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To get a girl to the races

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I’ve been attending race days for a few years now. I love the vibe of the race course on a big day AND I love the fashion that goes with it. Frocks, shoes, bags and HATS…what’s not to like? Dress up, sip champagne, put some money on the horses and enjoy the spectacle. My daughter has also been coming with me for quite some time. Her friends have watched her transform from her everyday lovely self to a styled race day filly – dress, heels, gloves and hat!

One of her best friends  – Sophie Reason ( she is a flight attendant with Air New Zealand) had said for quite a while she would love to come along one day and join in with the fun of a girls day out. So – Melbourne Cup day at Ellerslie Race Course was the perfect opportunity to plan for an outing.

Having never been to the races she asked for help to get her “race course” ready. My daughter lives close to her…so the girls went shopping. I live 2 hours away, but I came with them. Sort of.

No – I didn’t drive there – I was at my computer at home! For that particular day I became a virtual shopping buddy.

The girls went on the hunt for a suitable dress…visiting several shops – taking pictures and sending them to me. After we narrowed it down to 3 dresses ( her budget and likelihood to wear the dress again to another occasion were taken into consideration) a white peplum dress was chosen.


Next – shoes!

I had seen some nice strappy shoes  from Wildpair I really liked and pointed them in the right direction to check them out and try on. Again, budget was considered and of course – she had to like them! Here is the picture of the shoes in black, luckily they also come in white!


We decided to leave it at that – accessories would be decided upon once the girls were coming home to get ready for the day.

After trying a few hats, this was the one we decided on:


Once we had the orange as an accent colour, we found an orange clutch and a bow necklace to complement the outfit.

Melbourne Cup day came…and the weather was NOT that great. Rainy, windy and not very warm. When going to the races always dress for the day! It’s no fun to be all dolled up in a little dress and freezing cold, because you didn’t bring a jacket. My daughter had a little black and white vintage jacket in her wardrobe which went nicely with the outfit! And voila – our work was done!

Off we went…2 hours drive to Auckland to the race course. There was a fashion competition on – fashion judges walked around the course and “spotted” race goers who they thought suitably and fashionably attired for the occasion. What do you know – our group of 4 was spotted right away – names and pictures were taken….they would phone us if we were in the final selection.


Here we are – picture taken by  Natalie Slade from the New Zealand Herald 

nek minnit…both my daughter and her friend got THE call – they were finalists! Yay!!!

Meet up mid afternoon with the other finalists for the judges to have a final look – pic via Ellerslie 


– march out onto the stage in the bird cage



….drum roll…winner of the “Best Dressed Female”….Sophie Reason!!! First day ever at the races, taking away a lovely prize of a stay at the Sofitel Hotel in Auckland in a suite with all the perks of dinner and breakfast + a spa treatment for 2, value NZ$2000.00! Before the girls went out to the prize giving, they agreed to take the other in case one of them won.


Here she is with the “best dressed gentleman” Geoffrey Colquhoum  to her right , next to style  judges Mariah DeGraaf  in a beautiful digital print dress  and the very dapper Colin Mathura-Jeffree with his stylish top hat and the yellow rose associated with Melbourne Cup Day.

Totally thrilled for her having such a fantastic first day at the races…I’m sure it’s only the first of many more to come. With this win she gained automatic entry as a finalist to the Prix de Fashion on Derby day at Ellerslie, March 1st, 2014. Next time she goes shopping I might actually come along.

Oh….yes – there were horses racing as well..alas, my bets did not make me a return. Next time!

P.s. As for the rest of us: Johanna Neuhauser who loves all things vintage, chose a polka dot dress from Asos , white belt, sheer navy blue gloves, a white vintage bag, nude heels from Wildpair and a MNM sinamay headpiece with white apple blossoms.

Elizabeth Charleston wore a tailor made, vintage inspired dress with a rose pattern, black clutch and shoes and a bespoke MNM black headpiece, sculptured from parisisal straw to a rose shape.

I wore a Cue dress with a cream jacket, belt, cream clutch, statement necklace and a vintage straw braid headpiece in cream-brown-aqua tones ( which I finished the day before…as usual for my own head wear)


Author: monikaneuhauser

I am a milliner, originally from Austria, living in New Zealand since 1988 (with one interruption). My studio is situated in the picturesque village of Pirongia.

One thought on “To get a girl to the races

  1. Pingback: For The Races | Izzy's Lifestyle Blog

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