Winter Fashion: Q & A with Soraya Gurney

4 June 2024


Soraya Gurney is no stranger to raceday fashion, nor a winning sash! We sat down with Soraya to get a few fashion tips as we head into the cooler months.

Where did your passion for raceday fashion stem from? 
I’ve attended the races for as long as I can remember having grown up in a racing family. I'd always admired the fashion, especially on big racedays. I’d always look forward to going to the races each week with dad and planning what I’d wear.

Then many years later, my older sister, who is based in Melbourne, started competing in fashions in the field competitions and was doing really well. Naturally, I wanted to reclaim my self-appointed title as the fashionista in the family and decided to give the competitions at Ellerslie a go. My first sash was Boxing Day 2018 when I was 5 weeks pregnant, so very memorable. Now working at ATR, I love being on the other side and putting the fashions competitions together.

What do you enjoy most about winter raceday dressing? 

I love being able to play a lot more with layers and textures, as well as accessories. There are so many great winter fabrics that we don’t get to see enough of given it’s generally our ‘off-season’ for racing fashion.
What tip would you give someone looking to dress for a winter raceday? 
Stick to winter fabrics and don’t be afraid to play with colour. In winter, a colour pop is often unexpected and can be a real point of difference.
What trends are you loving this winter? 

I’m not really one for following trends. I wear what I love and what I know suits me, that’s definitely advice for anyone wanting to give racing fashion a go. Wear what you love, not what you think other people will. I am loving seeing leather and fur (both faux, of course) making a comeback this season. For me, much like my skinny jeans, they’ll both always have a place in my wardrobe no matter if they’re ‘in’ or they’re ‘out’ because I love them.
Complete the sentence: No great winter raceday outfit is complete without... 
Millinery – summer or winter, it’s a must.
You're a marketing executive for Auckland Thoroughbred Racing. When is the next opportunity to hit the catwalk at an ATR fashion in the field event? 
Luckily for the ladies it’s just around the corner at our Lindauer Ladies’ Lunch on Ladies’ Day, Wednesday June 19 at Pukekohe Park. We have lots of opportunities to win with five categories on the day (Best Dressed, Best Dressed Maiden, Best Dressed Local Lady, Best Accessories and Best Dressed Girl Group). However, tickets are scarce so if you’re wanting an opportunity to strut your stuff then I’d snap one up quickly.
What advice would you give someone looking to enter a fashion in the field competition for the first time? 

If you’d like to give a fashion in the field competition a try, go for it. But… definitely do some homework around what to wear and what not to. Various racing/ racing fashion social media accounts are great for this, as well as talking to some of the girls who already compete who are always happy for give newcomers advice (and someone to hang out with on a raceday). Don’t think that you need to spend hundreds of dollars to put an outfit together. You can absolutely put together a winning look on a tight budget. Op shops, hire places, high street stores or even borrowing from friends are all great options or like me, who started competing shortly before maternity leave, pick one or two competitions you’d like to aim for and plan/save for your outfit with plenty of time in advance of the date.

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