

The action will take place both on and off the track at Thoroughbred Park, and to prepare for the big day ahead we are showcasing to you how you can get all your race day essentials right here at the Canberra Centre.

Local blogger, stylist and Black Opal Stakes Fashions on the Field judge, Jemma Mrdak is here to show you just how easy it is to prepare for race day at the Canberra Centre, with tips on where to source everything that you need from dresses, fascinators, makeup and accessories.

Lets take a look shall we?


The most important element for a day at the races would be a glamorous outfit, would it not?

Canberra Centre has a large variety of top end retailers that stock some fantastic garments that are suitable for Autumn race wear.

If you’re looking for a designer outfit then look no further than David Jones.

David Jones has an incredible range of designer looks that are both glamorous, and well suited for a day at the race track. From Zimmerman, to Thurley, Camilla and Marc and Lover - their range is exquisite and we guarantee you’ll have some tough decisions to make on what to wear!

You’ll find a great range of styles from florals, to lace and LOT’s of detailing, as well as some super sleek styles that you can wear over and over.

When it comes to fascinators and accessories, David Jones has a good variety, ranging from felt hats (which are definitely on trend), as well as headbands, crowns and the more traditional styles as well. We recommend trying these on with your selected outfit too, just to make sure you look is well put together.

Jemma at David Jones

From designer styles to exotic and eclectic fashion, Husk is a new retailer that has a strong reflection on spirit and identity through their exotic, eclectic and artisanal treasures and clothing range. Their coveted fashion and accessory collections are sourced from international and local designers and co-exist with their range of skin care products and hand crafted accessories.

Jemma at Husk

Home to some of the most desirable and coveted brands including Vanessa Bruni, Athé, Elizabeth and James and Tibi, the Husk apparel collection is versatile, stylish and very on trend!

It is here where you fill find some great, eclectic race day pieces as well as a treasure trove of hats, jewels and accessories that are all great options for your race day outfit.

Their skincare range is also great for your skincare prep in the lead up to race day too!

Jemma at Husk

From a bohemian, eclectic look to a store that is a one stop shop for all things race wear, Review is a destination for woman wanting fun and feminine fashion.

They produce well-cut basics, suiting with a twist, as well as dressed up race wear that has a romantic, feminine and eclectic touch.

Their dresses and suit styles are very suitable for autumn race wear - and their range of accessories can ensure that your entire outfit matches perfectly together!

Jemma at Review

The opening of Billini in the Canberra Centre now means that there is another fantastic option for shoes, especially for raceday wear.

For a woman who is confident and likes to experiment with new trends and styles, Billini is the one stop shop for your race wear shoes. Their affordable footwear, and range of styles and looks means that you’ll have so many options to pair your look with.

Remember, your shoes need to either be a statement for your look, or need to match perfectly with your outfit, so we suggest bringing your dress in store to make sure it all goes together perfectly!

Jemma at Billini


With the outfits and accessories selected, it’s time to look towards your beauty prep for the big day.

The Canberra Centre’s Beauty Precinct in Monaro Mall is your one stop location to get you beautified and ready for the Black Opal Stakes.

Jemma in Monaro Mall and the Beauty Bar featured on Saturdays

The development of this beauty precinct means there is a variety of brands and experiences that are available to you, all in one spot! From Endota Spa, to Lavender Nails, T Brows, Mecca Maxima3INA, Jurlique and more, you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to get all your pampering products.

If you’re looking to get your makeup professionally done for the day, 3INA is one of the many stores in which you can play and experiment with textures and tools to achieve the right makeup look for the Black Opal Stakes

Jemma at 3INA

So, there you have it, a range of Canberra Centre retailers and stores where you can get your outfits and beauty prep before the Black Opal Stakes!

Also, here are a few tips on what the judges will be looking for in Fashions on the Field too:

– Entrants who are not afraid to wear something unique and a little different.
– Entrants that go outside of their comfort zone with their outfit. Tip: Try and experiment with a new colour that you wouldn’t normally wear.
– Entrants who’s outfit is appropriate for the climate – with Autumn race wear outfit’s with sleeves are preferred.
– Attention to detail on accessories and the headwear. Tip: Think about every aspect of your outfit from top to bottom.
– Millinery, shoes, and clutch that is matched back to the dress or suit, as this is the focal point of your outfit.

The 46th Black Opal Stakes, Sunday March 11, Thoroughbred Park, Canberra. Gates open at 11.30am. Fashions on the Field categories include Classic Ladies Racewear, Classic Mens Racewear, the Millinery Award and Outfit of the Day (over 40's). More information and tickets from