SUIT UP FOR THE CUP
What to wear to the Spring Racing Carnival
There are a few things you can always bet on with the Spring Racing Carnival: it's one of Melbourne's biggest events, you'll have a few friendly drinks, and there'll be more eyes on the guests' outfits than on the horses.
We can't help with anything equine, but we are somewhat experts on gents' attire.
What you already know is that it's a time to dress up. Suits and shirts are required, while t-shirts are outright banned; and each race day has its own sartorial look and feel.
For a one-size-fits-all approach, a classic blue or grey suit is hard to beat – add a proper shirt and a handy pair of loafers and you're set for the whole Carnival. On the other hand, if you're feeling creative and want to build a look on track with each day's aesthetic, keep reading.
The racing season gets going with one of its more relaxed days. One with lower stakes, if you will. The Caulfield Cup’s dress code does dictate a jacket, tie, and dress shoes, but leaves plenty of wiggle room.
Bright colours and fun patterns are all fair game, as is mixing up your pants and jacket. Try a checked jacket with a solid pant, for instance, finished off with a bold tie in colours you love.
The most formal racing event has very strict style: traditional suiting in black and white (though you can get away with grey too). Dress codes are made to be respected, so do stick to the monochrome palette – though there's no reason not to have fun with it.
Build a standout look (and keep yourself from looking too funereal) by playing with textures, patterns, and accessories; perhaps a knitted black tie, a grey checked waistcoat, or a busy pocket square. Morning suits are encouraged too, especially in Members' Enclosures.
For the race that stops the nation, dressing well is something of a must. A suit, tie, and dress shoes are once again essential for the Melbourne Cup; but today, don’t be afraid to go bold. This is when to break out those statement pieces: lavishly-coloured suits, eye-catching patterns, and plenty of personality.
If all-out flamboyance isn’t your style (or if you’re in the Members’ Enclosures, where bright and fluorescent suits are off-limits), add a touch of flair through a colourful shirt or a pop of an accessory instead.
Attire on Oaks Day – aka Kennedy Oaks Day, Crown Oaks Day, or Ladies Day – is characterised by a romantic look. Try soft colours and pastels, such as sky blue, dove grey, and taupe; and florals, prints, and light patterns. The flower of the day is the pink rose, so feel free to add a little pink too.
It's also considered rather adorable to coordinate with your partner today. Try doing so through the colour of your tie – a simple yet tasteful way to bring your outfits together.
The final day of the Carnival is a family day, and enjoys a more relaxed, liberal dress code. Take advantage of Stakes Day with pieces at the more casual end of the suiting spectrum: patterned fabrics, knitted ties, smart chinos, and a leisurely pair of loafers.
For colours, think lights and brights. You're safe with friendly shades of blue or brown – which go especially well with day's red rose – but as long as you aren't in your Derby Day getup, you've little to worry about.