18 September, 2015
It's almost spring racing season, and for a lot of us that means one thing: time to dress up! The spring racing carnival offers a great chance to get out and celebrate the new season, not just traditionally with the trendiest new collections, but with a chic, fun and interesting take on the typical fashion of the occasion. It seems there's almost a general ‘uniform’ for horse racing events; Punters even supplies criteria for those hoping to have their outfits judged (a dress just above the knee, an intricate head piece, etc.).
But this is exactly what I want to address before the horses start thundering down the tracks. The uniform is all well and good. I like getting into race day fashion as much as anyone else, and generally speaking the crowds at the tracks look pretty spectacular. But as you know I also appreciate individualism, and beyond the fact that each spectator has a different intriguing hat, this is actually somewhat lacking at the racing carnivals! So here are a few tips—some inspired by current ‘trends’ and some just my own quirky ideas—for how to give your race day outfits some unique appeal.
Get Some Cat Eye Sunglasses
Vintage inspiration can almost always be considered fashionable, particularly at the moment, and because spring racing carnivals are often places where it's almost necessary to wear sunglasses, I say go for some cat eyes! These '50s-style glasses are always playful and chic, and they can add the perfect touch of mystery to any race day outfit.
Rock A Tiara
This is a glamourous twist on traditional horse racing headpieces, which generally fall somewhere on the hat-to-ribbon spectrum (which I just invented). I stole this idea from the model Gigi Hadid, who was recognised in a News Au article as one of the best dressed at last year’s Melbourne Cup. Hadid's piece wasn't quite a tiara, but it had the same delicate, sparkling quality. It was an interesting alternative to the same old horse racing hats.
Find Unconventional Jewellery
Certain types of pieces are typical of spring racing crowds. At a major carnival, you may see more pearls than you're used to, and brooches seem to be falling out of the sky. But jewellery is ultimately one aspect of race day fashion that's not quite as strictly defined as outfits in general, and for that reason I say find something bizarre. Lyst has some great inspiration in this regard, featuring various nose rings, upper ear cuffs, and strangely ornamented rings. Any piece along these lines can be worked right into a race day outfit for a unique touch.
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
I'm not suggesting you attend a spring racing carnival in all black (although when it comes to Derby Day classic black and white is the go), but it doesn't have to be all about whites, pinks, and yellows. Darker tones (like those worn by Anna Heinrich in the aforementioned News Au article) can work just as well, and they're certainly more unique for the occasion. At the very least, I'm a huge fan of going with a black mesh veil or black opera gloves to accent pretty much any look you like and add a bit of drama.
Opt For Wedges
I just can't abide heels for a full day walking around outside on uneven ground and you DON’T want to be one of ‘those’ girls you see on the news every year, stumbling around heels in hand. Fortunately, wedges are all the rage this spring and offer the perfect footwear compromise for race day. Elle pointed out a number of fashionable options specifically for this season, including selections from Miu Miu, Vince Kyra, and other noteworthy designers. But more than brand names, it's the versatility of these shoes that stands out for the occasions I'm talking about. Firm soles, warm weather bodies, and limitless style options just add up perfectly.
None of this is to suggest that I'm not a fan of the more traditional spring racing looks. Bright sundresses and extravagant hats are the name of the game, and they welcome the spring season appropriately. But some of these ideas can be pretty easily incorporated into more traditional looks to help you stand out from the crowd.