Eight style lessons learned at the 2019 Portsea Polo

The Portsea Polo is the first headline-grabbing social event of the year, where thousands of Bright Young Things descend on the well-heeled Victorian seaside town for a day of serious peacocking.

There are three matches of polo played on the parched pitch, but the phrase "didn't see a horse all day" is even more applicable here than at the similarly schmoozy spring carnival. At Portsea, the game of kings ticks along quietly beside a series of sleek marquees packed with influencers and their followers.

The main draw is really the Hamptons-inspired "summer casual" dress code, and the copious amount of refreshments on tap. No marquee was better-equipped than the enclosure for lead sponsor Stella Artois. A tightly-enforced door list resulted in an exclusive garden party of impeccably turned-out guests knocking back glasses of the signature Belgian beer as well as prosecco, espresso martinis, margaritas and summer spritz.

Star power

Celebrity sightings included Victoria's Secret supermodel Georgia Fowler, who sizzled against the media wall in an icy blue Versace dress and floppy hat, and Australia's most-wanted invitee Julie Bishop, who posed for a series of selfies with punters with a smile as fixed as her perfect white frock.

Other names of note mixing it up at Stella included top blokes Andy Lee, Mick Molloy and Eddie McGuire, handsome roosters Zac and Jordan Stenmark, star chef Andrew McConnell and soap star made good Luke Bracey.

The dress code was wide open to interpretation, with some rocking full suits and ties beside dudes rolling in actual polo tees and runners, or virtual pyjama sets of matching shorts and shirts. Nonetheless, there were some strong sartorial themes shining through at the Stella marquee and beyond.

These are the defining looks of the 2019 summer season as seen at the Portsea Polo.

Linen

The natural fibre was simply everywhere, from crisp shirts to unstructured jackets. Whether it was a $49 Uniqlo special or a runway investment piece costing more than a small car, the breathable fabric ruled the roost for relaxed sophistication.

Shorts

This year's perfect polo weather demanded that gym-toned and tanned calves were shown off properly. Sharply tailored shorts were the way to do it: turned up a few inches above the knee, not too baggy, with a belt, please.

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Loafers

Italian-style loafers were on every other foot, preferably in soft leather, with a tassel or a metal flourish, or ubiquitous Tod's spikes running up the heel. If not loafers, low-rise leather sneakers were in like Flynn, preferably from Common Projects or Saint Laurent.

No socks

Whatever the shoe, the socks were most definitely kept at home as ankles appeared far and wide.

Soft colours

Everything was all white, particularly for the ladies – national fashion editor Melissa Singer – and literary hundreds of plain-white-shirts appeared across the field. Dusty pink was the standout shade seen on many – many – shirts and shorts, as well as plenty of nautical navy and pale blue. Patterns also made a mark, with stripes, spots and subtle florals in the mix.

Accessories

Sunglasses were most definitely ON, you were a chump if you forgot them. It was a brave lad who donned a hat, there weren't many to be seen in the throng but for a few well-chosen summer straws. Pocket squares were still standard issue on the flotilla of tailored jackets.

Relaxed suiting

More upwardly-mobile men opted for relaxed-fit suits in breathable fabrics (see above: linen), fresh colours (see above: white), cropped or rolled at the ankle to reveal smart leather loafers (see above: loafers).

Open necks

Ties were put through the shredder (except for the occasional bow tie), with contrasting shirts left wide open to show off as much chest as one would dare.

Click through the gallery above to see the top menswear moments from the 2019 Portsea Polo.

The writer travelled to Portsea as a guest of Stella Artois.