From shorts to safari suits. A Mug Punter’s fashion tips for Magic Millions.

January 9, 2016

Singo refers to the Magic Millions carnival as the Melbourne Cup in shorts.

Great racing. Hectic parties. No top hats or waist coats.

It’s part of the magic. Winning plenty in a relaxed atmosphere. Count me in.

Sadly, not everyone has the fashion sense to make their way into the summer social pages. Fear not, because help is at hand.

Already, you are sniggering. Fashion advice from someone who once owned a safari suit. As a child.

Then there was the multi-coloured jumper Mum made we wear to the Youth Club disco. She was worried I’d be cold. Bless her. At least it matched my dance moves.

My cowboy boots were a big hit as a teenager. Huge heels, to fool the bloke at the bottle shop. A ploy that worked zero times.

Anyway, enough of my own disasters. It means I’m more than qualified to give a helping hand to those of you staring blankly at the wardrobe.

I’ve watched with interest, the photos from the week’s social functions that I wasn’t invited to. And there is a common theme. An image as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike.

Someone has decided that it’s cool for blokes to wear jackets and shorts. Together. You’ll see the photos, where they’re gazing off into the distance, with skinny hairless legs poking out of crisply pressed Joe Blorts.

Someone is taking the piss. It’s straight from the Fashion House of Gilligan’s Island.

Ladies, if you’re taking your man to the races today, set him straight. Jackets belong with pants. You can buy them as a package deal at Lowes.

If you must wear your dress shorts, a nice shirt is all you need. And say hi to Mary Ann for me.

At the other end of the scale, there are blokes out there right now, deciding which pair of footy shorts to wear this afternoon. The Premiership winning pair from the ’98 Gympie grand final, or the Broncos gift set from Christmas.

Boys, leave them in the drawer. No matter how good you think your pins are looking. Apart from turning female stomachs, they are also useless for holding betting tickets.

There has never been a Magic Millions Day under 40 degrees, so the tip is, dress appropriately. Unless you’re presenting a trophy, leave the tie at home. And for the welfare of those of us in the tote line with you, be generous with the deodorant.

That’s the best I can offer. Oh, and sensible shoes. In case you have to walk home. Yep, it’s been done before.

When it’s all said and done, I’m happy to be a fashion failure, if it means I might back a winner. I wonder if that old safari suit still fits? If I polish up the cowboy boots, it just might work..

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An Ekka fashion adventure. See-through tops and slinky singlets. And that’s just the blokes.

August 14, 2012

It’s fair to say that Eric from Kingaroy had never seen anything like it.

I’m assuming that was his name. He certainly looked like an Eric. And if his home wasn’t in the peanut capital, it was surely just a few large paddocks away.

We were watching the fashion parade at the Brisbane Exhibition. The Ekka, to anyone who has Maroon flowing through their veins.

The city’s annual show. Every decent town has one. From Sydney to Cairns and west to Nashville, showtime puts a city’s heartbeat on display for all to see.

The Ekka is famous for bringing the country to the city. And Eric was as country as cattle stations and the pedal steel guitar.

This fashion parade had striking Australian clothes, shown off by stunning models. They were tall, skinny and confident. At times, there wasn’t much left to the imagination. And Eric was seated just metres away.

This is one of the delightful quirks of the Ekka, and shows like it. No matter how polished the parade might be, anyone can end up in the front row.

In Paris or Milan, such seats would be reserved for the industry’s biggest names. If you’re not an ‘A’ grade celebrity, forget it.

Here, the best seats in the house can go to bogans from Beaudesert and grandmas from Gympie. Possibly next to a mechanic from Maryborough. And Eric.

Somehow, he’d scored poll position. Front row, centre seat. If the cameras had been rolling, he would have been in every shot.

I’m not sure why he was there. Possibly to keep the peace. I’m guessing he’d never seen such an event before. Because his expression was one of constant amazement.

