Sink or swim
These are generally the two options for race-goers with inappropriate footwear. Yet despite cringe-worthy news coverage, year after year, women continue to hotfoot it to the races in uncomfortable stilettos that either end up submerged three inches in the lawn or flung over piles of inebriated “Oaks and blokes” and empty Crown lager bottles. Meanwhile, said race-goer stumbles onward to the train station barefoot. Ladies looking to bring some class back to this event should opt for wedge heel shoes. They’re the perfect combination of comfort and chic as they still give you height but will also support your foot and be fine for walking over grass, mud and shattered champagne glasses. Remember race days aren’t just a test of the horses’ stamina!
Always take the weather with you
Tanning salons and Priceline pharmacies probably do their best trade during the Spring Racing carnival as women embark on fake tanning regimes that even Katie Price would deem high maintenance. Never knowing whether to expect rain, hail or shine for Cup Day, being prepared for everything is the best way to see the race with grace. Sunglasses, sunscreen or invisible zinc are a must as sunburn really doesn’t go with anything. On the other end of the spectrum if you cast your mind back to last year, plastic ponchos and slip n’ slides were the emerging trends of the season as torrential rain took over the day. Being cold and wet will only ruin your day so be prepared for all extremes.
Pack a light waterproof trench; it will keep you dry, warm and protect your dress. On top of this, you can avoid the fashion faux pas that is plastic ponchos. An oversized umbrella will also add a sense of practicality and dramatic effect to your outfit. If it rains you can smugly shelter yourself while envious onlookers wish they’d had the good sense to bring a brolly, and if it doesn’t a long-stemmed umbrella also acts as a great prod to poke your way through the crowds.
Nothing detracts the elitist elegance of the races quicker than an esky or a smuggled in six-pack in a Coles green bag. Accessorise this spring racing carnival with a classic wicker picnic basket. It’ll give you far more room than a clutch and is definitely more secure – have you ever heard of someone having their wallet stolen from a picnic basket? Those flaps aren’t there for nothing.
Pack a basket with food supplies, sunscreen, umbrella, coat and water bottles – it’s important to hydrate and not just on bubbly.
You can leave your hat on
The Spring racing carnival is the one time of year we can all legitimately wear elegant hats and fascinators. Younger race-goers tend to opt for fascinators but a hat does offer shade so it’s worth considering. Both fascinators and hats explode onto the fashion scene at this time of year and there are so many options on the market. Add a burst of colour to a black outfit with a vibrant red or trendy tangerine headpiece or dress down a bright outfit with neutral accessories.
Black and white is always a safe option and on Derby Day, it’s basically enforced in the dress code. A good investment dress can be paired with inexpensive accessories and then see you through the rest of spring/summer. Florals and patterns are always on show at the races, as essentially the dress code is daywear. Opt for fabrics that are comfortable and elegant, like crisp linens and jersey. Avoid silk or satin as it doesn’t go well with sweat and sun.