The Spring Racing Carnival has an age old association with refined and elegant fashion and is one of the very few occasions where you can really dress up, embrace headwear and flex your fashion muscle. The dress code is well known to have very specific guidelines and as such there are some very clear Dos and Don’ts that we suggest you consider when putting together your race day look.
Begin your outfit preparation and keep the words of Alex Perry top of mind, “If it’s an outfit you would wear out to a bar or club, then you’ve made a mistake”. Spring Racing is the time to embrace your inner feminine, more restrained fashionista, so think classic, think elegant and do opt for day wear appropriate pieces. Hems tend to come down a little while the necklines tend to lift at the races, so do adopt a slightly more conservative approach to your overall look.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in the Birdcage or any of the members’ areas, then you’ll definitely need to adhere to the VRC’s dress code, which for women stipulates things like no denim, no exposed midriff and no shorts. So stay on the safe side and go with dresses or skirts and tops with a comfortable pair of heels. Don’t forget your headwear too, as it’s not often you get the chance to embrace hats and headpieces, but keep them balanced and don’t be tempted to go overboard – bigger is definitely not always better.
We asked Face of Myer Jen Hawkins what she considers with her look when it comes to race day styling and she recommends keeping it classic and being true to yourself no matter what day you’re attending,
“Dress appropriately in an elegant and sophisticated way that is suited to the climate and pay attention to detail with accessories. Millinery is obviously a must and always consider current fashion trends, but make them your own and don’t let them wear you”
To make your outfit planning just that little bit easier, we’ve broken it down by race day.
AAMI Victoria Derby Day
The first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival sees the crowd come out in their black and white best. Derby Day, known as the day for racing purists, traditionally sees a monochromatic dress code, encouraging race goers to keep it simple and chic in either black or white or a combination of both. If the simple colour palette leaves you wanting more from your look, try experimenting with textures and fabrics to bring something special to your outfit. Take your cue from Jennifer Hawkins’ Maticevski leather dress of last year, which embraces leather as an unexpected texture in a beautiful fashion forward way while still remaining elegant and day wear appropriate.
Jennifer Hawkins wears Maticevski dress & Nerida Winter cocktail hat both available at selected stores | Lisa Tan pillbox | McQ Alexander McQueen clutch | Benefit They’re real liner | Design Studio Brooch | Urban Soul Pumps
Emirates Melbourne Cup Day
Held on the first Tuesday in November, Melbourne Cup day sees the entire nation stop to celebrate the great race. As such the day is full of festivities and celebration, so it only makes sense that the traditional dress for the day is vibrancy and bold colour. This is the day to get into some bright colour and prints for a fun festive vibe so don’t be shy. Last year Jennifer Hawkins wowed in a stunning one sleeved red dress by Yeojin Bae showing just the right amount of skin thanks to some beautifully intricate lace work detailing the sleeve and hemline of the dress.
When embracing bright colours for Cup Day, choose colours that work well with your skin tone and don’t be afraid to wear colour top to toe. If the idea of all over colour makes you nervous, then you can always go with a more neutral dress and add pops of colour through your accessories. Have fun with styling your hair but try to keep your makeup neutral and subtle to avoid looking overdone.
Crown Oaks Day
Known as Ladies Day, Oaks Day is all about fashion and style. Florals, pastels and a much softer palette tend to rule the day which sees the fashion fiercely challenge the track as the day’s main event. Go with pretty and feminine looks that amplify your fashion cred, but remember to keep it graceful and always glamorous – it is Ladies Day after all. Face of Myer Jennifer Hawkins was a dream in a pastel pink one shoulder dress last year, perfectly paired with silver and black accessories and a high octane silver headpiece, the perfect balance of classically beautiful and fashion forward.
This year, go for softer and more feminine silhouettes in this season’s favourite shades of sorbet, peach and fairy floss pink. Don’t rule out structured styles as these can be perfect if balanced with softer colours or prints.
We love a girly moment and Oaks Day is the perfect opportunity to have one, so keep your hair and makeup soft and channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, it’s all about being graceful!
Jennifer Hawkins wear Yeojin Bae dress & Nerida Winter headpiece both available at selected stores | Leona Edmiston heels | Peter Bettley cocktail hat | Olga Berg clutch | Carolyn Roberts pearl stud earrings
Emirates Stakes Day
Winding up the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the day that has become well known as Family Day. With a more jovial and garden party-like atmosphere, Stakes Day sees children accompany their parents for a fun filled day of horse racing and a slightly more relaxed fashion environment. For Stakes Day it’s all about easy, comfortable glamour so think shift dresses and fun twin sets. Any colour goes and prints are a particularly good option, just be sure to keep it fresh and fun. Let your hair down and get a bit playful with your makeup; we love a rich red lip and bright nail for the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Shop our full Spring Racing collection online here and if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne, don’t forget to come along to our Spring Racing Shopping night on Thursday 23rd October from 6pm until 9pm at our Sydney City and Melbourne City stores.