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Race Day Fashion

It's that time of year again when the weather warms up, daffodils bloom, and thoughts turn to the Spring racing carnivals. The race that stops the nation is only nine weeks away, so now is the perfect time to start planning your Melbourne Cup Day fashion.

Fashion on the Fields Being Interviewed

Image Attribution: By Chris Phutully from Australia (2013 Myer Fashions on the Field) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What to wear

The Spring Racing Carnival, and especially The Melbourne Cup, provides the perfect opportunity to show off your elegance and femininity, and your race day attire allows you to really showcase your creativity in Fashion on the Fields. The Melbourne Cup is a classy event with a strict dress code (no bare midriffs, no shorts or pants etc.), so keep your attire sophisticated by wearing an elegant dress and choosing which area to bare: balance a knee-length hemline with sleeves, and choose a longer hem if your top is low-cut. Remember, racing carnivals are daytime events so leave the nightclub wear in the wardrobe and opt for classy prints (florals are ideal for springtime!) and elegant styling. You'll be spending a lot of time on your feet so invest in quality shoes and wear them around the house regularly before the big day - you want them to be comfortable enough to glide in elegantly! And if you plan on 'stomping the divots' don't forget to purchase some slide-on heel blocks so you don't sink in the turf!

Note: removing your shoes because your feet hurt can be a big fashion no-no, so if high heels aren't usually your thing opt for kitten heels instead and gel inserts.

How to Accessorise

Your accessories are the finishing touch that can make or break your carefully planned race day attire. Get it right and you'll sparkle, get it wrong and you'll join the non-starters!

Bright and bold colours are perfect for Springtime, as are soft feminine pastels, but if neutral is your thing that's perfectly fine too!

The Fascinator:

A must-have accessory for any race day carnival is the fascinator. Millinery can be big and bold, bright and colourful, wild and wonderful, but if you really want to stand out (and the budget allows!) find a milliner who can make a personalised piece just for you. If you're partying off-course in the workplace or local hotel you can keep it just as fun and frisky with some very cute pieces available on the high street. If you're crafty you can even try making a unique piece for yourself! Just choose your starting base – straw boater, headband, hair clip etc. – and get creative with feathers, faux (or real!) flowers, gems, ribbons etc., or take a short cut and search Etsy for some great unique pieces.

Image Attribution: By Chris Phutully from Australia [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bags and Shoes:

Colour Theory Wheel

Your bags and shoes should work together, but they don't necessarily have to be the same colour. Shoes can match your millinery and bags your dress etc., or mix it up so long as they compliment each other. Stick to a similar colour palette with complementary tones, or use the colour wheel to add contrast (opposites attract!).

Make sure your shoes and purse don't clash with your headwear; bright red shoes may be fun and flashy, but if your fascinator is a forest green you could end up looking more folly than filly!

Clutch bags are cute but make sure you have plenty of room next to your lipstick for your winnings!


Gloves are not compulsory, but wrist length gloves are a very lady-like option if you choose to wear them.


Choose your jewellery wisely to work with your fascinator and other accessories.

If you've gone for real statement headwear keep your jewellery simple or the whole effect could be overpowering. Similarly, if you want to wear a bold and eye-catching necklace set consider keeping your headwear to a simple elegantly decorated headband or headpiece.

Check out the range available here at Alyssum Jewellery for a great range of race day earrings, clip-on earrings, necklace sets and hair accessories to style up your race day wear. Hair and Make-Up

Keep the make-up light enough to be suitable for daytime - you can always build up the smokey eyes and brighten the lipstick later if you're going on to an evening event. Keep your nails neat and not too long, and don't forget to make sure your toenails are painted if they're going to be on show! Hair is generally always worn up at trackside events. Sweeps and chignons are timelessly elegant, and a well-groomed ponytail is very on topic! If you're not confident doing your own hair and make-up and fancy your chances as a contender for fashions on the field, it might be worth booking an appointment with a hair and make-up artist to make sure your entire look works perfectly together.

Regardless of where or how you'll be enjoying your spring racing, have fun!

Next week: "Gemology: C is for ..." Continuing our guide to the gemstone world with gemstones beginning with C.


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