When famed New York Times photographer, the late Bill Cunningham said "Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life", he probably wasn't picturing a race day in Taree.
But if he had, then surely he would have been referring to John Sharpley.
The 92-year-old Harrington resident was voted winner of the Male Fashions on the Field award at the Taree Gold Cup meeting, held at the Manning Valley Race Club on Sunday, November 19.
And if fashion truly is armour against the mundane, then John's style is bulletproof.
I didn't want to participate but the ladies kept forcing me into it- Male Fashion of the Field winner, John Sharpley
"Even though I'm an old bloke I try to look bright eyed and bushy tailed if it is possible," John says with a chuckle.
A former racehorse owner himself, John and his wife Robyn were enjoying race day in Taree with friends when he was urged to enter the best dressed male competition. Despite his debonair tailoring, John isn't one to crave the spotlight and so was hesitant at first.
"I didn't want to participate but the ladies kept forcing me into it," John said.
While he knows his way around the racecourse, from the barriers to the bagmen, it was in the winner's circle of the fashion stakes that John found himself, much to his surprise.
Whether it be looking sharp at the track, or anywhere else for that matter, being well groomed is a matter of pride and a lifelong habit for John. It may be a throwback to a bygone era, but there is no mistaking - the man has style.
"Since I was a teenager I've always been conscious of how I dress and been aware of dressing correctly."
Unfortunately for John, his good luck on the catwalk didn't translate to the betting ring.
"I lost about $50 but my darling wife won about $120. I used to be pretty good when I owned horses but now, other than a day at the races and a lotto ticket, that's about it for me."
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