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HisCanberra: Gentleman’s Guide to Spring Racing

Sonny Looms

Spring racing season is here, and even if you’re not the gambling type, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the fun.

While woman have typically been the focus of events such as Fashions on the Field, modern men are paying closer attention to getting their race day attire just right.

Whether you’re going to hit the members-only bar or planning a more casual day at the races, you need to make sure you look the part.

If you’re looking to build on an already race-ready wardrobe or starting from scratch with a new outfit, on any trip to the races there are always a few tips to keep in mind—the most important being your attention to detail.

Here’s a quick guide covering everything you need to ensure you’re looking your sharpest come race day.

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Marcs Ecru Two Button Blazer, Hugo Boss Geleos Medium Brown, Saba Julius Occasion Shirt, Trenery Varsity Stripe Silk Satin Tie, Calibre Lantano Stripe PS.

Tailoring is Key: Suits & Shirts

Time to ditch dull dark winter colours and grab yourself a light slim-fit outfit, hugging the body but also giving you flexibility to move around comfortably.

The key essential is a perfectly fitting well-tailored suit. Consider the length of your pants, your shoulders, the cut of your jacket and utilise your local tailor if necessary—nothing looks worse than an oversized or ill-fitted jacket.

A lighter, softer, natural and lightweight suit is perfect for the day, especially as the weather heats up. If opting for a cotton or linen suit, make sure the look is still polished—stick to leather shoes and a crisp shirt.

Colour is always on trend each racing season—but that doesn’t mean you need to turn up in a bright pink outfit. It’s about subtle colouring that stops you from looking like you’ve come straight from the office—think soft chalk pastels, cool light greys or blues that go beyond your typical navy.

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Calibre Bolero Rose Flower Pin, Calibre Benedict Check Shirt, MJ Bale Garda Sky Tie, Happy Socks Dot Sock, Carrera New Champion sunglasses

When it comes to shirting, although you want to look smart, you’re there to have a good time. Whilst you don’t want to go overboard, playing with patterns and prints will help give your outfit a bit of personality. Plan your shirt, tie and pocket square combination in advance to avoid a last-minute mess.

  • For the perfect suit, you can’t go past Braddon Tailors, providing tailor made, made-to-measure and bespoke suits made right here in Canberra. Their Lonsdale Street studio sources luxurious and unique materials from some of the best mills around the world, including the foremost provider of English wool worsted suit fabric, Huddersfield Cloth.
  • Hugo Boss represents one of the world’s most respected labels with exceptional fabrics. Although the made-to-measure service is only available in their King Street store in Sydney, their Canberra Centre store extends beyond suiting, providing a one-stop shop encompassing those race day must-have accessories.
  • MJ Bale is an Australian menswear label, creating garments out of the world’s finest raw materials. Located in the Canberra Centre, their collection boasts traditional suiting in superfine Merino wool, lightweight cotton jackets perfect for warmer weather.

Act on Accessories

Spring racing is the perfect chance to go that little bit extra with your outfit.

You can easily turn your everyday suit into the perfect dapper race day look with just a few simple touches. Often overlooked accessories help add that finishing touch which can turn a good outfit into a great one.

A fresh flower pinned on your lapel is a classic race day tradition, so a quick trip to a local florist the day before the event will add that extra touch. If you can’t find one or don’t have the spare time, try and find a lapel pin with a fake flower.

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MJ Bale Yuri Sky Suit, Ted Baker Knitted Tie Green, Aquila Leyden Tan, Aquila Bane Tan Belt, MJ Bale Copland Green Hankie, Ray Ban Justin Tortoise, Calibre Nevard Rose Flower Pin.

If all this sounds like a lot of effort, don’t worry. While some men are happy to spend hours browsing shops to pick up everything they need, most aren’t. However, there is no other better (easier, or more appropriate) accessory as that of a pocket square.

Almost every time you put on a suit jacket, sport coat or blazer, a pocket square should be worn. A pocket square conveys elegance in formal wear, confidence when worn with suits, and sophistication when worn with sport coats and blazers—with or without a tie.

With ties, go for something you might not usually wear in your day job—so again colour, prints and knitted varieties all work really well. Just make sure there isn’t too much going on; if your shirt’s busy, keep the tie simple and vice versa.

Get yourself a well-fitted belt and invest in a quality pair of shoes—you can’t go wrong with classic styles like Oxfords or Brogues (or try a pair of Monk Straps). Make sure you get a comfortable pair and wear them in prior, as there’s nothing worse than sore feet when it comes to race day—and hopefully you already know to leave your white socks at home.

Grab a pair of Swanky Socks or Happy Socks, because as soon as you sit down, your socks will show and become a part of your outfit.

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Country Road Mini Stripe Jacket, Saba Collins Slim Pant Black, Tie Bar Kelly Green Sand Wash Solid, Witchery Man Gunmetal Aviator, Ben Sherman Gunmetal Tie Bar, MJ Bale Alasdair Navy Hankie.

Try something new

If there’s ever an occasion to try something new, it’s the races. Step outside your comfort zone and experiment with your styling—a statement jacket, accessories you normally wouldn’t wear or swap your usual striped tie for something textured. Make sure you don’t over do it, one or two elements is easily all you need. If you’re unsure your combo works, check with your mates or significant other.

Good luck, gentlemen.

Feature image courtesy of


Sonny Looms

Sonny Looms is a multi-disciplinary creative at Coordinate. Born and raised in Canberra, Sonny has been in the advertising and marketing industry since before his graduation, creating brand identities and design material for a wide range of clients, partnering with some of Australia’s leading brands. When not stuck to his Mac you’ll find him indulging in Canberra’s cafés and restaurants, frequenting the gym or travelling the globe. More about the Author