online outfit of the week spring racing fashion

Spring racing fashion: the dos and don’ts

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 33 Comments

The spring racing fashion season has officially started.

This may not mean much to you until the first Tuesday in November … unless you live in Melbourne or, like me, have a spring racing themed charity event to attend next week.

This “small” affair for 595 people is an annual event that I help out organising. This year we’re hoping to raise $118,000 to enable the purchase of an prostate biopsy ultrasound for this region’s major public hospital. And Sunrise’s Natalie Barr and Mark Beretta are flying in to help us do just that.

Which is a pretty damn good reason for me to put some time and thought into what I might wear, don’t you think?

I don’t get to the races as much as I used to. In my former life I had the fun job of judging sweet young fillies in Fashions on the Field competitions at the local race track a few times a year.

Let’s just say that there was always a “mixed” field from which to judge. And by “mixed” I mean everything from “oh my I so would love to wear that whole outfit”, to “don’t you think you should lay off the champers until after you have to navigate your way onto and off the stage in the long top short dress”. We may or may not have coined the phrase Tramps at the Track to describe the latter category of entrant.

Should you be planning to be anywhere near a track – or spring racing event – in the next couple of months, don’t leave home without these outfit tips.

My spring racing fashion 10-point checklist:

1. Start with your frock. Apart from Derby Day when it’s tradition to wear black and white, there’s no excuse not to embrace colour when heading for the track this season.

2. Be adventurous in your accessorising. A winning racewear outfit is all about the details.

3. Don’t make your hat an after-thought. Make it a key part of your outfit.

4. Make sure it all works together. Not in a matchy-matchy 1950s way, more in a complementary way.

5. Do choose an outfit that reflects in some way a current trend but don’t be a slave to that trend.

6. If heading trackside in Melbourne, plan an option for your outfit that accommodates a possible cold and wet day. A flimsy summer frock accessorised by goosebumps and frozen nipples does not a stylish look make.

7. Don’t let your outfit down by slack grooming. Hair, a mani, pedi and possibly a light spray tan (depending on your outfit) make all the difference.

8. Please don’t walk out the gates at the end of the day barefoot with your shoes in your hand. Choose shoes you can go the distance in or take fold-up flats to change into. This is where an oversized clutch comes in very handy.

9. Sun+champagne+no sunscreen will result in a nasty combination of sunstroke+hangover+sunburn. Work on a prevention strategy to minimise all three.

10. Please do not attempt to navigate a slip and slide in your strapless dress. Just because your friends have set one up in the carpark does not mean it’s a good idea. This is not a fictitious scenario – post-Derby Day three years ago a poor lass who thought this would be a fun wet race-day activity ended up with her a photo of her escaped bosies on major news sites. Bet her mum was super proud.

Outfit of the week:

online outfit of the week spring racing fashion

1. Antoine & Stanley Lemon Tree ring $19.95 @ The Iconic | 2. Morgan & Taylor headband $74.95 @ Style Tread | 3. George Suma dress $196 @ Eve Boutique | 4. Mimco envelope clutch $229 | 5. Sportsgirl necklace $29.95 | 6. Billini Rique heels $69.95 @ The Iconic

I’ll be back after my spring racing event next week to share with you the outfit I’ve put together. It’s still a work in progress but expect to see some clashtastic bright colours.

Oh, and I had to share this outfit with you because I just love it. It’s of Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador Alison Saville at the Flemington Spring Fashion Lunch last week. Perfection.

Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador Alison Saville. Photo: SDPMEDIA

Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador Alison Saville. Photo: SDPMEDIA

Will you be heading to the races sometime this spring? Or frocking up for a race-themed event? What’s the worst sight you’ve ever seen at the end of a race day?

Comments 33

  1. Hi nikki,
    I’m wearing a navy blue dress with rose gold heels, and rose gold clutch. I had ordered a rose gold coloured fascinator to go with my outfit, but unfortunately they can no longer make it.
    I’ve had to go with a back up plan, and have chosen a navy blue fascinator. I have anxious doubts that it will look over done and i need a reassuring opinion!?

  2. I’m going to derby day this year and am wearing a white dress with small peplum on the sides. The weather is not looking great but I’m having a really hard time finding a jacket/cover up that will go well with the dress. Any suggestions?

  3. Hi Nikky
    I’m going to Melb Cup & want to wear a black & white classic style dress. I’d like to brighten it up by introducing a colour. Can you please give me some suggestions. Was thinking a bright yellow? Have black shoes, so colour needs to be introduced elsewhere. Hope you can help. Thanks

  4. Hi Nikky
    I’m off to the Melbourne cup and I have a canary yellow peplum dress , I thought I would go with a black and white fascinator and clutch , I’ve been thinking off going with a Fushia shoe , what do you think ??
    Thanks Lisa

  5. Hi Nikki
    I’m heading to derby day, I have my dress sorted, but I am wondering if shoes and jewellery are strictly black and white too?

  6. Do shoes and bag have to match this season? I’m thinking different colours for them and then bringing them both together in my head piece…

  7. Brocade making a come back? I had a jacket my mum made in cream brocade I teamed with an emerald green skirt back in 1991 for my friends wedding. I added a brooche to the outfit back then.

    My question would be as a small petite lady (5″) what kind of headwear would you recommend? I have fine hair and would lean more towards a headband. Is this the way to go?

    1. Yes, lace of all kind is big! I think if you’re petite then keep your headwear on the smaller size – doen’t have to be on a headband although that can sometimes be more comfortable – a small hat like the one I’m wearing in today’s post would also work.

  8. Nikki you always seem to time your posts perfectly for just when I need them!! I’m planning a races outfit and am stuck – does my shoes have to ‘match’ my fascinator? I’m wearing a cobalt blue dress and coral fascinator but having trouble wearing shoes. Do I have to wear coral because my fascinator is?

      1. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear Nikki! Nude is what I was thinking so that will be perfect. THANK YOU!! Can’t wait to see what you wear for your function and good luck with raising the funds for such a worthy cause 🙂

  9. Thanks Nikki for style help I have just been invited to Melbourne Cup through work and not sure where to start but you have given me some much needed great pointers!!

  10. I can’t wait to see your outfit you have put together Nikki,i am sure it will be stylish and chic,you do do dressing up very well,No I don’t attend the races because I can’t stand around in heels and look classy with my leg so I just don’t go.I see a lot of beautifully dressed people on racing days and also the other ones,There is nothing worse than a poor little lamb drunk and freezing with no shoes on and hardly any clothes on,there is nothing classy about this look,I hope you raise the money that you need for the hospital,that’s a great reason for having an event like that!!

  11. Haha! Your slip and slide story takes the cake! The worst thing I recall seeing at our local races is men answering the call of nature nowhere near the portaloos. So classy. We have summer harness racing here in the New Year which is somewhat more casual than what you’ve described (apart from Fashion in the Field). Would love to hear sometime your tips for summer wedding dressing for all weathers please xx

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