The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s most prestigious horse races and is often referred to as “the race that stops a nation”. Held on the first Tuesday of November by the Victoria Racing Club, this iconic annual horse race is a staple of Australia’s sporting and social calendars. Fashion plays a central role in all Melbourne Cup Day festivities – whether you’re attending the race in person or celebrating at an office party or leisure function, in this post we share some of the top tips for race day fashion and why kaftans at the Melbourne Cup are just the fashion item to bridge formal with comfort.
Start with a dress
Falling in love with a headpiece or pair of shoes and then trying to find a dress to match is a recipe for disaster. Hold back on purchasing any accessories until you have found a suitable dress.
In this photo: Blue Pacific Kaftan Dress
Stay cool all day
Kaftans as Melbourne Cup dresses are the perfect mix for keeping cool and comfortable, while also looking glamourous and elegant.
In this photo: Secret Garden Kaftan Dress
If you’re going to the races, some kind of headpiece is a must. If you prefer not to wear a hat, a gorgeous fascinator is your best choice, just make sure your outfit is matching your headpiece.
Did you know? The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1875.
Befitting a race to remember
Although Melbourne Cup Day fashion is about following runway trends, be sure to apply racewear elegance and remember skirt lengths should be at the knee. The aim is exuding sophistication, class, and elegance, and not to show too much skin (kaftans are perfect for this, showing what you want, and hiding what you don’t want to show).
In this photo: Harlequin Tunic
Though the classic black and white combo are always sure to be a winner, Melbourne Cup Day is held in spring and it’s hard to go wrong with an elegant dress which pops with warm spring colours. November is a great time to embrace vivid tones and prints, so opt for light, bright and fun colours and styles.
In this photo: Kas Long Kaftan V Neck
Don’t forget that Melbourne Cup Day usually means a long, boozy day outdoors (or at the most, an event that requires you to stand a lot of the time) so make sure to be prepared. Ditch that small clutch, you might need a bit bigger of a handbag to carry some of the essentials such as your lipstick, band-aids (for those new shoe blisters), sunscreen, sunglasses, your wallet, phone, keys etc.
Did you know? That four and five year old horses have the best times recorded throughout the race’s history.
Keeping on your toes
Extra high heels or new designer shoes means a whole lot of pain to come – either opt for a heel that’s more comfortable such as those with wedge heels or thicker heels that provide more surface coverage (even better bring a pair of flats in your bag for breaks during the day). Thinking ahead and breaking in new heels can also make all the difference – too many women wait until the day itself before taking a few steps in their heels.
In this photo: Lazy River Kaftan Dress
Stand out from the crowd
Although there are trends that come every year dictating what’s in and what’s cool to wear, remember the most talked about are fashion trendsetters. With each new racing season, ladies turn up with more original and dazzling outfits to outdo the previous year’s styles on display.
In this photo: Serenity Kaftan Dress
Part of the Melbourne Cup Program since the 1960s is Fashion on the Field, now sponsored by MYER. This competition is an opportunity for the fashion industry to showcase its finest Melbourne Cup fashion designs and for racegoers to indulge their passion for fashion.
Did you know? ‘Kingston Rule’(1993) currently holds the Melbourne Cup time record, finish the race at a speedy 3 minutes and 16 and a half seconds!
At the end of the day, fashion at the Melbourne Cup day is all about having fun with your outfit, so opt for bold and bright colours and make a statement with your headpiece. This is the day to be fashion forward and follow runway trends but still, apply race day elegance.
In this photo: Coloured Sands Kaftan Dress
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