Whether you're entering Fashions In The Field, rubbing shoulders with A Listers in the VIP tent or just heading out for a fun day with friends, there are certain rules you should follow when it comes to Race Day.
Spring Racing is as much known for its trackside fashions as the racing itself. But, after hours of boozing and betting, it’s not an uncommon sight for once-fierce fashionistas to turn into drunken disasters as the shoes come off, hems get hitched and feathers fall loose from the fascinators.
Getting dressed up is all part of the Spring Carnival Racing experience – but what many don’t realise is Race Wear Fashion comes with it’s own set of rules. That means leaving in the outfit you came in (shoes on feet, hat firmly in place) and respecting race day traditions.
Here are the 8 fashion fails you should avoid at all costs!
1. Dressing like you’re going to a night club
The races are during the daytime, so avoid looking too overdone. Too much make up, over styled hair and glitzy glam just don’t work. Mini-skirts, crop tops and sequins are just wasted on Race Day – this is your chance to go for your chic finest!
If you’re having trouble deciding where the line is, imagine you are going to tea with your grandmother and her bridge buddies; so keep it classic and conservative.
2. Ditching your shoes at the end of the day
It all starts off well enough, but after a few hours of guzzling warm champagne, inevitably, those stilettos start sinking into the grass, your centre of gravity starts to sway in those stilt-like platforms and your ankles are one big blister thanks to your brand new shoes. In your weary, slightly sozzled state you tell yourself that no one will notice if you take your shoes off for just a bit. Next thing you know, you’re frolicking barefoot on the lawn, and wrestling with a suit for a sip of his cider.
You can’t put too much thought into the comfort and style of your shoes for Race Day. After all, you’ll be likely standing in them for hours so think practically. Swap your strappy summer heel for a pump heel. Never wear new heels. And remember that trainers, thongs and gumboots, slippers and dilapidated or ‘scuffed’ footwear are forbidden!
If you don’t think you’ll make it to the end of the day with your shoes on your feet, then take a pair of fold-up ballet slippers in your purse for the long walk home. And always make sure you pad your shoes with cushion gels, and take some bandaids just in case.
3. Wearing an over the top hat
Spring Racing is a perfect opportunity to try out some truly breathtaking millinery, so don’t waste it! It’s hard to define what constitutes ‘over the top’ but if it’s going to get in the way of other patrons, for example something that will take out an eye, then it's best to leave it for your next fancy dress party. Also forget the feathered fascinator unless it’s truly amazing and instead, go for sophisticated, classic glamour that respects tradition.
4. Wearing anything too short or too tight
This is not the time to bust out your ruched, curve-hugging glittery little black dress. As a general race day rule, dresses are generally expected to fall around the knees and not too far above, while strapless numbers are also frowned upon. Be sure to check the fashion rules – Royal Ascot has a strict 'just above the knee or longer' hemline rule, while the Victoria Racing Club's guidelines do not give an exact hem length, instead noting that 'ladies are expected to maintain a suitable standard in keeping with the dignity of the Members’ Enclosure.' Use your judgement - if you can’t sit down without flashing, then it’s too short.
5. Going too casual
On that note, just because you’re leaving your nightclub attire at home, doesn’t mean you can go casual either – the races are meant to be a classy affair, so no denim! If you're trying to gain entry to any of the VIP areas, you are most likely to get knocked back. This also goes for rompers, jumpers and playsuits. If you do want to forgo the dress, a pantsuit might just be the sexiest, most standout thing a girl can do this season. Think well tailored chic, and nothing too corporate.
6. Being a fashion slave
While it’s important to have an understanding of the current trends, there are only so many trends one person can wear at any one time. Instead, go for one key piece and add your own individual flair for the rest.
7. Wearing shorts.
It didn’t work when Bec Hewitt tried it, and it definitely won’t work for you. Leave the shorts for the beach.
8. Revealing too much of anything
That goes for side boob, underboob, plunging boob or visible bra straps. And while fashion is having a midriff moment, note that if you’re going to embrace fashion’s flesh-flashing trend, then get prepared to be turned away from the Members’ Grandstand, VIP Birdcage or car park picnic areas!
Your outfit should be light enough for the hottest day, but still cover most body parts.