Spring racing is upon us and Melbourne Cup Day is approaching faster than a prize-winning thoroughbred. This is the best opportunity you’ll have all year to push the boundaries with your style and try a bold, new look. Each big race day has its own flower and style code, so bear this in mind if you’re thinking of heading to the races on these days. And even if you’re not going to the races on Melbourne Cup Day, the dress code for dedicated Melbourne Cup events will mirror the style of the actual races (albeit not quite as dressy).
If you want to be a winner this Spring racing season, check out our guide to make sure you have the style right. We’ll also take you through different racing days and don’t forget your race-day etiquette!
Spring Racing Style Guide
While each big racing day has its own style guide, there are other racing events that run all year round. If you abide by these simple style rules, you won’t disappoint. Aside from Derby Day, colour is a must for Spring racing. For men, it’s really a chance to dress up and try something different. The races are a nod to classic gentleman styling, but are also an opportunity to show off new trends and sharp tailoring. So get out of that office suit attire and into something more colourful. This season, blues and pinks are popular. Traditional stripes still work, but recently as men’s suiting takes a bolder step, these have started to be replaced by florals and checks. Mix and match ensembles work a treat, such as a beige chinos or trousers with a coloured jacket like this one, and you can have fun with accessories. See our full style guide here.
Accessories can really pack a punch on race days and now is the time to whip out that bold tie or that unique shirt. Textured silk ties work a treat and knotted ties look bold and will help you to stand out. Pocket square are a must at racing days or for Melbourne Cup Day. Coordinate with your tie and use complimentary colours. Tan shoes such as rich tan brogues or tan monk strap shoes work for the races. Hats are a must, try a panama or fedora for an on-trend look this season.
Key Race Dates
Melbourne Cup Day- 1st November
“The Race that stops the Nation,” this is the day you can really experiment with colours, textures and styles- the bolder the better- as long as it all works together. Opt for either neutral tones with bright accessories, shades of red, blue or green. The official flower for Melbourne Cup is the yellow rose.
Oaks Day- 3rd November
Also called “Ladies Day,” Oaks Day calls for softer, more feminine hues. Go for pinks, corals, blues, mauve or lavender-greys. Shirts can be floral, stripy, plaid or spotted. The official flower for Oaks Day is the pink rose. A blue or navy suit can work well with a light pink or white shirt and a bold pink tie.
Stakes Day- 5th November Stakes Day, also known as “family day,” is typically a bit more relaxed, however still ensure that your look is stylish. A great option is a patterned suit like a check, or plaid. In terms of colours, go for grey, green or blue.
A photo posted by Men’s Style Australia (@mensstylemag) on Sep 23, 2016 at 10:15pm PDT
Derby Day- 29th October
This day calls for a return to traditional black and white attire, although grey has seen a resurgence lately, and could work with a black waistcoat. As there are no colours to distract, this is a time to really ensure that your suit fits well and to play with tailoring and textures. The official flower for Derby Day is the purple or blue cornflower.
Spring racing etiquette
If you’re unsure about your outfit, consider what you would wear to an event such as a summer wedding. Definitely make use of colour and have fun with prints, but always ensure you look stylishly appropriate. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished and are not scuffed. With any day-time event, it’s harder to hide a scuffed shoe or dusty suit jacket, so make sure everything is ship shape!
Don’t be a bad sport if you lose a bet. Losing money is all part of the races. And remember, a true gent gives his lady his jacket when she’s cold!
Shop spring racing suits here.
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