PHOTOS: Fashions on the field guide to Ipswich Cup

BETWEEN races and beside the track at the Ipswich Cup, queues of men and women are busy straightening their hats and polishing their shoes.

They're about to go on stage for the coveted Riverlink fashions on the field competition and if history is anything to by, these fashionistas mean business.

It's an important draw card for race day crowds across the nation with regional competitions creating their own traditions and own flair.

In Ipswich the boundaries are pushed and individual creativity shines bright.

Riverlink dress shop M2M Studio's Tiarnah Inger said the Ipswich Cup fashion rush started as early as January and only ended the morning of the big event.

"We still have people coming in the day of the cup, looking for a fascinator or another dress because they don't like the one they had," she said.

"We've seen a lot of black and nude to be very popular for racing fashion this season, a lot of winter colours. The fit and flare style has been really popular too."

Winter racing fashion criteria

WHAT sets winter racing fashion apart from its competitors is the attention to detail, level of decorum and strict winter-only criteria.

Anything too tight, strapless, revealing or midriff-bearing should be avoided. Traditionally strict racing fashion criteria stipulates dress, trouser and skirt hems should fall below the knee and shoulder straps should be at least one inch wide, even if worn with a jacket or coat.

Typical winter colour palettes feature deep tones like navy, emerald and burgundy but contemporary influences have them mixed up with with cool white, pops of electric colour and even pastels.

Races are a day time event so high shine evening wear materials like sequins should be worn with caution.

Unlike spring racing, winter fashion should include closed shoes, or at the very least, peep-toe. Keep the strappy sandals aside for the warmer months.

While not a necessity, stockings and gloves are also strongly recommended and hair should be worn tied up. Sunglasses worn during competition are frowned upon.

Headwear it a must. It should compliment the outfit and be either felt or leather. Straw or sinamay should be reserved for spring racing.

This season leather boater hats, felt hats and dramatic headpieces are dominating national competitions.

Men should also focus on attention to detail and keep the autumn winter colour palette in mind. A buttonhole doesn't go astray either.

This season's brief? Have fun and push the boundaries.

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