FASHIONS on the Field devotee Crystal Kimber has turned a love of looking good into a lucrative race day hobby.
Having put her best foot forward in an estimated 45 fashions on the field competitions around Australia, the marketing brand manager from Cremorne has collected prizes valued “around $100,000.’’
Highlights include a $30,000 Alfa Romeo car, a $25,000 trip for two to Royal Ascot, holidays to Hong Kong and Bali, a $12,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival experience, and numerous shopping vouchers.
“I sold the car, it was a manual and I would have burnt out the clutch,’’ Kimber said.
“I’ve won some beautiful vouchers to shopping centres so I have quite a nice bag collection.
“I bought one practical item (with the vouchers) — a bed.
“And I bought a Magimix.’’
In recent weeks she won the Westfield Style Stakes on Caulfield Cup Day, reaping $10,000 in prizes including a shopping experience valued at $2000 and a $3000 travel voucher, and then days later was triumphant in the Geelong Cup Fashions On The Field were her haul included a $5000 Charles Rose diamond pendant.
Kimber, 27, previously won the Geelong Cup title in 2015 and Caulfield Fashion Stakes in 2014.
Other Fashions On The Field victories include the 2014 Ballarat Cup, 2013 Cranbourne Cup, 2012 Sandown Cup, 2013 Queensland Myer Fashions On The Field State title, and the 2014 South Australia Fashion At The Races title.
But one title has so far eluded her — Flemington where her best result was second runner-up in 2013.
Kimber will line up in the Myer Fashions On The Field competition on Melbourne Cup Day, hoping her years of experience will win out.
She said her secret weapon was her mum who made the majority of her dresses and not being a slave to fashion trends.
“I try to avoid getting caught up in a million trends all at once,’’ Kimber said.
“The key is to find a trend or an element that you like and then add your creative flare.
“I think sometimes it is worth taking a little bit of a risk; if you absolutely love something and feel confident and happy in it, then go for it.’’
Kimber’s Fashion On The Field odyssey started in the junior category at Flemington over a decade ago and then six years ago she took a run at the womenswear section at Caulfield.
“I was 21 and wore an Op shop hat and a dress I bought off eBay,’’ she said.
“I made the final and walked away with all theses prizes and started friendships that still exist today.
“I found this amazing community. There is this perception that it (the competition) is bitchy, but it is not at all. We are from all walks of life and love fashion.’’
Kimber said fashions on the field was not an obsession, rather an interest she and her mother could share.
Sometimes they spend weeks putting an outfit together. Other times the dress will be finished the evening before the competition.
“For me it starts with the fabric and we then work out the design because I think the hardest thing is finding great fabric, or a great print,’’ Kimber said.
“I use a few different milliners — Rebecca Share, Jill and Jack, Kim Weibenga.’’
She said it was possible to be a fashion contender without spending a fortune.
“You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on an outfit.
“It is just about finding a great piece — it could be from an Op shop, online or eBay — and you can do it on a budget.
“Now days you are seeing a lot of people winning in home designs and if you invest in a great headpiece you can use that many times.’’
While she has enjoyed vast success Kimber said she had no plans to hang up her hat and heels yet.
“We all have great days where we might have a great win, and then you have other days when you are knocked out in the first round and you just have a really fun day at the races with your friends,’’ she said.