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FOTF Sash Worthy - The Basics

With so much growing interest in the FOTF scene, I thought it was best to go through the basics of FOTF style etiquette for those who are new to the game and even for those who feel they have lost their way when navigating what is appropriate and what is on trend.  Here are 5 Must-Do's for women entering any FOTF competition.

With the Brisbane Racing Club Girls Day Out FOTF event just around the corner on 20 February 2016, I will be joining a local panel of FOTF judges on the day. This #girlsquad inspired race day is the perfect opportunity for ladies to nail their racing style etiquette and understand that great racing style is not always the same as great FOTF style.

If you are getting on stage on the day and giving it a red-hot go, here are the FOTF basics from a judging perspective:

1. Tis the (millinery) season

Ladies, leave the felt and wool headpieces and hats at home saving them for the Winter racing carnival.  With so many trending hat labels pumping out the short and long brim felt fedora's (for under $100) over the last 12 months, this can be a tempting go-to for the occasional race goer.   This seasonal no-no also applies to headpieces and hats covered in heavier fabrics.  If the texture looks warm, save it for when you aren't in the warmer months. Especially here in Queensland.

Leather headpieces are often transeasonal and make a great investment as they can be worn across any racing season depending on their weight and size.
Feather headwear can sometimes work as a transeasonal option but this again depends on the style and type of feather.  If in doubt, ask your local milliner.  You can easily contact your nearest milliner via the Racing Style Nation Milliner Directory.

Straw and sinamay based millinery are ideal for spring and summer race meets.  Quite often you will find there is a professional milliner on a FOTF judging panel so investing in quality millinery is a must rather than purchasing a last minute mass-produced head clip or head band.  This is fine for the races, but is unlikely to win you a place in a FOTF competition.

2. The lengths we go

You can wear the most gorgeous ensemble and shine on stage but if there is another entrant doing same, with a lower hemline; chances are you won't reign FOTF supreme on the day.

Out of respect for traditional racewear and in a nod to good taste; knee length is always far more preferred and acceptable to a judging panel who more often than not are across racing fashion etiquette and work in the racing, stylist or fashion industry.

Fuller length skirts and dresses can often sit just on the knee and above and can be beautifully executed when the top half of the outfit shows less skin. This can be a beautiful look for the races but just may not be sash-worthy.

Speaking of lengths, let's talk mid-riffs... or let's not.  They are a huge no for FOTF and this also applies to cut-outs in midi dresses.  As a huge FOTF faux-pas, many ladies opt to insert a panel in cut-outs of their favourite midi dress.  This can then translate to appropriate racewear.

3. Shoesies

Warmer seasons make way for strappier and fringed open-toe heels to walk the walk.  One shoe trend that has managed to recently exit-stage-left from the FOTF stage is the platform patent open toe pump.

Always ensure the height of your heel allows you to be comfortable and walk confidently on stage.  Save the chunkier shoes for the nightclubs (or as a doorstop) and channel your feminine charm.  Keep footwear delicate and fine in spring and ensure that in the colder months hosiery compliment a closed toe heel.

Depending on your age and taste, this one can be a bit tricky so if in doubt, check out the Racing Style Nation Winning Style Gallery to see what footwear has adorned the feet of past winners.

4. Complimentary vs Matchy-Matchy

Forget the concept that FOTF racewear means using the same fabric on your dress to cover your shoes, clutch AND headpiece.  Great racing style means avoiding the obvious and ensuring your accessories and outfit compliment each other, not morph into each other.

There is a fine line between incorporating detail from your dress into your clutch to sticking the flowers from your hat onto your shoes for a 'cohesive' look.

Having your milliner colour match your millinery to your outfit is certainly a great compromise when it comes to tying your look together. I myself have previously used my headpiece leather in my leather gloves.  It's about subtly. A lot can be said for the current metalic trend allowing us to work a metalic theme across accessories as an option.

5. Femme and Floaty Florals

Always check out any theme of your race day event prior.  Girls’ Day Out is supported by the Women’s Cancer Foundation and is an excuse to show your femmy style and catch up with the girls. We all know the Devil Wears Prada reference to spring florals.  Yes, it is a cliche, but time and time again floral prints just WORK.

Floral detailing for spring/ summer is here to stay and to be honest, as long as you take an updated approach, it's something many FOTF judges have been seen to gravitate toward. Check out the Brisbane Racing Club website for the racecourse dress code and cues on racing style etiquette.

You can check out all the details of the upcoming Brisbane Racing Club Girls’ Day Out FOTF event via the Racing Style Nation FOTF Directory.