Did you know the first Melbourne Cup took place in 1861? Even then, it was all 👏 about 👏 the 👏 fashion. Women wore frothy, full-skirted gowns made from layers upon layers of velvet and lace; their wide-brimmed hats adorned with feathers and lace. Just like today, it was a Very Important Event on the social calendar.
The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is about to kick off, with major race days taking place across October and November. And while we love nothing more than getting all dolled up for an event, we think it’s important to buy pieces that we can wear long after the last race is called. It makes our purses happy, and our planet happy, too.
Here’s a few of those looks to get you started.
Dress code: Colour, colour and more colour.
It’s the crown jewel of the Spring Racing Carnival, and should be treated as such. Don your brightest and boldest pieces and when it comes to headwear, don’t even think about holding back.
An easy, foolproof option for Cup Day is a coloured or printed dress (or better yet, a coloured AND printed dress). Dress it up with statement accessories for the races, then dress it down with a denim jacket for brunch dates or errands.
Look 1: Print Shirt Dress, Taylor Heel, Beaded Bag, Quilted Belt, Isla Sunglasses, all from Country Road.
Look 2: Print Shirt Dress, Casual Denim Jacket, Holly Espadrille, Rattan Buckle Belt, Elena Sunglasses, all from Country Road.
Dress code: Black and white. No exceptions.
We mean it! Like all race days, Derby Day’s dress code is strict. The only difference with Derby Day? It’ll be really noticeable if you’re the only one wearing a bright red dress is a sea of black and white.
Think about the pieces you love to wear in your everyday life. Maybe it’s a beautiful pair of high-waisted trousers or a sharp statement blazer? Go for this shape in a monochromatic shade or print that you can style up Derby Day — and then slip into your work or weekend wardrobe.
Look 1: Spot Blouse, Culotte Pants, Clear Heel, Croc Crossbody Bag, Straw Hat, Cat Eye Sunglasses, Sunglasses Chain, all from Sheike.
Look 2: Spot Blouse, Linen Shorts, Beaded Bag, all from Sheike. Bryce Sunglasses from Oscar Wylee.
Dress code: Feminine — think florals and lace.
Also known as Ladies Day, Oaks Day calls for all things, well, ladylike. Swap the mini hemlines and shoestring straps for modest shapes, floral prints, feminine textures and a lighter colour palette.
Being spring, the shops are full of these pretty, pastel pieces. Look for a two-piece set that you can wear separately after race day, or buy a chic jumpsuit that you can layer up with wardrobe basics for a more casual vibe.
Look 1: Celeste Printed Linen Jumpsuit, Thea Stiletto Heel, Giovanna Straw Bag, Grace Straw Boater Hat, all from Forever New.
Look 2: Celeste Printed Linen Jumpsuit, Riley Basic Tee, Thea Stiletto Heel, Laura Crossbody Bag, all from Forever New.
The metallic party stiletto
Nothing says party like a pair of gold stilettos. We love that these ones make a classic heel a bit more on-trend, thanks to the perspex. Plus, they’re perfect for every race day!
Shoe: Tony Bianco Kosta Heel.
The coloured strappy block heel
On-trend style, tick. Bright colour, tick. Low height, tick. Block heel that doesn’t get stuck in the grass every five minutes, tick tick tick!
Shoe: Tony Bianco Ruby Kid Heel.
The animal printed mule
Repeat offending with an LBD from your wardrobe or buying a simple black or white piece with the intention of wearing it again? Try styling it up with a statement shoe.
Shoe: Tony Bianco Marley Cow Heel.