Melbourne Cup Fashion 2023: How To Ace the Dress Code and What To Wear
Spring Racing Carnival

Melbourne Cup Fashion 2023: How To Ace the Dress Code and What To Wear

28 / Sep / 2023
5 min read

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is undoubtedly one of the biggest fashion events in Australia. Thousands of people — from celebrities to racing enthusiasts — gather at the Flemington Racecourse looking their best. 

It’s one of the few occasions where people are implored to dress up quite literally from head to toe. And, yes, Melbourne Cup fashion is as much about the headwear as the dresses.

australian food writer and critic melissa leong wearing carnivale in white

Melissa Leong a.k.a. FOODERATI wearing "CARNIVALE" 

What is the dress theme for the Melbourne Cup?

Melbourne Cup Carnival is broken down into four events: Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Oaks Day and Stakes Day. And there are different themes for each day.

gaby doxey wearing london in white for derby day

Gaby Doxey wearing "LONDON" in cream

Derby Day is all about monochromatic looks (definitely black and white — all white, all black, black and white — but you can replace white with off white, cream, ivory and more.) Side note: you can find out more about what to wear and how to rock the dress code for it here

oaks day inspiration nikki phillips

Nikki Phillips wearing "BLACK WIDOW" in lavender

Oaks Day is all about exuding femininity — think florals, pastels and lace.


stakes day inspiration charlotte chimes wearing crush

Charlotte Chimes wearing "CRUSH"

Stakes Day is a bit more pared back than other days since it’s a Family Day so you can wear more flowy dresses and breezy outfits but you’re still encouraged to look polished and accessorise with headwear.


Now, what about Melbourne Cup Day outfits?

What colour do you wear for Melbourne Cup 2023?

There aren’t really prescribed colours for Melbourne Cup Day, but you are encouraged to do the most. Think big and bold. It’s all about wearing a fun, statement-making piece — we’re talking wide-brim dressy hats, gorgeous embellished headbandssculptural headpieces, statement fascinators. We mean going all out. Wear your most daring outfit in the most daring colour — and make sure it’s glamorous, baby! 

micah gianneli wearing annie in hot pink

Micah Gianneli wearnig "ANNIE"

The best part of a Melbourne Cup outfit is the headpiece, of course — whether it’s a hat, fascinator or embellished headband.

Melbourne Cup hats, fascinators and headpieces

At FORD MILLINERY, we believe that headwear should be the first thing you think of when planning your ensemble. There are hundreds of dresses and dress styles that are apt for the occasion. But wearing a Melbourne Cup hat, fascinator or headpiece — that’s a once-a-year opportunity. So make sure you grab the chance and really take time to find what makes your heart sing and wear it with pride and joy trackside — especially if it’s handcrafted by Australian artisans and made with high-quality materials.  

If you’re unsure of what to pick up, check out our list of Spring Racing Carnival 2023 Headwear Trends and the selection below.

spritz headpiece in pink

SPRITZ in hot pink (add to cart here)

safari headband in gree

SAFARI in green (add to cart here)

paloma headband in pink

PALOMA in hot pink (add to cart here)

poppy fascinator red

POPPY in red (add to cart here)

boater hat with hearts

MADDY in red (add to cart here)

geometric headband in orange, pink and black

"BALMAIN" (add to cart here)

ariel flower crown in peach

"ARIEL" in pink (add to cart here)

 We can't wait to see you rocking your Melbourne Cup Carnival outfits!