Melbourne Cup Carnival Style Guide

Our Melbourne Cup Carnival Style Guide – Spring Racing is just around the corner and it’s time to start planning your race day outfits! The 4 day Carnival comes with strict race wear etiquette for both ladies and gents, a tradition which stems from a very formal dress code handed down through the generations by racing clubs and their proud members.

Dressing for the races isn’t the same as dressing for a nightclub! Oh no siree; getting dressed for Flemington means respecting the tradition of dressing smartly and appropriately for each of the race days.








Melbourne Cup Carnival Style Guide

Cup week begins with AAMI Victoria Derby Day, the day for classic elegance, which sets the pace for the entire week. Traditionally, a monochrome (black and white) colour scheme for women has been the prominent palette, while men often chose to wear a grey morning suit, peacock vest and pin-stripe pants.

Emirates Melbourne Cup Day… the race that stops the nation. A day where the ladies can inject some colour into their dresses and accessories, Today you can make a bold statement in terms of colour; and for men, a beautifully cut suit, with a tie that compliments your ladies ensemble, is perfect. It is the day to make your strongest fashion statement or wear something (tastefully) daring. Statement heels are always a winner.

Crown Oaks Day is an occasion for the ladies to express their own signature style, amid a spectacular racing backdrop. Traditionally known as ladies day, it’s important to look stylishly feminine, achieved by choosing clothes that fit your body type and personality. Choose dresses that flow over your body, like chiffon and silk, or styles that feature floral prints or lace detailing. Team your frocks with a flower crown or complimentary colourful fascinator. Ideal suiting shades for men include navy, linen and light grey.

The final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is Emirates Stakes Day. Traditionally known as family day at Flemington, is the most relaxed of the four days of the carnival. It’s the day for the littlies to show their style and a chance for older girls and boys to inject a pleasant mix of understated style and fun. The key is maintaining a classic look without too looking conservative.



Headwear across all the race days for ladies is a must. This spring expect to see lots of hats including boaters, pillboxes, trilbies and fedoras, which look fabulous with structured dresses and two-piece suits for the more mature lady. These hat styles look gorgeous finished with netting over the eyes or vintage jewel embellishments.

You can never go wrong with a well made, quality designed fascinator (either headband or comb style, depending on your personal preference). Bows, brooches and gemstones are also on-trend as under stated headwear options.

Gents, for a formal finishing touch on each of the days, pop a flower for your buttonhole. Each meeting has an official nominated flower; a cornflower for Derby Day, a yellow rose for Melbourne Cup Day, a pink rose for Oaks Day and for Emirates Stakes Day, a red rose.






A day in the Members’ Enclosure at Flemington is a special event and VRC Members have a strong tradition of dressing smartly and appropriately, taking into consideration true racing style. Read the member’s enclosure dress regulations here.



See you all trackside looking glamorous and sharp!








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Emily Collie is Founder and Editor of well-known Australian travel blog, Melbourne Girl. Emily has written travel articles for Expedia, eHarmony, Amex Shop Small Blogger Series and, and has been featured on many Australian websites including Mimco Mimzine and Bonds Australia Blog, and was invited on behalf of the VRC and Myer, to judge the Myer Fashions on the Field competition on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.


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