Spring Racing is well and truly in full swing and with the countdown to the Carnival just days away, it could only mean one thing: the four biggest race events on the calendar. Starting off with Derby Day, the famous Melbourne Cup and followed by Oaks and Stakes Day, it may come a surprise to some that not all race days are made equal.
With each event holding its own set of rules, it pays to be informed on what to wear. With the break-out rules to Spring Racing style already set in motion, we suggest taking note on the classics for a fail-safe race day kit. We’ve gone to international man of style and Hugo Boss Managing Director of SEAPAC, Matt Keighran for his insider views on racing style.
Whether you’re after a low-key style for easy dressing or want to make a statement amongst the many on the field, stay tuned to back a winning look during every racing event this November.
Some preliminary thoughts:
- pay attention to the dress code. A simple google search or visit to the Victorian Racing Club website will lead you in the right direction of how you should dress come race day.
- don’T spend thousands on a statement suit you’ll only wear once. Keighran suggests “something that fits well and that has a pattern or fabric that can translate to workwear or for party wear.”
- Experiment with your style. It’s Spring, so whip out the florals and colour, for a fun remix on you standard tailoring.
- DON’t underestimate accessories. While a tie is a must at the races, some people overlook adding a pocket square. “They are not an essential but they add a dash of colour and pattern to any outfit and it elevates the dressiness of the jacket”, advises Keighran.
The key days of Spring Racing
The first major race day during the month of November, Derby Day is known for its monochromatic dress code which sees thousands of people sport black-and-white. The history around the strict dress code is still relatively unknown, but since the 20th century, its been the most formal and tailored event of the month.
“I like Derby day because there is a theme and you have to be creative within the framework, says Keighran. And how to liven up the colour palette? “Play with pattern and texture – shades of grey and stripes, checks, spots and paisley. White jackets and pants can add something different to any monochrome look.”
The most loved and anticipated event on the Spring Racing Calendar, this is where you can go all-out for a statement look. Still governed by a handful of classic requirements – wearing a suit and tie, and leather shoe – the rules over the past few years have been relaxed for a more business-casual approach.
So is it doable? “Well it’s still a requirement to wear a tie but the old sock rule has already been left on the track. It’s probably more around the fabrics being used in suiting and jackets – many stretch and jersey materials – chinos with jackets are acceptable and even a more slightly casual approach to footwear – white and crepe soles for example.”
As it is the Spring season, opt for lighter hues of colour and steer clear of the standard black/navy suit – you want to have fun with the Melbourne Cup. Try florals, pastels or stripes in you entire look or used as an accent.
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Designed as a lady’s day, the Oaks Day is for more lighthearted fun, and its fashion follows. Florals and hats are a big theme of the day and is more laid back than the previous race days. And with the banishing of the infamous ‘sock rule’ at VRC, you can go for a summer feel. We are warned by Matt however: “It’s gone all European! Wearing shoes without socks is not easy. Always wear the socks that you can’t see and tan your ankles!”
And the last day on the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the Emirate Stakes Day. By this point, three days of high-energy race days takes its toll, so Stakes Day is usually the most laid back of the four, ideal for the whole family. As with its nature, the dress code is again more relaxed, but you should still aim to look smart.
Try more classic looks with a more casual twist and add bold accents to keep the look interesting and on-trend.
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If you decide on wearing colored blazers like this one, keep a few things in mind: go for muted colors, else the whole appearance is too showy. The fit should be a little more loose than usual – a very figure accentuated cut + unusual color rather makes you look silly than fashionable. Also, keep the rest of your outfit simple & minimalistic to make the blazer a highlight – a basic dressing rule in men’s fashion. ✌🏻 (pic. by @senorkaya