Races Ready: The Ultimate Spring Racing Dress and Headwear Pairing Guide
Spring Racing Carnival

Races Ready: The Ultimate Spring Racing Dress and Headwear Pairing Guide

20 / Oct / 2023
5 min read

One of the biggest fashion seasons in Australia is upon us! Still unsure which Spring Racing dress to get and what headpiece to wear it with? Consider us your friend who’s always in the know when it comes to fashion (to be honest, we truly are, though). Here’s everything you need to know about acing your style look for Spring Racing Carnival 2023.

What do you wear to the races in spring?

delta goodrem at spring racing carnival

FORD MILLINERY Friend and award-winning musician Delta Goodrem in her Spring Racing dress and our "ANNIE"

The perfect Spring Racing dress, of course! But what this means is pretty subjective — we all have different preferences, after all. Also, there are rules to follow depending on which event you’re going to.

“If styling for the races is new to you, I recommend doing some online research, finding out about dress codes, colour dress codes, et cetera,” says celebrity stylist Donny Galella. Make sure your outfit is right for that race day. Races are a special day out, embrace glamour, dress up, show up. It’s always better to over dress rather than under dress.”

What’s an appropriate dress for the races?

You may be asking: ‘Is there a dress code for general admission at the races?’ General admission areas at events like Golden Eagle or Melbourne Cup usually allow more relaxed dressing. In these spots, a Spring Racing dress can be something that’s smart casual. For more exclusive areas, however, different dress codes apply.

diana chan in her spring racing dress with ford millinery headpiece

FORD MILLINERY Friend and MasterChef Australia winner Diana Chan wearing "IZZY"

A midi dress is considered the most appropriate type for the occasion. However, when styled tastefully, mini dresses can be welcomed too. Cut-outs weren’t as popular in the past, but we’ve been seeing them more often now. The jury is still out on whether or not cut-outs are acceptable for Spring Racing fashion, with historical bans at Everest and Melbourne Cup Carnival. Everest 2023, however, saw many women donning cut-outs.

And then there are the themes for different occasions. Derby Day calls for black and white (more info about it here); Melbourne Cup Day is all about everything bright and bold; Oaks Day is a pastel lover’s dream; Golden Eagle Day is — you guessed it — gold, and more.

Spring Racing dresses and headwear pieces

One thing we believe you should always consider when selecting your Spring Racing dress is the headwear you’ll wear it with. Will your outfit look better with a wide-brim dressy hat or an embellished headband? Should you go for a fascinator or a minimalist headband?

spring racing dresses eloise jaksic

FORD MILLINERY Friend and LMS THE BRAND Creative Director Eloise Jaksic wearing "LOVE ME DO"

“Always wear something on your head. It’s the races! With the risk of sounding like a broken record. But we don't have many occasions to glam up and wear headwear.

So make the most of this amazing opportunity and wear headwear. There are so many great options, from berets, boaters, netting, bows or headbands. Have fun with fashion. Use fashion to express your personal style. 

Always make sure your headwear compliments the rest of your outfit. Think about the whole head to toe look: the outfit, heels, clutch, sunglasses and more,” says Donny.

Here are some chic dress choices and their best headwear pairings. 

Pastel Palette

spring racing dresses for oaks day with headwear pairing

Celebrating on Oaks Day? Embrace femininity and go on a pastel pursuit. Try this lilac dress from Elliatt, for instance. The silhouette is quite feminine too. Pair it up with “FRIDA” flower crown (add to cart here),  or our “ANNIE” wide-brim dressy hat (add to cart here).

Floral Fantasy

spring racing dresses and headwear pairing for cox plate day

Florals? They’re perfect for most events — Cox Plate Day, Stakes Day or Melbourne Cup Day and more. We love! Prints are always fun. Team this peach floral number from Forever New with our “SPRITZ” padded headband with crystals (add to cart here) or our “FRIDA” flower crown in pastel (add to cart here).

Golden Delight

spring racing dresses for golden eagle day

Golden Eagle Day and Five Diamonds Day are fast approaching! Look and feel golden with this Rebecca Vallance dress paired with our “CAMILLA” headband (add to cart here) or our “KANDA” headband (add to cart here). 

Bold and Bright

spring racing dresses melbourne cup day

This is it, darling! Go all out especially on Melbourne Cup Day. Bold, bright and beautiful is the name of the game. Spice up your style with this orange number from Bec & Bridge. Amp it up with our “SUNNA” bejewelled headband (add to cart here) or “BALMAIN” origami-inspired headband (add to cart here).

Classic Black

spring racing dresses derby day

Getting ready for Derby (Day)? An LBD (little black dress) is a no-brainer, baby! This one from Pasduchas is a wonderful option. Dress it up with our “SPANGLE” embellished wide-brim dressy hat (add to cart here) or our “POPPY” fascinator (add to cart here).

Which of these spring racing dress and headwear pairings is your favourite?