Out of all the race days during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Stakes Day is the most relaxed in terms of dress codes. It’s a family friendly event, with no formal dress code, so you can afford to go for something that’s slightly more casual. The only non-negotiable is that it you still look polished and elegant. It’s one of my favourite days as I’m also able to attend with Luke and the girls which always makes the day really fun.
I decided on a Dior maxi dress with earthy/navy tones for the event as I felt it worked perfectly with the attire this particular race day required. I loved the pattern on the dress and the flared 50s style skirt. The neckline featured a deep V-neck which gives the dress just a little edge. With such a voluminous shape, it was important that the dress have a little cinched in element so it didn’t look like it was swamping me, so I decided on a waist belt worn over the top. It gave me a flattering nipped in silhouette and helped give the dress a little more structure. Plus I love the shape of the belt, which features the iconic saddle bag shape of the brand.
Working with a mix of shades can make accessorising tricky but in the end I felt white would work best to complement the colour palette of the dress. I ended up going for a Dior wide brimmed straw hat, which looks relaxed but still polished and finished it with white Dior pointed toe heels with ankle straps. It was a way of doing accessories in a pared back way, but in a colour that would still allow it to pop against the dress. The ideal balance of making a statement without being overwhelming.
Credits: Dress, Christian Dior; Belt, Christian Dior; Shoes, Christian Dior; Hat
There are a few key days in the spring racing carnival calendar that will require you to dress in a certain way. It’s important to respect these dress codes and choose an outfit fitting of the day. One of the key things to remember is that whatever look you go for is that it maintain an element of polish. So leave overly casual things like denim and sneakers at home and instead enjoy this opportunity to get dressed up. Make sure that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing as a day at the races can be long so you don’t want to constantly be fidgeting or adjusting something or worse having to hobble along in uncomfortable heels for the rest of the day. It’s a big no-no to take your shoes off at the races so be sure to have broken them in beforehand and have put in additional padding to make walking or standing for long periods do-able. Overall take advantage of the fact you get to wear a great outfit and just enjoy the day!
Derby Day has a black and white dress code. You can either go for an all black or all white ensemble with accessories in either colour. Monochrome is a great colour palette to work with as it looks so chic and it’s relatively easy to pull pieces together given the colour scheme.
As far as spring racing carnival go, Melbourne Cup is the day to go bold. It’s all about colour so you can either go for a vibrant shade or print. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries a little and be sure to have fun with your look —this is the day for it.
Oaks Day is ladies day so the dress code is quite pretty and feminine. This is the time to embrace florals and soft pastels. Keep this theme going throughout your accessories and go for accoutrements that incorporate a slightly girly touch such as bold flowers or bows.
There’s no formal dress code for Stakes Day but it is family day so it’s the most casual and relaxed of all the key dates in the spring racing calendar. Whilst there’s no strict colour scheme or stipulations on what should be worn on the day it’s still important that whatever outfit you choose is polished and elegant.
Of all the days in the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Stakes Day is the most relaxed so I wanted to change things up a bit and veer away from dress territory. I couldn’t resist these pastel yellow pants and dramatic top by Jacquemus. The colour is fun and vibrant — perfect for a spring racing event. The top with its asymmetric silhouette and statement tie also adds a touch of drama to the look.
I was immediately sold when I saw these Ferragamo heels, most especially the gold column heel which adds a glamorous detail to such an understated design. In keeping with the trend for all things raffia, I opted for this Miu Miu clutch which has a light, summery feel and provided the perfect complementary accessory to the suit.
With such a strong outfit, I wanted to add some slightly softer pieces when it came to my jewellery. The pendant and bracelet from Chaumet features an adorable bow design, whilst the ring (which I also wore to Melbourne Cup) features a sweet floral design, all pieces that I think add a distinctly feminine, yet still understated feel to my look. To top off my look I went for a simple black straw hat by Nerida Winter—a sleek design that was the perfect finishing touch.
Unlike Derby Day and Melbourne Cup there is no formal dress code for Stakes Day so you have a little more creative freedom with what you wear. This particular day in the spring racing calendar is a family-friendly occasion so it is slightly more casual than the other days however the same rules still apply in that you need to look polished. Feel free to experiment with colours, prints and textures—this is your time to have a little fun.
Dresses and Jumpsuits
You can afford to be a little more relaxed with your outfit at Stakes Day but make sure that it still has an elegant look and feel. Look for fun details, colours that pop and interesting silhouettes.
There’s a neverending range of amazing shoes available at the moment so you’re spoilt for choice. Just make sure you factor in comfort as you’ll likely be on your feet a lot the entire day.
When it comes to your spring racing look your accessories should definitely be a key consideration – don’t relegate it to a last minute choice as you dash out the door! Each of the key days in the racing calendar will allow you to explore some great accessories options and as bags are always one of the first things I think about, I’ve teamed up with The Daily Edited to showcase the right bag and accessories to help you pull together a wining race day look.
The event: Derby Day
The monochrome dress code of Derby Day is generally really easy to follow when it comes to accessories because virtually every woman has a black clutch in her wardrobe. It’s like the LBD of the accessories world. If you want to opt for something different though a nice alternative is a cream bag.
As everyone will be wearing black and white it can become easy to get lost in the crowd so to stand out, attention to detail and beautiful craftsmanship with your accessories is important. One of the reasons I love the bags from The Daily Edited is because little touches like personalisation and being able to monogram your bag allows you to differentiate your accessories from the rest.
The thing with accessories is to make sure you’re comfortable and that you won’t constantly be fussing with them throughout the day. If you’re fine to put your clutch under your arm then great but otherwise opt for a shoulder strapso you can juggle champagne and a pen for writing down tips.
The event: Melbourne Cup
For Melbourne Cup Day you can afford to go a little more bold with your look. You can inject a little bit of colour in your outfit but I think that if you’re going to opt for a striking headpiece try and tone it down a bit with the rest of your accessories because you have to have one standout item. I’ve always liked rich burgundy or a classic navy for a bag that will look classic but still make a statement. Also don’t forget about texture. For example something like a faux ostrich fabricationmakes for a really nice and interesting alternative if you want to be a little more daring.
The event: Oaks Day
Traditionally known as ladies’ day, this particular event is all about super feminine dressing. Think floral prints and really soft, pretty hues. With your accessories, go for a soft approach. I think gorgeous pastels are a great option when it comes to choosing a shade of handbag to bring with you on the day. It’s classic with just a touch of girliness so it’s the perfect finishing touch to your outfit on the day.
The event: Stakes Day
Stakes Day is family day so don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with colour. Also instead of a clutch why not try something different and opt for ashoulder baginstead? It makes for an effortless look and when you go for a bag in an interesting shade such as grey, it’s one way to ensure that you set yourself apart from other racegoers. As for the rest of your look don’t be afraid to be quite playful in your other accessories and try a unique headpiece or bold jewellery.
For more Spring Racing looks check out my other blog post