How to Get Ready for Race Day – Melbourne Cup Inspiration

By: Alicia McKenzie/Stylecoach Asia

It was time to make our annual Australian trip back to visit the in-laws and the timing was perfect. Not only is it the beginning of Spring, and we feel the weather warm up, the vibrant city of Melbourne becomes even more exciting with a new hive of activity, the start of the Spring Racing Carnival. Australian’s are very enthusiastic about horse racing, it’s a much celebrated tradition so much so, Melbourne Cup Day is even given as a national holiday.

It became evident to me how seriously the Aussie’s take this event as nearly every shop from designer label to family friendly giant retailers are offering collections of Spring Racewear of both Womenswear and Menswear. Stylish frocks, dapper suits, fancy fascinator’s and accessories galore! I have not seen a more impressive collection of Racewear appropriate fashion than during Spring season in Australia. Definitely a good idea to pick up a few items if you’re here, as Asia doesn’t seem to offer such a varied range of such delights.

So when we were offered tickets for the BMW Caulfield Cup Day by our generous friend, of course we said yes please! And the thought that followed straight after was “Oh, what to wear?” and so I started to do my research in excitement…

I walked through the department stores and down the high-streets, surfed the web for inspiration and honestly didn’t have much of an idea at that point until I came across some gorgeous fascinator’s by popular accessories designer and milliner Olga Berg; slashed with considerable discounts at Trade Secret Store. I couldn’t decide on one, so I bought three- oops! Then I made the decision, it had to be the cobalt blue with feathers piece. At that point, I also felt that I wanted to wear a look with an elegant silhouette of a by-gone-era. In my minds-eye, going to the races conjures up images of the olden days where people made a real effort to get dressed up and I wanted to honor that somehow.

Based on that notion, I checked out Bardot, a popular Australian high-street brand offering fashion forward collections at reasonable prices. Of course I headed straight to the Sale-rail, spotted this gorgeous ivory trumpet-style woolen-elastic- mix midi skirt. I loved the silhouette of the skirt, it was the perfect length and drape. When choosing something in this new type of figure- hugging- fabric, it’s always best to go with at least 1-2 sizes larger than you are. I am a size 8, but I bought the size 12. Why? it’ll feel more comfortable and it’ll be more forgiving to body-bumps that us ladies dislike. For my top-half I was drawn to a cobalt blue sweater (also on sale). I love garments with high neck lines and long sleeves; there’s just something quite proper about wearing pieces like this and I figured with the temperamental Melbourne weather it wouldn’t go-a-miss. To accessorise I picked up a dashing blue-toned necklace and earing set, a silver and black clutch to offset with my faithful black and oh-so-comfy H&M wedges. The entire look all for under $200 AUD!

The finishing touches for makeup & hair, I went for a smokey-eyed look in blues, a sweep of bronze on the apple of the cheeks finished up with a vivacious fuchsia pink shade on the lips. The hair I simply swept to the side in a low ponytail. I felt quietly confident with the this look I had created even after seeing the numerous well-heeled, chic fashionista’s strut their stuff at ‘Fashion on the Field’ as well as some of Australia’s well-known celebs in their outfits of choice.

Tips on How to Style Your Racing Outfit

  • Don’t panic! Approach this opportunity to get dressed-up with a bit of fun.
  • Base your outfit on an item in your outfit ensemble such as your Fascinator, shoes or handbag. Pick out the colours and build your outfit around that.
  • Don’t be afraid to go up in size, even two if you’re choosing fabrics with high mix of elastic. No more unsightly bumps, you’ll want to feel comfortable.
  • If you’re traveling and you come across an awesome headwear piece, buy it! It’ll always come in handy. Otherwise swap old hats/fascinators with your girlfriends for the occasion.
  • Feel more comfortable with black or just feel like wearing your faithful LBD? You can, just accessorise! It can dramatically transform a simple look to something quite unique.
  • Need inspiration on what to wear? Check out #racewearstyles #coloursofcaulfield #melbournecupfashion #melbournecupday #springracingcarnival #springracing #millinery #fascinator
  • No good with makeup? Enroll in a short makeup workshop and learn how to apply makeup with a more professional touch. It will always come in handy and save you money in the long-run. Or check out YouTubes for tutorials by ‘Cari Bybel’.
  • You don’t have to wear a dress, try wearing a trouser suit or jumpsuit for a modern edge. Just make sure that’s its well tailored.

Style at the 2015 BMW Caulfield Cup Day
Not knowing what exactly to expect with it being my first live-race event, I was really quite impressed! The Aussie ladies really take their fashion seriously for events such as these. I saw a mix of style, high-street, one-off hand stitched to couture creations. Ladies (and gents) of all ages went all out. For a style-addict like me it was a real visual feast. The younger crowd seemed to be more fashionable in their choice of attire with body hugging fits and plunging necklines – heels of course were sky-high. Ladies who were little older kept it chic and sophisticated with luxurious fabrics, interesting shapes and hemlines. For mature ladies it was classic style with glamorous twists.

Millinery was also interesting. From what I could see a lot of effort had been made by most to ensure that whatever was worn ‘turned heads’. Some real statement millinery pieces creatively crafted, and some expensive looking designer pieces perched or nestled amongst well-styled hair-dos. This year’s trend saw the not so traditional mask-like headdresses reminiscent of the Elves of Middle Earth, Black Swan and other futuristic like crowns. All-in-all, the style stakes were high but the money left in our pockets at the end of the day was unfortunately was rather low.

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