So you and your girlfriends are heading out to the races for a day out. So how do you get the most out of your day? What should you wear? Here is your essential fashion guide to getting the most out of your day.
What to wear
Dressing for the races is unlike dressing for any other event. It's a time to unleash your inner princess if you want to look your best among the fashionistas on course. Here are a couple of simple rules you should follow.
1. Dress for daytime
Ladies, if you would wear it to a nightclub, chances are it's not suitable for the race course.
Think well-cut dresses that fall to the knee or just below along with contemporary takes on the classic suit. Many designers are incorporating modern touches in their suiting now, such as ribbons instead of buttons on the jacket and frayed edges rather than a straight seam. Try Trelise Cooper or Table Eight if you are looking for inspiration. Both David Jones and Myer also stock a selection of contemporary race wear from major designers.
The best way to go when choosing a dress is with a style that suits you rather than something trendy. Nothing says fashion victim quite like a lady wearing something trendy that isn't right for her figure.
If you are wearing a dress, remember to take a jacket, shawl, bolero, cardigan or something else to cover up with if the weather turns cool. Chances are you'll be outside for most of the day and you don't want to be caught shivering in your dress if the wind picks up or it rains.
2. Dress for the season
In terms of colour, Spring is the time to embrace bright tones and prints (although traditional black and white is always in fashion no matter what the season). In Autumn colour is more subdued - think chocolate browns and neutrals.
Shoes are another area to consider when thinking about seasonal dressing - sandals in Spring and Summer and pumps or other close toed shoes with stockings in Autumn and Winter.
Suits are more prevalent (and practical) in the cooler months, while a flirty dress is the way to go at the warmer times of year.
3. No bare heads
Full stop. If you are going out to the races you must must must wear a head piece of some kind. There is an amazing choice of hats, fascinators and other headwear available now. Everyone from Target to top milliners stocks a wide variety of head pieces to choose from so there is no excuse for not picking one up before your day out.
If you are not keen on wearing a hat, or lack confidence in wearing a head piece, a simple fascinator with feathers can look amazing with the right outfit. Try a neat pony tail with a fascinator tucked in just above your hair tie until your confidence builds.
In general, you should select your outfit first and take it with you when trying to match a head piece to it.
And remember, if you can't find a hat or fascinator to match your outfit, you can always make it yourself using pieces available from Spotlight and Lincraft.
4. Match it up
It may sound old fashioned, but one of the most effective ways to look really well turned out at the races is to match your head piece with your bag and shoes.
Shoulder bags are a must as well, as it is difficult to look the part with your race book and binoculars if you need to hold on to your purse all day.
5. Pack the essentials
Your handbag should contain:
- no more money than you can afford to lose on the day (but enough so that you can enjoy a bet or two)
- lip gloss / lip stick
- wallet, keys etc
- phone (handy if you are separated from your friends)
- band aids (in case of a blister emergency)
- a small tube of siunscreen (sunburn ruins any look)
- a small umbrella if you can fit it in (especially if you are out in Melbourne)
- details of how you are going to get home - bus or train timetables or cab phone numbers
6. Shoes can be a killer
Wear the wrong pair of shoes to the races and I guarantee you will regret it for the rest of the week as you will be on your feet for several hours throughout the day. That doesn't mean that you can't wear heels - in fact heels are almost de rigeur at the races. It just means be sensible about your shoe selection.
Select a pair that you have already broken in, and that preferably have a slightly thicker heel. Sinking into the grass in your stilletos is not a glamorous way to spend the day, and it makes it very difficult to get around if you have to avoid all the grassed areas. Exiting the course at day's end carrying your shoes because your feet are too sore to wear them is another faux pas to be avoided.
Those in the know often take a second pair of heels with them and change halfway through the day to save their feet. If you have a bag large enough to do this, I highly recommend it!