Navigating those race day dress codes can take some skill, so we asked David Jones Racing Ambassador Emma Freedman. And boy! Did she enlighten us. From what to wear (and what to avoid), to the reasons for the different sartorial traditions for each race day — Emma was a wealth of information. Before you hit the track, we suggest you read up!
In terms of what is appropriate for the track, here is the low down:
- Dress/skirt length should sit just above the knee, or below. If you were planning on wearing it to a nightclub, reconsider.
- Avoid strapless dresses — one shoulder is ok, but a wider strap or even a capped sleeve is preferable.
- Millinery is a must! This year we are all about hats. Straw for Spring is the trim of choice. When choosing a headpiece, avoid those flimsy looking fascinators and opt for something a little more structured. Even one big beautiful flower is better than a cluster of mis-matched feather and netting!
- Wear your shoes in before the big day at the track, and opt for something not too strappy. A closed toed pump in patent leather is my preferred option.
- Plan for temperamental weather with a matching blazer or lightweight trench.
- No glitter or sequins please!
- A bag with a shoulder strap is a great idea as it's more functional than a clutch.
- But above all — have fun with colour this year!
For more from Emma . . .
Different dress codes for different days:
Derby Day: Stick to tradition in black and white.
Melbourne Cup: Bright, bold and colourful!
Oaks Day: Is known as Ladies Day, so embrace femininity with pastels, florals, lace and frills.
Stakes Day: Something more relaxed, perhaps a gorgeous summer cotton dress with a big straw hat.
"Derby Day is the day that all racing purists look forward to — every race is what we call 'black type' where the prize money is big, the class is superior and the wider prize of pride and acknowledgement is high. It is also a day to embrace classic race wear in black and white. Cup Day, on the other hand, isn't called the 'Race that Stops the Nation' for nothing! ... Oaks Day on Thursday is all about the ladies, both the three year old fillies on the track and the gorgeous gals who go along for a great time! It all wraps up on Stakes Day on the following Saturday which is a family affair. Bring the kids, pack a picnic for the lawn and soak up which is usually a much more relaxed atmosphere."
Thanks for the info Emma!