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Fashion Form Guide

Fashions on the Field is often a ladies domain, but that doesn’t mean men don’t want in on the action. The million dollar question of course, is ‘how’?

“Nothing beats a navy suit executed flawlessly,” says M.J. Bale founder and CEO Matt Jensen when asked how to style a winning look this Melbourne Cup. “But for some extra wow-factor this season try bolder colours, bigger checks, and more florals in deconstructed jackets and printed shirts.”

No matter your personal spin on it, a great suit gives you that little bit of extra confidence and authority. “You put it on and feel ready to face the day’s challenges – even if that’s just backing a winner!”

Here, in a joint collaboration with James Boag and M.J. Bale, some of Merivale’s finest – all with their own distinct style – model this racing season’s key looks. 

Casual Flair

Coogee Pavilion Executive Chef Jordan Toft spends a lot of time in his chef’s whites, and usually prefers situational basics to avoid any wardrobe anxiety.

“As long as I’m happy with my choice, I’m comfortable getting suited up. I can be painfully torturous to others getting to that point though!”

Jensen says a lightweight statement jacket, like the one seen here on Jordan, is relaxed enough for suit novices. “Match it with a navy knitted tie and chinos so you’re giving it enough formality to push the style into thoughtful tailoring.”

“The trick is not to overdo the jacket with other pieces in the look,” he continues. “Focus on neutral tones like navy, white, and grey to pull everything back to classicism.”

Jordan was instantly drawn to the Prince of Wales check of his jacket. “It definitely caught the eye, and was beautifully tailored which allowed for a more casual pants and shoe situation.”

As for accessories, Jordan keeps it simple with a pair of sunnies and his signet ring. “Is my man bun an accessory?” he laughs. 

Old School Style

ivy Licensee Dan Singer feels right at home in a suit – he wears one almost every day. To take his everyday uniform to special event heights, Dan likes to play around with standout accessories like cufflinks, kerchiefs and ties.

“I like to pick them up when I’m travelling – they’re good to add to an everyday suit after work and remind me of the time I bought them.”

Another way to spruce up a classic suit is by adding a waistcoat. “We have a lot to thank Mad Men for,” says Jensen. “And the return of the three-piece suit is one of them.”

You don’t have to forgo the accessories while rocking a three-piece, but Jensen suggests focussing on neutral tomes and classic patterns.

For extra style points, don’t forget to leave the bottom button of your waistcoat undone. “This harks back to the when the future Edward VII was a little too tubby to do the button up. Not wanting to embarrass him, the court followed suit and has since become a sartorial affectation.”

Work Hard, Play Hard

Ms.G’s Bar Manager Oli Sivarajah describes his style as “a little rugged with a heavy dose of tropical – busy or colourful shirts are my go-to.”

With this in mind, M.J. Bale dressed Oli in a “respectable summer party boy” suit, keeping the colour light, and the accessories – like the pink pocketchief and the floral tie– statement, rather than a supporting, pieces.

“We love blue suits because they let you play with other colours; it’s versatile enough to anchor a range of accessories in contrasting shades,” says Jensen.

“You can have a lot of fun with socks, lapel pins, tie bars, bow ties, and pocketchiefs. The key is not overdoing it and ending up looking like a rapper on the red carpet.”

Which suits Oli just fine. “Accessories aren’t just for the ladies. There are no rules; I think you should just wear what makes you feel good.”

Classic Catch

When he’s not in a suit for work, Felix Head Sommelier Tim Perlstone is a jeans and leather jacket kind of guy. “I don’t have the biggest interest in fashion, but I appreciate well-made clothes and accessories.”

M.J. Bale went with a modern take on classical trackside tailoring for Tim. “The key to this look is the suit,” says Jensen. It’s sophisticated and simple in a neutral grey fabric that lets you have some fun with the rest of the look.

“A classic navy tie with a colourful yet traditional shirt and pocketchief makes a statement without overdoing it.”

Which is perfect for Tim’s simple and refined aesthetic. “I love the power of a great suit – it creates an image of success at work and play.”

With numerous packages on offer, suit up and pop in this Melbourne Cup Day!