AMERICAN blues-rock band and beard aficionados ZZ Top once sang "every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man", and for this year's Grafton Cup Fashions on the Field, I decided to put their theory to the test.

I've never been one to say no to trying a new experience, and entering the best-dressed gent competition was certainly a new experience.

Putting on your best suit and fiddling with a Windsor knot for the tie is all part-and-parcel of a fun day out at the races, so there should be no reason not to have a bit of fun with the fashion competition.

Knowing that classic looks never go out of style, I opted for a dark blue two-button suit, white shirt with floral print, black tie and pocket square, all from Connor, who were major sponsors of the event.

For something different this year, after registration entrants received a complimentary drink ticket to help calm a few nerves before taking the stage, or perhaps give a bit more courage to some of the more hesitant contestants.

The judging panel of Dianne Kenny, Amy Farrell and Lisa Dougherty must have been impressed by my classic fashion pairings, or realised I was dressed almost entirely by the competition's major sponsor, and much to my surprise I found myself among the finalists for the Best Dressed Gent.

Unfortunately, it's hard to compete with fashion that didn't look out of place at the world famous Royal Ascot Racecourse, and the top hat and tails pairing of Dr Peter Goldman won the day. He was looking incredibly dapper in his outfit, and it's hard to hold a grudge against the obstetrician who delivered me into this world 28 years ago.

FASHIONS ON THE FIELD:

So, despite not taking home the top prize, I did score myself a free beer, and a gratifying ego boost by reaching the finals, so in the end I think it made me a winner after all.



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