Untucked shirts and unzipped flies were the hottest style trends sweeping the world’s richest turf race yesterday as more than 45,000 punters flooded The Everest at Royal Randwick for the sole purpose of seeing how many beers they could carry in scenes reminiscent of The Great Gatsby.
While the ladies usually take responsibility for bringing fashion to the field, the real standout in the sartorial stakes were the blokes who pulled on the one pair of rumpled chinos they own.
The day was an unofficial parade of the uniform that a large portion of our male population has unanimously decided they’ll wear to every single event: cream chinos, white shirt, navy blazer. This ensemble is more commonly known to patient wives and girlfriends across the country as their partner’s “going out clothes”.
“Every guy has one suit jacket in their house, one tie, one pair of chinos — and that’s what they wear everywhere,” Matt, 23, said. “That’s the beauty of it. We don’t have to dress up, we decide what we’re doing five minutes before.”
He and his mate were wearing The Uniform. The co-ordination wasn’t planned and they didn’t care that they looked identical, like a group of schoolboys wagging chemistry class at the local shopping centre. Until it was pointed out, they didn’t even seem to notice.
Matt’s chinos had already been worn to work “a few times” during the week.
Had they been washed? No comment.
His friend, Jack, 24, shared his own chino confession.
“I wear them every day at work,” he said.
But cream chinos and day drinking at the races don’t always mix. Matt was sheepishly covering an embarrassing wet patch on his crotch. He blamed the suspicious stain on a stranger who allegedly spilt a drink on him.
“It happens to the best of us,” he said.
A record $20m of prize money was up for grabs at the track, with Think About It, the race favourite ridden by Sam Clipperton, claiming the podium. But racing season is never actually about the races.
“Oi! Get us an expresso martini!” a dishevelled 20-something guy with a mullet yelled to his mates who were all wearing The Uniform and lining up at the drinks van.
Double-parked with beer bottles, the addition of cocktail glasses to the boys’ beverage juggling act only highlighted the elegance one has come to expect from the races.
By early afternoon, groups of men wearing The Uniform had ripped out their shirts to let their hems flutter in the breeze. Several fellows seemed oblivious that their belts were unbuckled. News.com.au counted nine unzipped flies within 30 minutes.
There was a stark contrast between glamorous girlfriends and the boyfriends who had been dragged along.
Natalie, 20, spent over $1,500 on her look for the day. There was $700 for the dress and $110 for the lashes. Hair came in at $300. And don’t forget the makeup: $400. Her partner Lachy, dressed identically to his mate in the drinks line, was wearing The Uniform — cream chinos, white shirt, blue blazer. It was the same outfit Lachy wore to the Year 12 formal two years ago. Calculating the cost-per-wear of The Uniform over the period of ownership, it basically works out to be free.
It was a similar story for Geraldine and Christian, both 18. He bought his outfit for the school formal last year. She purchased a new dress just for today.
“I had to buy this dress! I had to buy new makeup! I hate being a woman,” she said.
Christian shrugged. “I spent zero. Everything I’m wearing is what I’ve already worn before.”
It’s not about impressing their boyfriends, Geraldine and Natalie said. Instead, all the effort that goes into getting glammed-up is to impress other girls. Even ones they haven’t met.
“I bought a new outfit so I could post it on my Instagram,” Geraldine said.
Tom, 30, and Anthony, 26, both wearing The Uniform, were more focused on betting and day-drinking than the fact they looked like their mums had dressed them in matching OshKosh B’gosh ensembles.
“It’s different for girls because they judge each other way harsher,’ Anthony said. “We don’t have to put in any effort because it doesn’t matter.”