What to Wear to the Spring Racing Carnival


What to wear to the races - Spring Racing Carnival, Melbourne Cup, Derby Day - on Inside Out Style Blog

With the  Spring Racing Carnival shortly to begin, I know that many are looking for outfits and guidance on what to wear.

What is and isn’t appropriate, and what you need to create a great racing outfit.

Is it Race-Wear?

Is it racewear?  Your guide on what to wear to the spring racing carnival


In Sydney the first race of the season was last week and in Melbourne it’s Saturday 12th September with the Sofitel Girl’s Day Out.

There are some considerations for proper race-wear.

1. It’s a formal daytime occasion, like a wedding, not a nightclub.  Be ladylike and don’t over expose your skin

2. Hats, headwear, fascinators are an important part of the dress-code.  Make sure you have something appropriate on your head.

3.  There are traditions for specific race days, have fun with them but respect the dress code of the day.

Antic Feathers Dress is a great option for Derby Day
Antic Dress from Feathers – Perfect for Derby Day

Turnbull Stakes Day – 4 October 2015

Celebrating spring fashion, colour is essential as well as a spring feel, so flowers are an appropriate motif!

Spring Racing Carnival floral inspiration


Derby Day – 31 October 2015

Black and White is traditional and always looks smart.

The traditional flower for the gents is the cornflower.

Antic Dress from Feathers - Perfect for Derby Day
Antic Dress from Feathers – Perfect for Derby Day

Melbourne Cup – 3 November 2015

Add colour to your outfit and make a bold statement.

The traditional flower for the gents is the yellow rose.

What to Wear to the Melbourne Cup

Oaks Day – 5 November 2015

Known as ladies day, ladylike is the key to remember!  Not too much skin.

The traditional flower for the gents is the pink rose.

Spring Racing Oaks Day Inspiration



Emirates Stakes Day – 7 November 2015

Family day is the last day in the Spring Racing calendar and is the most relaxed day where the fashions on the field is for the younger members of your party.

The official flower for the gents is the red rose.


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  • Imogen you are reading my mind, again! I have two dinners, Melbourne Cup lunch and a High Tea to attend in the coming months. The dresses you have shown here are elegant and appropriate for all these occasions. Can’t wait to go shopping. I know you like to make your own headwear. As I am artistically challenged, I’m hoping my daughter will take inspiration from some of these beauties. Hope you have a ball (and a BIG win).
    Cheers, Judy

  • Following on from, I Have an upcoming winter wedding in a country mansion house in the UK – what colour facinator would you recommend wearing with the following outfit.
    Blush knee length coat, lilac lacy dressy top and dressy dark plum trousers.
    Also is it better to go simple and wear black shoes and clutch – rather than purple?
    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • You can tone the fascinator with your outfit – and it could even be a combination of the colours. Not sure if black would be too harsh, maybe pewter or silver would be better.

    • The Races is the one last bastion of fashion in Australia I think! People rarely dress up for weddings let alone an evening out anymore. It’s a super fun time of year and I’m sure you’d knock them dead!

  • This sounds like so much fun! I would love a little video sometime about what these little traditions are about (or even HOW they cane about). Sadly, no traditions here to compare to unless you actually go to the Kentucky Derby (only for few enthusiasts).

  • Update – I decided to reuse an old fascinator, which is neutral beige with pink tones ( best colour for the coat and top colours) and bought a new clutch that was a mix of silver and dark purple, with some sequins on it. This links the colours nicely.
    Will be getting some plum coloured shoes to blend with the trousers, and donate my black facinator. I agree it is too harsh for my colouring. Thanks for the advice.

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