Chapter 16: Fashion in the Field

I strongly identified with Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality this weekend.

Not the being in the FBI part.

The being whipped into pageant shape part.

Not that I took part in a pageant.

But also.

Didn’t I …?

Fashion in the Field

On Saturday I walked the Fashion in the Field runway at Wellington Cup Day in Trentham, and tried really hard not to fall over.

And guys. I totally didn’t.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Let’s have a quick deep dive on …

What is Fashion in the Field?

Lord knows I’m no expert, but in my vast experience of competing twice, and the intense Google research I just did, this is what I know:

Fashion in the Field is the love child of Project Runway and Downton Abbey, and began in Victoria, Australia in 1962 as a way of encouraging more ladies to attend the races.

It’s a best dressed competition. But one that somehow manages to be both fashion-forward, and meticulously old world.

There are rules, my friend.

For instance, a head piece is a must, and cohesion is key.

Your hat, dress, shoes, bag and jewellery should all look like they belong together.

Or, if you’re really killing it, they should be the ensemble cast in a story your telling through your, er, ensemble.

As an example, this is quite possibly my most favourite Fashion in the Field outfit. Ever.

It’s worn by my friend Charlotte (we were Montessori School homies in Auckland) when she came down for Wellington Cup Day in 2014.

So elegant. So coordinated. So Audrey.

And actually, so fashion-forward.

Voluminous midi skirts are having a real fashion moment now, but lest we forget, this was back in 2014, when most of us were all about a peplum top over a pencil skirt.

A big chunk of the kudos for this outfit also goes to Ali, Charlotte’s mum and the design mastermind behind alotta winning Fashion in the Field lewks.

Between them, Charlie and her sister Olivia have a serious sash collection.

The lovely Livy and I.

You should definitely stalk @ali_moor_millinery on the gram, or better yet, order a piece from her for your next fashionable foray in the field.

Fun fact: it’s called Fashion on the Field in Australia, which does actually make more sense … but, #patriotism.

Wellington Cup Day

But back to Saturday.

This is me.

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go, so this bold situation was (elegantly) thrown together over Messenger convos with the Moor girls.

The dress is Asos, the bow headpiece Ali Moor Millinery, the bag was customised by Ali (I’ve got it around the wrong way … there are some sassy lavender details on the other side), the earring are big ol Karen Walker numbers, and the shoes are Forever New.

I was going for: Whimsey, French, and a little bit Madonna in the 80s.

Hilariously, I ended up twinning with the gorgeous Simone Anderson who MCed the event.

I entered the Maiden of the Carnival category, and didn’t win. But was really glad when the lovely chicky in the gorgeous red dress and sassy gold half-gloves that I’d been talking to backstage did.

Why do it?

It’s not often in life you get to play dress ups. And this is a spectacularly good excuse.

Plus, the prizes are baller.

But my favourite part is always just getting to spend time with my friends the Moors.

And this time I also got to meet their incredible friend Katie, who I Facebook friend-requested nearly immediately.

Support your local girl gang: Katie, Charlie, squinty Kate, and my mama Toni.

Also, how cute is my mum! Our photos together are forever a Frodo/Gandalf situation.

As with any competition where you’re literally being judged on what you look like, there is the temptation to get self-conscious, to compare yourself to others, or for things to just get all a bit Mean Girls.

But as Katie put it so well after our gang didn’t come away with any placings:

“That’s Fashion in the Field! We look amazing. But everyone looks amazing. You just never know what the judges will like.”

My advice: at Fashion in the Field, and life, always try to be Miss Congeniality instead of Regina George.

And then, win or lose, you’re happy.

Have you done Fashion in the Field before?! How was it? Man, I really wanna watch Miss Congeniality now …

Kate x

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