Get race day ready – 5 fashion tips for Melbourne Cup

The race that stops the nation will be here before you know it. This year Carnival Cruise Line has invited Australian fashion designer Karen Gee onboard. Karen will be cruising to the Cup alongside Sydney Weekender’s Erica Davis sharing with guests their fashion advice for this year’s Melbourne Cup and a few tips on how to make the most of one fabulous dress!

Over time Karen has dressed well know television personalities such as Samantha Armytage , Melissa Doyle and Lisa Wilkinson.


Here are her top 5 tips to make sure everyone is a winner at Melbourne Cup:

  1. Own your style.

At the end of the day, a dress is just a dress until the wearer wears it with pride and confidence within herself. Know what works for you and use it to your advantage. Do not succumb to trends and what you think you should be wearing, rather shop with an open mind and find something that is true to you and your own personal style. Don’t settle – hold out for the piece that does not simply make you look beautiful, but makes you feel beautiful.

  1. Have fun with colour!

The Melbourne Cup is a time to enjoy and experiment. Don’t be afraid to wear something different – as long as you are embracing it, you can’t really go wrong. Fashion is all about expressing yourself and telling a story, so use this day to tell your story. Be bold, be brave, be beautiful!

The Cup is also a fantastic time to play with colour – whether that be by choosing the right one for your skin tone, experimenting with something a little brighter (or more subdued) then you would usually choose, or opting for the colour on trend. Personally, you can never go wrong with coral – a shade of pink for the grown ups!

<> at Flemington Racecourse on November 5, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Racing.

  1. Choose your heels wisely!

When choosing which heel to wear to the races you have three things to keep in mind. Do they look good, will you last the whole day, and, are they suitable for the terrain? Many women, myself included, can often fall into the trap of opting for a stunning shoe without really thinking it through. You can quite often be stuck on grass, so you might want to choose the shoe with a thicker heel or a lovely wedge. While the old saying goes, ‘beauty is pain,’ nobody wants to be the girl who is walking around barefoot. The Melbourne Cup is one of the most fashionable dates in the calendar – don’t be caught out. You should always put your best (suitably heeled) foot forward.

  1. Keep it simple.

While the Cup is a time for elaborate hats and headpieces – you should still stick to that very wise advice your mother would have told you: “take one thing off before you leave.” In the case of the races, your headpiece will most likely do the talking for you, so be very careful to choose accessories that compliment rather than clash. Less is most definitely more.

On this topic, you also might find yourself with the ultimate dilemma – hat or fascinator? While both are more than suitable for the event, I think it all comes down to the dress that you are complimenting and to personal style. In my opinion, the fascinator is a more modern take on racing fashion and it can come in so many wonderful varieties. It gives you more options with your hairstyle, and can be as showy or as reserved as you see fit. My tip is to choose something a little edgy – the whole point is to be fascinating, it is in the name!

  1. Pay attention to the dress code.

All three days of the Carnival have a dress code – so quite simply, dress to impress and dress within the fashion brief. That being said, the Cup is about expression and breaking the rules a little bit – so don’t be shy to stretch the guidelines. For example, every year we have a theme to wear black or white. I say you wear a little of both with a pop of colour on your lips and nails. Not everything is always black and white!

Further to this, as a whole, the event presents the idea that we dress appropriately and fashionably. That being said, there are always a few do’s and don’ts.

  • Do keep it classy. If you opt for a two-piece design, ensure that the cut is elegant and not showing too much skin. A midriff should be worn with a high-waisted partner. As mentioned earlier, always choose heels that you will last in – don’t be the girl who is walking around barefoot.
  • Don’t let your man walk out the door without a tie of some description. It has class, it shows respect, and it completes the suit.
  • Do get a tan if you want that extra colour. Don’t get it the day before. Nobody wants to be orange at the Melbourne Cup.
  • Do have fun! Dress the part and enjoy it – this event only comes around once a year.