Spring Racing Fashions On a Budget – The Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup 1The first Tuesday of November every year is the date for the race that stops a nation, The Melbourne Cup.

For many this means having an annual flutter on the g-g’s, and for others it’s all about the outfit.

It can be a tricky day and even the most experienced fashionistas can be daunted by the choices available.

Here are my tips to nail that winning look and some ideas that hopefully will have you placing first in the best-dressed stakes.

Don’t be swamped by the idea of the occasion.

Ultimately it’s a fun day out with great friends and a fab excuse to get dressed up so keep that in mind.

Comfort is key.

It’s a long day, and if you are out at the track you will be on your feet for most of it.

yBe practical with your shoe choice.

Block heels or wedges are a stylishly practical choice, but if you do decide to go with stilettos be sure to grab a pair of clear plastic guards for the tips.

These will help protect the heel, and keep you above ground.

No sinking into the turf!

Remember it’s never a good look to be carrying ones shoes instead of wearing them, no matter how much pain you are in.

Choose one item and make it the hero of your look.

If you find an item that you fall in love with, make that your starting point.

Be it a divine hat, dress or shoes, work around that piece and use it as your guide.

It could be quirky or classic, but whatever the style, make sure you own it!


A favourite quote of mine comes from designer Joseph Altuzarra, “the wink of an outfit”.

In other words it’s “that unexpected piece that you add to an outfit” that makes it really shine.

Melbourne Cup day is really anything goes, so don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Add your “wink”.

So here are some examples to give you an idea of what I mean.

I’ll start with one piece, and show you both high end and high street examples first.

Now for the dress.

I always love a bit of vintage, and it usually guarantees that you won’t see a mirror image of yourself at your function.

This year the huge trend is ’70’s boho chic, which can be translated well to cup day.

Take for example this gorgeous Anna Sui mini I’ve chosen.


The print is super cute silk, and the high neckline and soft sheer sleeve balance out the length.

I love the lace detail on the cuff too.

In my ‘budget is no question’ look my bag choice would be Chanel’s Boy Bag, the small version.

Add Tory Burch “Imogene” Mary Jane pumps in midnight blue.

These fit so well with the hippie luxe vibe and the dragonfly detail is divine.

Lace fascinatorI would pare all of this too with a “kitty” fascinator by Morgan and Taylor.

On a budget, would totally splurge on the dress and grab this floral fascinator from Target, a steal at AUD $20.

A534371 Think this look is so adorable.

The dress can be worn dressed down with cute flats or ankle booties.

Just add tights and a mid length coat for next winter.

colette-hayman-peta-bagGrab the tassel quilt “Peta” bag from Colette by Colette Hayman in black for AUD $22.49

nine-west-palucci-heels Then throw on a pair of “Palucci“ pumps from Nine West in black lizard, on sale for AUD $89.95 and there’s your kitty to back a winner.

lack-of colour-hatFor either budget you could swap the fascinators for a gorgeous floppy felt hat.

I’d choose blue with a black trim.

This would work perfectly with this dress.

I love the label Lack of Colour.

They sell Online and in selected stores such as David Jones, and have a great selection of brim widths and colours choices.

phillip-treacy-pink-black-hatJust note, if you are on the shorter side a smaller brim will tend to suit you better.

I think the dress itself is the “wink” of this combination and would most certainly get heads turning.

Next up the Headwear.

I’ve worked these two looks around a stunning straw Phillip Treacy lipstick pink and black sculptured piece.

First up blow the budget with investment pieces.

miu-miu-little-bag-blackA Miu Miu “little bag” in black is a perfect choice and teamed with Valentino “ Rock stud” heels.

Both are classics and will stand the test of time.

roksanda-pink-dressFor the dress, it’s all about this divine pink Roksanda number.

Then add the fabulous Prada plexiglass brooch for that “wink”.

On a budget, try the Hues dress from Wish for AUD$149.95, add a  cute black sinamay bag from Olga Berg, a steal at AUD$89.95.

Then go for the Palucci heels again.

So as you can see, there is something for everyone whether your budget caters for high end or not.

Always take the time to browse High street stores and the big department stores such as Target and David Jones, and keep an open mind.

Remember, if you are only going to wear the hat once, invest in good shoes that won’t date and you can wear time and time again.

Who knows if you win fashions on the field, or back a winner on the day; you could be on your way to a super shopping spree!

CiaoJo Bayley, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014


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