My trip to Goondiwindi: and simple racewear tips

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be a guest at the Goondiwindi Picnic Races. I was invited to attend as a judge for the Fashion on the Field event, along with the gorgeous  Cheveux Design and Espresso sisters, Carla and Nadine Thurgate.  I have to be honest I had no idea what to expect and I was somewhat dubious of my capacity to make a decent decision on anything race-related. But in the end it turned out pretty well. Luckily Carla and Nadine are seasoned racegoers and know their stuff when it comes to dressing for the ponies.

FROM LEFT: Carla Thurgate, Nadine Thurgate and I rocking it at the races.

I was decked out in an amazing Sacha Drake frock (she designs loads of beautiful racewear) and a stunning human-hair headpiece made by my friend Kelly Stoakes that was originally a catwalk hat worn in a Dogstar show and I had repurposed for the races. My jewellery was by the immensely talented Susan Driver – I wore the Salt Morning Swim Drop Earrings, Salt Reflections Bracelet and the Salt Reflections Ring.

Earrings and bracelet from the Salt Collection by the artisan jeweller Susan Driver.
Earrings and bracelet from the Salt Collection by the artisan jeweller Susan Driver.

If you are heading off for a bit of giddy-up this Autumn racing season, here’s a few simple racewear Do’s and Don’ts that I learnt from the experts:

  • Do choose colour – go with a citrusy or warm palette for Autumn
  • Do go for texture – if you’re thinking out of the box, why not wack an Autumn texture on your hat, e.g. leather or felt or a feathery thingo
  • Don’t wear sleevelesss – evidently in Autumn it’s more appropriate to wear a sleeve, although in the Gundy warmth a sleeveless dress is pretty ok I reckon
  • Don’t follow the trends – aim for elegance and sophistication, but if you do want to choose something ‘on-trend’ pencil skirts, grey, khaki, scuba fabric or fedoras are in right now. Myer has some good tips on Autumn Racewear Trends
  • Don’t hold back when it comes to headwear – I personally like headwear that is classic, but if you’re brave then go hard. Veils are awesome as long as they aren’t too widow/funeral chic.
  • Do make sure your headwear is comfortable – a hat that is slipping and sliding around could take out a man’s eye. A good plan is to have your hairdresser pin it on securely
  • Don’t wear stiletto’s – something with a more solid heel is better if you’re going to be stomping around on turf, wooden is great for Autumn
  • Do think about your jewellery – go for statement but make sure your earrings aren’t too much with your headwear
  • Don’t lug a large bag – remember you’re not carrying round a goon bladder, you only need a lipstick and some cash. A simple envelope clutch is a good option
  • Don’t overdo your makeup – think high tea not high camp
  • Do drink champagne – well I am going to tell you that aren’t I!

I had an absolute cracker of a weekend at the gee-gees in Gundy. I met some amazing people and enjoyed a bit of old fashioned country hospitality. If you’d like to see some photos, check out the race day coverage at the Goodiwindi Argus.

And a special shout out must go to the absolutely fabulous, Casey Simpson (pictured below with me and the tractor). This girl is an absolute powerhouse! She is a local school teacher, volunteer for everything and glamour-girl and has been the organiser of fashion on the field at the Goondiwindi Picnic Races for years. She coordinates a group of exceptional volunteer committee members and runs a bloody tight ship. Her event would give the city races a run for their money in terms of glamour, spirit and professionalism. And Casey is absolutely passionate about her town. Cheers Casey, you’re a true Champagne Woman!!!

Fashion on the Field organiser Casey Simpson and I at the Goondiwindi Picnic Races. Ew. I’m a bit sweaty.


Are you pro or NO when it comes to the ponies?

Would you throw a bet down? Do you get into racewear fashion?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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