Last year, the number of ladies entering the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival Westfield Style Stakes tripled. This year, with well over 2000 entrants expected, candidates can be forgiven for wondering how on earth they are going to stand out amongst the masses of very tall poppies around them. 

After unknowingly photographing the winner pre their selections at Caulfield each and every year for the past five, I thought I'd put together a few thoughts on what I look out for when documenting the fashions at the Westfield Style Stakes. You never know, maybe this sage advice will help you pull together a winning ensemble.

First, the most obvious common thread running between all of the past winners of the Westfield Style Stakes has been their ability to style a look from top to toe. An immaculate dress alone does not make a winning trackside look without equally amazing millinery. The same goes for choosing the right hairstyle and shoes, the right shade of lipstick and the perfect bag. I can guarantee that those stable judges are looking for a winning lady, not just a winning dress. Curate your look in advance. And before you walk out the door and into your Uber do a top to toe scan and make sure you tick all the boxes.


Next, make sure all the elements of your look are consistent with a theme. Whether it be a colour palette, an era, or a trend, racing fashion is steeped in tradition, so don’t be afraid to play the matching game. Think heels to bag with millinery as the crowning glory. 

Kimmi Varcoe - Helen Mary Millinery, Self-Portrait dress, Olga Berg clutch.jpg

Playful prints and colours will always get you noticed. Dots with stripes of the same colour. Jewel tones in traditionally taboo combinations like pink and red, french navy and black or mustard yellow and emerald green. And big florals or fruity moments. Be bold, take risk, have fun. 

Juliana Forge - Dolce and Gabanna dress, Gucci wedges.jpg
Alexia Petsinis.jpg
Montana Cox - Zimmerman top skirt, Hatmaker millinery.jpg

Longer lengths are a must, and in-fashion too so quite easy to find. Think of the races like you're attending one of Margherita Missoni’s garden parties, you need to be able to laugh and dance while sipping champagne in the sunshine, not worrying about a gust of wind that might be on its way. 

Irene Nicholas - Nicholas top and skirt, Maison Michel hat.jpg

Not a girly girl? A sleek tailored suit catches my eye EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Keep it minimal, or use as a canvas for stand out accessories and millinery. With such simple clean lines there is no limit to your complimentary accessories. Although you will only ever see me in black, don’t be afraid of colour and a mix-and-match approach. 

Helen O'Connor.jpg
Ruby Watson - Maje Dress, Richard Nylon millinery, Chloe bag.jpg

A little practicality can go a long way. Think wedges over stiletto’s, up do’s over out do’s, sunscreen under makeup and a little survival kit in your handbag … you want to look your best when you claim your prize. Lastly, for the second year in a row, the Westfield Style Stakes is now a digital competition, so practice your pose before the day. Know how your outfit looks it’s best and of course, that confidence is key. xxx