Races fashion that won't make you look silly, or send you broke.

It’s the Melbourne Cup in six days.

That’s cool. I’m still writing the date as 2014, and haven’t finished the to-do list I wrote back in January, but whatever… I’m totally prepared for this…

If the Spring Racing Carnival has snuck up on you too, behold the best ~last minute~ race wear buys. This, friends is a silly hat and stiletto-free zone. Think: Things You Will Wear Again One Day (ok, not that leafy crown thing — that’s probably a one off). And we’re bringing them to you on a budget, because the next time we blink, it’ll be Christmas.

Derby Day

By now you know the DD dress code is black and white. What happens if you wear colour on Derby Day? No one has ever survived to tell the tale, so deviate at your own peril. But I will give you this tip: the last time I wore a white dress to the races I ended up with a tomato sauce stain down the front after I ate a meat pie in the car park. So I think the more appropriate style advice here is, wear a white frock at your own peril.

Hi There By Karen Walker Dress, $100

ASOS Square Stone Swing Earring, $13

Country Road tie-front top, $129.00
Target Stripe Midi Skirt, $59

Spurr Amelia Block Heel, $39.95 

Melbourne Cup

We can’t all be in Melbourne to watch the race that stops a nation, so if you’re celebrating in the office the key is not to look ridiculous for the other seven hours and 57 minutes of your workday. Elaborate headpieces and fascinators are best avoided, so opt for something more understated like a headband, bow or fresh flowers. If you work in a fun office and like to outdo each other in the crazy stakes, head straight over to Lucy Gransbury’s excellent DIY headpiece post for inspiration.


Asos Wiggle Dress, $95 

Olga Berg Rose Gold Feather Headband, $39.95

Therapy Rowling Wedges, $46.96 
Olga Berg Animal Print Clutch, $79.95 

Asos Curve Floral Dress, $138

Oaks Day

Crown Oaks Day is traditionally known as ‘ladies day’ and unlike the ladies night at your local pub — this isn’t one you want to avoid. The most sophisticated of the race days, the dress code is all about feminine pastels pinks, violets, nudes, and yes, those groundbreaking spring florals again.

Asos True Violet Ombre Dress, $126

Asos Kate Lace Midi Dress, $117 

Target Taffy Nude Heels, $39 

Olga Berg Woven Octagonal Clutch, $99.95 

Stakes Day

Stakes Day is the middle child of the Spring Carnival. After all the colour and excitement of Cup Day and champagne overfloweth on Oaks Day, Stakes Day is the oft forgotten conclusion of the carnival. But buckle up, raise your flute and break out the sandals because this is the most casual, relaxed day of the week. Known as ‘family day’, it’s filled with free activities and live entertainment for kids, so keep it classy (see above: meat pie).

Spot flare dress, $69 Target

C/Meo Collective, Better Off Maxi, $67.99

Cotton On Panama Hat, $14.95

Country Road, Emma Tassel Jelly, $49.95

Need more inspiration? Click through for a gallery of all the Caulfield Cup fashion from this year…