Retro vibes and winning style: What Katie O'Neill looks for in a winner + racewear trends to watch

By day she’s a Canterbury dairy farmer and busy mum to four girls, but every once in a while, Katie O’Neill looks forward to getting glam for raceday.

She’s been awarded sashes in New Zealand and Australia, and in February she won The Ned Prix de Fashion 2020 - our country's national racewear title.

Ahead of making her Ellerslie judging debut tomorrow when she helps select the male & female winner of our NEWMARKET. Style Spotter competition (which sees the female winner pre-qualify for the regional final of The Ned Prix de Fashion AND both winners take home a $1000 voucher to spend in the national's fashion capital), Katie shares her tips for catching a judge’s eyes.

The one before the big win - Katie competing in The Ned Prix de Fashon 2019

What are you looking to see when you judge the NEWMARKET. Style Award?

I always like an outfit that stands out; something that is cool enough to make you look twice.

I love clean lines to an outfit, but I think to have wow factor there needs to be something a little bit unpredictable about the look.

How it’s put together is key.


What are some key trends you’re loving for spring and summer racedays?

I like the hints of 60s and 70s coming through and I love that.

We’re seeing it in slightly retro prints, colourways, florals, and patterns, but with a modern twist.

I love pantsuits too. If done well, there’s no reason pants can’t be racing fashion – after all, they are both stylish and practical.


What inspired your own outfit for tomorrow?

It’s such fun putting together an outfit.

The outfit that won Katie the national racewear title

I often start looking at designers as they release their runway looks and snap something up early on.

I start with the outfit and then add the accessories later.

A great milliner can tailor something to your outfit and face shape. I bought an amazing piece of millinery from Australia but can’t find anything to work with it!

Now that I’m not entering the competitions anymore, I get to wear stuff that doesn’t necessarily play by the rules and be more of a trendsetter.

My outfit is a modern take on a Gucci 1970s vibe and I’m so excited to wear it.

Getting dressed up is worlds apart from my life on the farm and being a busy mum to four girls, so coming to Auckland for racedays is such a highlight.

Having something that is just for you is so good for your wellbeing.


What next? Get yourself raceday ready!