raceware.shop – As Spring Racing 2023 approaches, the worlds of horse racing and fashion are set to collide in the most glamorous way. As anticipation builds, it’s not just about which horse will take the lead, but the statements we make wearing our season’s best.
As the winter weather winds down (very slowly), you need to start planning your gear for the spring racing season. Celebrated by Aussies everywhere, some of the most fun we can have with our fashion comes around this time of year. It’s time to dress boldly yet comfortably while maintaining class and class.
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From understanding the nuanced dress codes of racing events, to finding and perfecting your unique style, to giving you the lowdown on this year’s runway trends, we aim to keep you one step ahead.
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Whether you’re a seasoned punter or this year is your first start, reading this ultimate guide to Spring Racing style is sure to pay dividends.
The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the dress code, which applies to spring racing events in general, but also to specific race days.
Spring racing is a huge part of Australian culture, with the first Melbourne Cup held more than 100 years ago. It’s no surprise then that the track is steeped in tradition.
There are a number of rules that must be followed, although many have been relaxed over the years. There are definitely a few that we recommend you stick with.
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If you have been invited to one of the spring racing events and everything is a bit unfamiliar to you, try to find out if you will be placed in a certain section. If you are in the members area, you should try to follow the rules a little more strictly than if you are in the general access area. You may be banned from the members area if you stray too far from the rules!
Most contestants will wear a dress, although some may opt for a trouser suit, which is perfectly acceptable. When it comes to dress, some specific rules apply. These days are not strictly enforced, but you should follow them if you want to honor the tradition or if you plan to enter the members’ area.
The length of the dress should not exceed the knee. This is not the mine shake setup. Any length from knee to ankle is perfect for the runway.
Strapless dresses are traditionally not good, and if you choose a strappy dress, it should be on the thick side.
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Overall, when it comes to choosing a dress, just keep it classy! Don’t show too much skin (none in the stomach area) and dress as it is – a daytime event! Wear a day dress, not an evening dress.
You are expected to wear some kind of hat when participating in the races. This can be a head/crown, fascinator or hat. It’s definitely not a hard and fast rule, but it’s synonymous with spring racing fashion, and that’s one of the reasons it’s so much fun.
Most people won’t get many opportunities to wear a hat or fascinator throughout the year. Competitions are your chance! Go all out and complete your outfit with a chic hairstyle.
In addition to the rules and guidelines above, there may be a specific theme or dress code for specific race days. The most important ones are discussed below.
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Competitors in Everest, dubbed the “richest grass race in the world”, are encouraged to wear white with light blue, in keeping with tradition. It’s not really something to follow – you won’t look out of place in other colors.
There is no official theme for the Caulfield Cup day, so you can wear anything as long as you stick to the general spring racing rules. More recently, however, the trend has been toward bold colors, strong statement pieces, and color blocking. It’s really a chance to use your imagination and make a statement, without too many guidelines to follow like some other race days.
Derby Day participants will wear black and white only. You can be head to toe in one or the other, but it’s even better if you can mix in a little bit of each. The code applies to all parts of your outfit, including shoes and bag.
This is your chance to really give it your all. As a race that stops the nation, you want your outfit to be a show. Bright colors are popular, as are sparkles and large fascinators. This is a day you definitely want to wear a hat. It’s not just Flemington, but all major Melbourne Cup events held across the country!
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Traditionally known as Ladies’ Day, Oaks Day asks you to reveal your feminine side. This day is filled with pink and pastel tones, flowers, prints, lace and exquisite headpieces. It’s chic rather than over the top.
Also known as ‘Family Day’, Stakes Day is more relaxed compared to other race days of the season (but not too relaxed!). Keep it simple with a summer dress, something flowy and fun, with a simple hat.
With so many options, how do you choose? Where do you even start? Style icon Nadia Fairfax-Wayne recommends starting with the basics – your dress or pantsuit – and building up from there with your hats, accessories, shoes and jewellery.
A good way to start is to know what suits your body type. Certain silhouettes are instantly more flattering and comfortable if they fit your figure. Check out our guide to dressing for your body type.
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Obviously we’re biased, but even The Australian Turf Club recommends renting your spring race dress. Our Spring Racing category has almost 1400 styles in it. From there, you can filter by color, feature, and size to narrow down your choices.
Check out some of your favorite influencers or fashion magazines. What are the hottest looks right now and what are you most drawn to? Make a quick list of celebrities or local influencers whose style you admire to see if they have anything in common. This can help you determine which trends appeal to you the most.
Remember, though, that it’s easy to feel drawn to a style that may not suit you or be comfortable. Think about what you’ve worn in the past and make note of the dress silhouettes you keep coming back to.
Another source of inspiration is the numerous “best dressed” lists from past Spring Racing carnivals, on sites like Marie Claire. Google is your friend here!
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A day at the races can be quite long and you may even want to start it sometime after. The walk to the track can be long, and even once you’re inside, you can move around a lot. Make sure you pick something you like!
The weather on days like Melbourne Cup Day can be really unpredictable. It’s definitely been a wild and rainy few years. You’ll probably have your outfit lined up some time beforehand, but don’t forget to have some ideas up your sleeve to suit the weather of the day. Consider getting a shawl or scarf to match your outfit – which can either keep the sun off your shoulders or keep you warm on a cooler day or night.
Shoe choice is extremely important, so you may want to invest in a good quality pair of shoes if you don’t have any. Accessories like Stiletto Stoppers can be a lifesaver, especially if the terrain gets a little soft and muddy.
With fashion being such an important part of racing culture in Australia, it can be easy to feel the pressure to wear an outfit that will earn you hundreds of compliments. Don’t let that get to you. Pick something that reflects your personality and sense of style.
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A day at the races is certainly a chance to dress differently than almost any other event, but you should still feel happy and comfortable in it. If you’re not into gingerbread and flamboyant, choose something more discreet and classic.
Complete your outfit with matching hats, accessories and jewelry. A hat, fascinator, headpiece or crown can be one of the most important parts of your outfit. You want something unique and interesting to complement your dress without taking away from it! Think about how you will wear your hair so that the decoration matches your hairstyle.
Keep in mind that with tens of thousands of players present, there will almost certainly be other women wearing the same dress as you (unless it’s sewn). This is totally expected, but what will make you unique is how you style and accessorize!
This year, we’re relying on the fashion prowess of the esteemed Donny Galella for his predictions on upcoming Spring Racing fashion trends. His top picks are below, but for the full scoop, check out our exclusive with Dhoni:
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We also spoke to a few of our trusted tenants
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