The Melbourne Cup Carnival is home to four individual days of high quality racing, beginning with Derby Day on the Saturday prior to the Melbourne Cup and concluding with Stakes Day one week later. And while the on-track action is the focus of punters, there are just as many people paying more attention to what’s happening off it – namely the fashion. Here are our fashion tips for each day of the action throughout this carnival.
The first day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Derby Day kicks things off with a more modest dress code. The colours which dominate plenty of other days throughout the Spring Racing Carnival are notably absent here, with black and white the pairing of the day for a large number of attendees. The men will often branch out into a grey suit and vest, but that’s about as far into the colour spectrum as most will branch out.
Melbourne Cup Day
The biggest day of the year in a racing sense, this is the day where the best horses in the country get a chance to make a statement, and so too do the people watching on. In literal contrast to what you’ll see at Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day sees attendees inject plenty of colour and confidence into their outfits. Bright colours, big heels, bold ties – these are all in vogue at Melbourne Cup Day. If you’ve got something special sitting away at the back of the cupboard that you were waiting for a big occasion to show off, this is your chance.
VRC Oaks Day
Oaks Day is colloquially known as Ladies’ Day, and as a result most of the fashion advice for the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s Thursday event is reserved for the fairer sex. The fashion on this day is all about embracing one’s femininity, and figure-hugging dresses, floral prints and delicate accessories are the name of the game. Fascinators also play a big role on Oaks Day, offering up a great way to complement your outfit in a way that you wouldn’t normally be able to. For the men, of which there are still a few – after all, it is sometimes jokingly referred to as Blokes’ Day – navy and lighter shades of grey are the go-to colours for your suit.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival officially winds to a close with Stakes Day, the most relaxed day of the carnival and one which is historically referred to as Families Day. This is where the kids get to show off their fashion wares, while for the adults it’s a day to take a step back and opt for something a little more relaxed. Of course, it is still the races and a significant degree of formality is required, but a look through the crowd on this day will reveal a much more low-key fashion code than on days like the Melbourne Cup.
Stretching over one week, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the pinnacle of racing in Australia, and it’s a suitably significant week for fashion too. Every day has a slightly different dress code, and with these Melbourne Cup Carnival fashion tips, hopefully you’ll be a little bit better-placed to navigate the minefield that dressing for the races can be.