Spring racing is upon us! A day to soak up the beautiful spring weather, sip on champagne and put your best frock (and suit) forward, it’s time to start planning what you’re going to wear. Race day wear isn’t your typical dress code. It’s elegant, distinguished and an opportunity to make a stylish statement. Just don’t forget to play by the dress code rules!
The first big race day for the season, Derby Day is smart and sophisticated. The strict dress code is black and white. “I love combining both black and white together as it gives a more spring vibe,” says Canberra stylist Fiona Keary. While a dress will always be a top choice, Fiona notes a skirt and jacket combination is also set to be popular this season. “When embracing the monochromatic, adding texture is what adds interest to your outfit. Key trends include lace, woven agave, embellishments, patent, ruffles, flutter sleeves and embroidery,” shares Fiona. For your headpiece, make a statement with something ornate.
When: Saturday November 3, 2018
For the race that stops the nation, you need an outfit that will also stop onlookers in their tracks. Think bold statement designs that feel haute couture. Colour is key, and a palette of vibrant hues win out over dark, moody shades and pretty pastels. “Make maximum impact with colour blocking. Don't be afraid to mix unexpected colour combinations either,” says Canberra stylist Janette Wojtaszak. When it comes to the dress, Janette says, “Statement silhouettes like body-hugging dresses in classic styles with an edge (such as oversized ruffles) will be everywhere this Melbourne Cup”.
When: Tuesday November 6, 2018
Known as ‘Ladies Day’, this dress code is all about beautiful feminine shapes, says Fiona. “The focus this season is on lace and sheer details, gorgeous powder pastels, elegant floral prints and shimmery embellishments.” The dress length du jour is a midi (mid-calf) and the colour of the moment is millenial pink paired with metallics for a delicate monotone look. Find a fascinator that matches your softer look, suck as a headband or dainty hair clip.
When: Thursday November 8, 2018
With a more relaxed dress code, let you style relax, too. ‘Family Day’ is a time to be playful and fresh. Janette’s top pick is botanical-printed dresses that are structured up top, but hero a flowing skirt. “Nude and pastel accessories are key to finishing off you outfit for Stakes Day,” adds Janette. Opt for a simple headpiece design – but note, simple doesn’t mean understated. Boater hats are back in a big way this spring racing season.
When: Saturday November 10, 2018
So long as you’re in a suit, you will look the part. What you do from there is where the fun really begins. For a classic look (that doesn’t look boardroom-ready), opt for a patterned shirt with a tie in a complementary colour but contrasting print, such as checkered with florals or stripes with paisley. Keep your accessories simple in sophisticated brown leathers, and don’t forget a rich, woody cologne to match your surroundings.
On race days like Melbourne Cup where pushing the fashion boundaries is encouraged, don’t hold back. The suit is essential, but a plain fabric is not. Checkers always look at home trackside, yet still manage to make you stand out from the crowd. Ties should be colourful and creative, and pocket squares elevate your look instantly.
Main image: Forever New