As spring racing season kicks off, we sat down with seasoned expert and face of Myer, Jennifer Hawkins, to chat race day dos and don'ts, beauty tips and her favourite trackside outfit of all time.
You look amazing in your Instagram video - Who are you wearing today for Derby Day?
I’m wearing a Jonathan Simkhai dress, an Ann Shoebridge hat, Oscar de la Renta earrings and Balmain for the shoes.
How do you choose your outfits for race days?
We have a fitting around a month out and either pick what’s appropriate and looks good or get something custom-made. Just whatever fits to the body, feels really great and, I’ll be honest: it has to be comfortable!
You’ve got to be in it all day, so I just make sure 1, it looks okay, and 2, I’m comfy.
For people attending the races who haven’t been before, what are a few style tips?
I just think you should dress for your personality. There’s lots of fancy headwear, fascinators and so many things you can do, but if it’s not you, you’re going to feel awkward on the day.
I love wide brimmed hats - it doesn’t matter whether they’re in fashion or out - I think they’re stunning and elegant, so I’ll wear one when possible. I also love veils, I think they’re very fashion-forward and feminine. So I guess it’s about tailoring your look to suit your personality on the day.
Are there any fashion dos and don'ts when it comes to racing?
I would say wear comfortable heels but you also have to wear something that goes with your outfit. These Balmain heels that I have on today are insanely tall so I can’t really be a hypocrite!
Wear what you need to and if you’re hobbling out, then so be it! Just don’t take your shoes off [laughs].
How do you approach choosing headwear?
I think it is key to wear it beforehand. Go into store and put it on to make sure that you’re comfortable. Because if it’s something other than a hat, it does feel odd to have an object on your head - especially if it’s a veil, I’ve worn one before and it’s very awkward [laughs], you do need to practise.
Which designers do you always look at for outfits for race days?
Jonathan Simkhai, who I’m wearing, he is an incredible designer. The lace and tailoring are just beautiful. Roland Mouret, who also stocks at Myer, is perfect for race day. Alex Perry and Toni Matičevski, they’re all fantastic because they tailor, so you could go and get something fitted to you that may not fit off the hanger.
What’s your favourite spring racing outfit that you’ve worn ever and why?
I wore a Misha red jumpsuit last year and it was so comfortable and just wearing a pantsuit - I was finally allowed to, because there were all these restrictions - I was like ‘yay!’. I actually kept that and one day, if I have a daughter, I’ll hand that over and it’ll be vintage.
You had red lips and a red hat too, right?
Yeah, I think it’s the only time you can really do matchy-matchy because it was such a statement kind of outfit.
What are your race day beauty tips? How do you prep your skin in the lead-up?
Oh, that’s almost the most important part. Once you get done with your outfit and shoes, it’s down to your skin because you’re mingling and around people all day.
In the lead-up, I eat clean and cut back on alcohol and salt. I get a microdermabrasion and then you just have to cross your fingers that you don’t get any breakouts!
And on the day, what do you do to make sure your makeup stays put?
Because I’m working I do get to pop back and touch up my powder. But like anyone else, you just have to do your makeup and it just kind of stays. Drink lots of water!
Do you go like to go bold with your makeup or more understated?
I never really go bold, to be honest. I quite like a natural make up - dewy, bronzy with a bit of powder. I am wearing a lip today but with a softer eye, it’s kind of one or the other.
As long as I can have dewy skin, I’m okay with that!