THE place to be on the first Tuesday in November is, of course, Flemington.
But if flights to Melbourne and tickets to a corporate enclosure are out of the question, expect to find plenty of colour at functions all across Australia.
Local race courses draw huge crowds, plus lunches at top restaurants are always heavily booked, which only means one thing – time to frock up!
Dressing for the races is steeped in tradition and, sure, some of the traditions have been blurred over the years, but it’s still about class – and achieving a totally coordinated look from head to toe.
We’re not talking the stuffy type of class here. We’re talking about elegance. We’re talking about dressing at a level somewhere between that for a wedding and a cocktail party.
Tips for a winning look:
■ Start with the dress. The spring racing carnival is all about the colour and warmth of the season and your dress should reflect that. Choose one that could be used as an outfit for the Christmas party season. If you are lucky to be heading to Melbourne, plan to incorporate a coordinating jacket or shrug into your outfit, as the weather is as hard to predict as a Cup Day winning horse.
■ Get to know a milliner. Complementing headwear is essential to a race day outfit. Yes, the boutiques and chain stores are geared up to offer these in store but for something spectacular, take your dress to a milliner and have a hat or fascinator created especially for your personality and your outfit.
■ Pay attention to accessories. Shoes and bags don’t have to exactly match as in 1950s style but they should coordinate together. As this is a spring race day, open toed shoes are acceptable.
■ Hair should be styled to work in with your chosen headwear and if you are wearing open-toed shoes, a pedicure is in order.