Frocking Up for the Field: Your Definitive Guide to Spring Racing Fashionspringracingfashion,frockingup,fieldfashion,definitiveguide
Frocking Up for the Field: Your Definitive Guide to Spring Racing Fashion

Frocking Up for the Field: Your Definitive Guide to Spring Racing Fashion

3 minutes, 18 seconds Read

Lifestyle Fashion Style: Your ultimate spring racing fashion guide, from Caulfield Cup to Stakes Day


Television advertisements caution “Chances are, you’re about to lose” before betting on a horse. So, consider this your warning before taking a punt on an outfit for the races because, chances are you could look ridiculous! On top of stringent rules for members areas, which include the Birdcage and betting ring at Flemington Racecourse, there are informal traditions that, if ignored, identify you as an outsider faster than a Sydneysider trying to pronounce Prahran.

How to Look Like a Seasoned Racegoer

Nearly 20 years of covering fashion at Flemington and judging countless competitions, fortified by chicken sandwiches and chilled champagne, has enabled me to nimbly navigate the manure minefield of racewear. Here’s how to look like a seasoned racegoer, even if you still cheer for a horse because it has a cool name.

Caulfield Cup: The warm-up

Since department store David Jones packed up its trackside marquee in 2019, Caulfield Cup has struggled to find its fashion footing. The Melbourne Racing Club is working with stylist Lana Wilkinson, a veteran of the AFL Brownlow Medal red carpet, on bringing glamour back to the event. “Build your outfit around your millinery, so that the outfit looks complete and isn’t just an afterthought,” Wilkinson advises. “Stay away from sequins or heavy metallics during the day, as this will tend to look less appropriate than a block colour.” Think breathable fabrics and relaxed silhouettes to get past the members’ fashion police rather than clinging dresses aimed at nightclub bouncers.

Derby Day: Black and white

The unofficial dress code for Derby Day at Flemington has been black and white, since The Australian Women’s Weekly held a competition for colourless creations at the races in 1960. Despite rumors spread from Sydney, Derby Day’s reputation as the best dressed day of the season has more to do with the monochrome edit than interstate blow-ins. Women can lean into LBD simplicity with contemporary cuts that go beyond boxy blazers. For men, it’s important to avoid a black suit, white shirt and solid black tie, unless you want to be asked for refills.

Melbourne Cup Day: Colour

After all of that black and white on Derby Day, bold and bright has become the theme for Cup Day. Racewear creates a space for my style of fashion, where clothing has a sense of occasion to it,” says designer Jordan Dalah. “It’s that time when you can make a statement.” This is an opportunity for men to lean into ties with personality in punchy colors. Take inspiration from jockey’s silks for colour combinations or racing motifs such as horse shoes and horse bits.

Oaks Day: Pretty

Pastels, lace and floral prints place strongly on Oaks Day, also known as Ladies Day, and since 2004 as Blokes Day. The feminine approach of labels such as Zimmermann, Aje and Alemais comes to the fore on Oaks Day. Ruffles, peplum, delicate trims and skirts that catch the Melbourne breeze are simple signals of feminine forethought. Men can lean into the softer spirit with floral ties and pastel suits in members or a more relaxed approach in general admission areas.

Stakes Day: Chill

After three race days and outfit changes for some, the final event of the spring carnival is the most relaxed, with many of the Birdcage marquees having closed their doors, making way for a family focus. Relaxed daywear, such as cotton dresses worn with simple accessories, signal the shift down in fashion gears.


If you’ve made it to Stakes Day, you must love racing and dry-cleaning bills. Remember to make the most of your health, relationships, fitness, and nutrition while enjoying the spring racing carnival.


Frocking Up for the Field: Your Definitive Guide to Spring Racing Fashion
<< photo by Aljona Ovtšinnikova >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

You might want to read !


G'day, mates! I'm Greg Buckley, and I've been reporting here in the land Down Under for the last 15 years. I'm all about sports and culture, so if there's a footy match or an art exhibit, you'll likely see me there. Let's give it a burl together, Australia!

Similar Posts