ACT News


Social media guru Jemma Mrdak looking for 'brave' outfits at Black Opal Stakes

If you're thinking of entering Fashions on the Field at the Black Opal Stakes on Sunday, you might want to set up an Instagram account first.

You'll need to impress social media savvy judge Jemma Mrdak, author of the popular A Stylish Moment fashion blog and leader of a tribe of 12,000 style-obsessed Instagrammers.

At just 24, Jemma said she brings a "young, creative flair" to judging and is looking for entrants to divert from the traditional 'dress and fascinator' combination to structured suits and leather headpieces.

"I'm looking for someone who's not afraid to wear something unique and little bit different," Jemma said.

"Something out of their comfort zone. And a tip is to wear a colour you wouldn't normally wear to stand out."

Leave the straw hats, flowers and bright colours at home, Jemma said, and instead opt for muted colours and a wool or metal headpiece.


"Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the climate - with autumn racewear we'll look for an outfit that has sleeves," she said.

"Really focus and have attention-to-detail on the accessories and the headwear that you choose to wear - make sure you're thinking about every aspect of your look, from top to bottom.

"Try to match your millinery, your shoes and your clutch in every way possible back to your dress or suit, which is the main feature of your look."

Jemma started her fashion blog as a uni student in 2013 - "back when blogs were brand new and not really a big thing". Four years later she's an online influencer working with brands like Review and styling for Canberra Centre and other local fashion events.

She's a social media manager for Defence contractor Raytheon during the day, and one day hopes to work full-time on her blog.

Canberrans make up the bulk of her online tribe, and Jemma - who'll be wearing Alex Perry on Sunday - is excited to see what locals wear to the track.

"From what I saw at the Melbourne Cup race meet there is a lot of [fashion] potential out there," she said.

"There's a big hype about Black Opal this weekend so I think there'll be a lot of women and men who will definitely go out there and try and look really good and give it a red-hot go."

Jemma's final tip?

"Fake it till you make it," she said.

"If you're really nervous it'll show, and I say that coming from experience!

"Just think to yourself 'I'm confident in what I'm wearing and I love what I'm wearing' and just let it show throughout every aspect of your body language - have that confidence, back yourself."

The 45th Black Opal Stakes, Sunday March 5, Thoroughbred Park, Canberra. Gates open at 11.30am. Fashions on the Field categories include Classic Ladies Racewear, Classic Mens Racewear and the Millinery Award. More information and tickets from