Autumn racing season is well and truly underway and if you’re on the hunt for the ideal outfit you’ve come to the right place as I’ve rounded up some of my top picks to have you standing out from the crowd. What I love about dressing for autumn carnival is that it’s all about rich colours such as burgundy and classic black – there’s a certain luxe elegance about the fashion that ups the style stakes. If you’re in the mood for prints you could opt for florals or a graphic monochrome print that will allow you to make your mark trackside. When it comes to accessories leave your straw hats at home and instead go for a beautiful wide brimmed felt hat or a fascinator in deeper, bolder colours or gold headwear that will bring a touch of glamour to any look.
Over the years I’ve worn so many great pieces from milliner extraordinaire Nerida Winter to the races. You can always rely on one of her pieces to make a statement trackside. As spring racing season ramps up and Melbourne Cup is just around the corner I asked Nerida for some insider tips on top racewear trends to look out for plus how to pull together a perfect outfit.
How did you establish such a successful name as a milliner?
A lot of continuous hard work and dedication – I think family upbringing has a lot to do with it too – I grew up with a creative father who taught me to think outside the square and that a spade was not necessarily a spade, it could be anything I wanted it to be. My mum and grandmother were always teaching me some form of arts and crafts, so it was a very colourful house!
What is the most important style advice you have ever received?
Follow your own look and not others .
Who inspires you?
Vivienne Westwood has inspired me for decades – I adore her fearlessness and her punk-like qualities.
What trends will we see for the racing season this year?
There is something for everyone this season. I love the idea of mixing in some 70s glam and the 80s’ strong structural dresses could be a lot of fun to wear [to the races]. The modern take on tailoring is understated and elegant and I think the Victorian style dresses are incredible and I can’t wait to see how girls interpret those for the track.
What colours, textures and styles will we see for headwear this year?
My favourites are the pleats, lace, ruffles, florals – femme heaven! I’m also loving all the pinks, reds and there is still a bit of sparkle about. Monochrome looks are Derby Day essentials – from sculptural wide brimmed shapes to smaller florals.
What are your tips for putting together the perfect racing outfit?
Investing in good craftsmanship and quality of design will allow you to wear the pieces more than once. The power of tailoring is often underestimated.
What dressing mistakes should women avoid?
Don’t let your headwear be an afterthought – it’s the piece that makes the day so special.
When dressing for the races, be careful not to overdo it – I like to focus on one piece, whether that is the hat, the dress, shoe or bag and build the outfit around that. Too many times you see the accessories competing with the outfit and it can look really forced and costume like.
It’s a long day on your feet, so wearing your shoes in a little first is wise (I learnt the hard way).
Do you have an all time favourite head piece?
Absolutely – I have had a lifetime love of all things punk rock, so my feathered mohawks have been a staple in my wardrobe.
I have almost lost count of the number of gorgeous pieces I’ve worn by Nerida Winter. She’s one of my go-to milliners as she’s genius at being able to work current fashion trends into race day headwear. With Melbourne Cup day fast approaching, I asked Nerida to share some of her dos and don’ts for race day along with some of the big trends to look out for.
The top trends
“Coco Chanel’s fave hat is having a moment this season. Boaters are easy to wear, look effortless and are as fabulous on the street as they are at the track.”
“From feathered edgy crowns to French lace versions, we have made the ultimate princess accessory track-worthy.”
“Feminine 70s floral garlands and halos will give your frock a new mood.”
The key colours
“Monochrome is huge and perfect for Derby Day elegance. A multitude of pinks and reds are Cup day essentials and metallics, nudes and blush pinks are Hollywood heroine-worthy and Oaks Day appropriate.”
Nerida’s dos and don’ts
- When it comes to headwear always invest in the best quality/craftsmanship you can. If you want longevity and versatility you can’t go wrong with something in black.
- It’s important to always choose a shape you feel good in regardless of fads. This season our onyx Nadia boater will have you looking amazing for many race days to come.
- As far as spring racing no-nos go fascinators are dead – especially the DIY type . Overworked styles with too many tricks will make you look very dated, as will a matchy-matchy approach.
- Embrace headwear and try more styles outside of your comfort zone. Your accessories should never be an afterthought as they are the key to setting you apart from the crowd.
Shop Nerida’s latest looks:
Autumn racing is here and if you’re still looking for headwear to really make your outfit pop then look no further. From classic styles to whimsical pieces, here are some of my favourite headpieces this season that are sure to make your raceday outfit a winning look…