2014 racing fashion trends - what to wear to the races

What to wear to the races in 2014?

You’re going to the races! Maybe to the Melbourne Cup, Magic Millions on the Goldcoast or the Royal Randwick in Sydney. Whenever you want to go to the races you will have the same question: What on earth do you wear?

This is a common question for those new to the racing scene. Whether you are only heading there to enjoy a picnic with your friends in the public area or have been invited to a corporate function in a marquee or the members grandstand, we’re going to give you some ideas on how to dress appropriately for the races.

If you are wanting to try your luck and enter the Fashions on the Field competitions, take a look at some great tips on how to go about it – make sure you read my article – How to win the Fashions on the Field.

For just some advice on how to avoid a fashion disaster, or if you want to be the most fashionable at your race function – look no further! Later on I will give you 7 easy – not to miss – tips “how to dress for the races”.

Vintage and Classic Style

For the vintage lover, take a look at who your inspiration is and try to find an outfit which resembles what they wore. Keep the hemline to below the knee whether you choose a pencil skirt or a full skirt. There have been floor length skirts seen at the races but so if you really want to go glamorous you can! Accessorise with pearls, gloves and a small cocktail hat such as the pillbox hat or go with a large disc hat. Your hair should be in a beautiful slick up-do or in vintage waves. Ladies of the vintage era always had immaculately groomed hair. Take a look here for a beautifully put together vintage outfit.


Have a look at the following three examples: 

Modern Style

For the modern women, have a look what’s in the the latest magazines and choose something to suit your body! Best to go into a retail store to try on your outfit as the store assistants will be able to give you some great advice on how to style the outfit. Avoid mixing a vintage style headpiece with dresses with a modern line. Look at what’s in for the season (online (I have hundreds of images on my blog!) or magazines). The jockey cap is always a funky and relaxed option for the modern look. This year sees the return of the sun visor – in full plastic or metal! Take a look at Alexander McQueen and Pucci’s take on them. The teardrop shaped hats which sit slightly forward on the head are also very popular with modern dresses. A nice custom made fascinator would be fabulous too. Visit a milliner!

Have a look at the following three examples: 


Comfortable and Relaxed Racewear

For the race goer who wants comfort, the jumpsuit is so in at the moment! It’s something which can look really classy if the right one is chosen and styled properly.The shorter playsuit has made a comeback too but these are a great option for a country race day picnic. Summer dresses are always a great choice. Avoid showing too much skin, unless attention is what you are after!

If dresses aren’t your thing, don’t wear your office suit to the races. There are many different pants options out there! Try a different coloured pair of trousers, maybe vertical stripes or a nice print. Wear your pants with a nice top – not the office shirt! Go for a different fabric such as silk or an embellished top – something pretty. If you don’t go to the races often, make the most of it and dress up a little.


Have a look at the following three examples: 

7 Tips on how to dress for the races:

There’s no hard rules about what you can wear to the races. Take a look at our galleries to see the many different styles which people have chosen for their race look. It’s definitely a place to dress up to impress! This does not exclude Melbourne’s favourite colour – black!

1. Be prepared for the cool change!

Don’t get caught out like some of us do and not be prepared for the change of temperature. Take a light wrap, cardigan or the stylish cape along with you if the temperature forecast predicts a drop in temperature. Don’t dress for a summers day if it’s freezing! Goosebumps are not a nice look.

2. Take some flat shoes for the end of the day!

If comfort is very important to you, there are some beautiful flat shoes out there. For the rest, there’s nothing like a pair of high heels to make your legs look longer and make you feel sexy. There’s nothing wrong with carrying a pair of ballet flats for later on in the day! It’s a really wise thing to do, especially is you are catching public transport home. Do not be seen walking around barefoot with your heels in your hands! So not classy!

3. Less is more

And unless it’s your intention to attract attention, remember that less is more. This does not mean that you should reveal more skin! There have been some ladies running around at the races looking like they are heading out to a nightclub! I’m referring to accessories. Because of the headwear, there’s no need to pile on the jewellery.

4. Wear headwear

Hats and headpieces are a must for the races. A custom made hat may not be as expensive as you think! Custom made hats and headpieces would also give your outfit the perfect finish as it’s made especially for it. The milliner will also help you choose the right shape of hat for your face. There are great options out there if you don’t want to spend hundreds on a custom made hat.

5. One feather is not headwear! (Unless you are Pocahontas)

Avoid little tufts of feather or cheap looking fake flowers in your hair. You may as well not wear anything! For the same money or just a few more dollars, visit a millinery supply shop which has beautiful range of flowers and hat bases which you can easily put together and will look more impressive. You can even order items online.

You’ll find some tutorials on how to make your own hats and headpieces here too. If you can’t sew, you can use glue!

6. Colour combinations

Just a small tip – if you have a colourful outfit, best to pick out one colour from the outfit to use in your headwear. This keeps the focus on the outfit. Vice-versa if you have a plain dress – choose one or a few more colours for your headwear.

7. Hairstyles

With hats, hair normally behaves best when it in in a nice up-do. In recent times, a lot more ladies have chosen to have their hair down. Both ways can look beautiful if done properly. It’s not flattering to have hair flying all over your face when wearing headwear!

Last but not least – For the gentlemen:

Fortunately for you guys, dressing for the races is a much simpler ordeal. You can wear your work suit if you have to wear a suit to the races. For something a bit more swish for the Birdcage enclosure, invest in a fun suit. Anything goes in the Birdcage! Maybe a floral suit?

If you are just going for a fun, relaxed day out with your friends in the public area – dress pants always impress. Wear a collarless shirt – plain or printed. Suits and ties are not necessary in the public area, although wearing one will get the girls all giggly! Dress shorts which fall just above or below the knees are also good on a hot day. Leave the jeans, t-shirts and sneakers for other occasions. Go that extra step and wear a hat!

Enjoy the races and have fun – Don’t forget this:

This is just a guide as to what you can wear to the races. You’re reading this because you want some advice! The most important thing is to wear what you feel good in. In my many years of going to the races, I’ve seen everything! There are micro-mini’s, plenty of cleavage, cut-out dresses, sequins in the day time, ball gowns, weird and wonderful hats galore! The people wearing these things all looked like they were enjoying themselves which is what it’s all about!

Have a look at the following three examples: 

Have fun or have fun people watching!