Mouth open, eyes popping. The occasional shake of head. Every now and then, he would glance at the missus, to see if this was all for real. That was a waste of time, because she refused to return his gaze. She was having too much fun in the big smoke.

I’m not sure why he was so startled. As fashion parades go, it was anything but outrageous. But then something happened, that was too much for the old boy from the bush.

There were two male models. Impossibly chiseled, with smiles so bright they could have lit up Eric’s remote airstrip on the farm at midnight.

Every time they strutted their stuff, Eric’s gob opened just a little wider. There were BLOKES doing this modelling caper too!

One came out in a white singlet. And not the style that Eric’s mates would have worn in the shearing shed.

This one had tiny, narrow shoulder straps. It was tight enough to show an eight-pack.

Over the top, sat a flowing tropical, short-sleeved shirt, in all the colours of the rainbow. I’m no expert, but I think the outfit was finished off with those cream drawstring cotton pants, that rich single doctors wear to the pub on a Sunday arvo.

Luckily, it was the final walk of the parade. Because Eric could take no more. Couldn’t get out of that prime position quick enough. He was last seen herding the women-folk to the nearest bar.

That’s the beauty of the Ekka, and annual shows the world over. Once you get through the gates, everyone is equal.

City-folk have that same look, when we head to the animal pavilion, and see the birth of a baby lamb. Or the farmer showing his prize-winning chook. We don’t understand it, but we marvel at the beauty, that we don’t usually get to see.

How wonderful is it that a bloke like Eric could experience all that? In the very front row. The boys at the local will be in for some stories when he gets home.


Dressing for success on Oaks Day. Fashion secrets to make any racing bum a winner.

June 2, 2012

I’m not one to notice fashion at the track. Good or bad. Mine, or anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for you to get dressed up. Ditch the thongs and find some sensible shoes. But there are other things to concentrate on. Like finishing the day with bus fare.

Oaks Day is one of those great occasions, where lots of non-racing people head to the races. Stylish women who might not see a horse all afternoon. Refined men who toss the form guide away to get to the theatre guide quicker.

And that’s just fine. The fashion parades, and the young fillies and stallions, add to the fun.

Of course, we need to find the winner of the Oaks. Pretty clear-cut I reckon. But first, tips that are even more important. What you should be wearing.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a fancy box today, well done. You’ve obviously grovelled to the right people. The aim now is not to blow it, so you get another invite next year.

For the blokes, it’s pretty simple. Dust off your best suit. Iron a decent shirt. Check that you can do up the top button. Believe me, those collars shrink each year.

Never wear new shoes. Shine up your old favourites. Grab some comfy socks. You’re now set to sprint through the betting ring to snap up the best odds.

There’s another advantage to this strategy. If you have to walk home, branded one of the day’s great losers, at least you won’t get blisters.

Don’t wear a tie that has a cartoon on it, or a flashing light. No-one has ever had a successful day on the punt with Bugs Bunny hanging from their neck.

Unless you’re a member of a Royal Family, or you’ve just had scalp surgery, don’t wear a hat. Those close to you saying it’s a winning look, are secretly making a documentary on your worst fashion moments.

You might think that I wouldn’t dare give fashion advice to the ladies. And you would be right. Not that they would listen to me anyway. I have enough trouble remembering to put a belt on.

My Kiwi friends are not known for their sartorial elegance either. They’ll be required to check in their fleecy overcoat at the front gate.

What they do know, however, is how to train winners in the Queensland winter. If it’s a distance race, double your bet.

They’ll pinch the Oaks today. John Sargent has trained Quintessential to the minute. She’ll be saluting, with my Kiwi mate Damian Browne in the saddle.

A word of warning though. Go easy if it gets too wet. One of the few New Zealanders who doesn’t grow a leg in the mud. That could bring Miss Artistic into the picture. That’s right. Another Kiwi.

So there you have it. Everything you need to make the big day a success. Making money and looking good, all in one afternoon. Unless your tie is flashing. If it is, good luck with that walk home.