Styling a Casual Dress for the Spring Races

The Spring Racing season is pretty much unavoidable here in Australia. Even if you don’t actively go to the races, most workplaces hold sweeps for Melbourne Cup or even competitions for best dressed. While some racing events require a certain standard of dress, for the most part I like seeing people have fun with their outfits. Because there is such a thing as too many floral dresses and saucer fascinators. Since I rarely go to the races these days, when I do I tend to utilise what’s already in my wardrobe. This could mean anything from rehashing an outfit I’ve previously worn to a wedding to dressing up a day dress for the occasion. Here I’ve taken a casual cami dress by Milk It and given it a bit of a Spring Races makeover.

Reclaimed Vintage cap with DIY pom pom; Country Road collared shirt; Milk It gingham dress; Velvet ribbon from Lincraft; Falconwright clutch; Novo wedge heels.

Lately I’ve really been making a conscious effort not to buy things that I’ll only wear once and only introducing things into my wardrobe that have staying power. I’ve been eyeing off this gingham dress for a while now and it’s the perfect layering piece for summer. I’ll no doubt get plenty of wear out of it and I also like the fact that it’s made from recycled fabric. But how do I style such a casual dress for the races? With a little bit of trackside inspiration and a DIY touch, of course. A crisp collared shirt layered underneath adds a bit of polish and a velvet ribbon tied around the waist gives it some shape. Instead of going the usual fascinator route I spruced up a Reclaimed Vintage suedette cap by topping it off with an oversized pom pom. A cute clutch and wedge heels finishes it all off nicely.

Here are some other things I’d take into consideration when putting together an outfit for the spring races:

Pastels vs. Brights
Spring is the perfect season to embrace pastels. I tend to wear more pastels than brights however I am wary of outfits that veer into pastel overload. If anything I’d say add bright accents to a pastel outfit  to give it a bit of edge.

Monochrome vs. Floral/Patterned
¿Por qué no los dos? Why don’t we have both? I love a good pattern and I think they’re the perfect way to stand out from the crowd (although I’ve already stated how I feel about florals for the spring races). If you do choose to go down the monochrome path then doing so in a pattern is a great way to add extra detail to an outfit.

Dresses vs. Jumpsuit/Co-ords
I’ve only ever worn dresses to the races as it’s generally easier to put together a polished look in one (or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know). That said, I do love a good jumpsuit and wouldn’t put it past me to give one a go.

Heels vs. Flats
In day to day life I’m a flats person but for the races I always opt for a heeled shoe. And always an enclosed one at that (I must have read something about it in one of those etiquette guides once and it’s just stuck with me). Wedges and block heels are the way to go, though, because getting stuck in the grass in stilettos is the pits.

Fascinators vs. Alternative Headwear
Alternative headwear all the way. Fascinators end up looking so samey so I’m all for headwear that’s a bit quirky. I also love seeing all the OTT headwear that people come up with. DIY options are always fun and the last time I went to the races I whipped up a pom pom headband the day before (I really love pom poms you guys).

Bright Lips vs. Smokey Eye
I’d go a smokey eye but also not like you’re about the hit the club levels of smokey. This is purely for practical purposes as bright lips require upkeep throughout the day, especially what with all that champagne sipping and canapé eating, and I just don’t have the time/energy for that. Unless, of course, you’ve found the holy grail of long lasting lipsticks in which case help a sister out please.

What does your ideal race day outfit look like?

[This post was in collaboration with asos. All content is my own]


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