Melbourne Cup ladies fashion

Spring racing events are the perfect opportunity to play with colour | Source: Fabulous Femme

The Fashion Guide to the Spring Racing Carnival Season 2021

Since 1875, Australians have donned their finest frocks and fascinators on the first Tuesday of every November for ‘the race that stops a nation.’ And even though Melbourne Cup day is technically about horse racing, the fashion on the field gains plenty of attention too. A chance to dress to the nines, Melbourne Cup day is often as much about the fashion as it is the race. At least for some of us.

With the spring carnival racing season already upon us, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to nailing your outfit this Melbourne Cup.

Key Dates

Despite the Melbourne Spring Carnival officially kicking off in October, it’s the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Flemington that attracts national attention with the crown event being the Melbourne Cup.

Victoria Derby Day: October 30 2021

Melbourne Cup Day: November 2 2021

Oaks Day: November 4 2021

Stakes Day: November 7 2021

Style Forecast

Traditionally, racewear attire for women involved strictly modest midi dresses with full skirts and high necklines as well as traditional millinery and plenty of florals. While florals will always be a staple in spring racewear attire, ladies attending spring racing events like this year’s Melbourne Cup day can venture beyond modest frocks. Mini dresses, asymmetrical necklines and blazer dresses have all been popular race day fashion choices throughout the past few years, and 2021 will be no different.

In terms of spring fashion trends, we’re likely to see the usual suspects: pastels and florals. However, this spring carnival season we’re expecting some particularly bold block colours like the trendy shade of Fuschia we’ve been seeing everywhere. Along with dresses featuring cut-out details and more understated headband-style fascinators, balloon sleeves and A-line dresses could be a winning combination we see this carnival season.


Although fascinators featuring lace are a race day staple, more comfortable and subtle headband styles will be a popular choice this year. From textures bows, velvet headbands, this year we will see plenty of colours and simplicity in juxtaposition.


At the heart of the trends for this festival will be bold looks paired with cut-outs dresses and ruched taffeta sleeve dresses with plenty of character. For those who prefer a more neutral palette, muted pastels and florals are a stylish alternative to the dressing head-to-tea in a bright shade.

Shoes and accessories

There’s no better time than spring to experiment with colours and accessories. This Melbourne Cup day we’re likely to see pops of pastel in the form of classic pumps and staple clutches.


With many race day looks involving asymmetrical or high necklines, opting for statement earrings rather than a statement necklace is a popular accessory choice. With recent jewellery trends giving brassy gold and pearls their time in the spotlight, you can’t go wrong with earrings like these.

For more inspiration on spring racing and the best events to attend in Perth, you will enjoy our coverage of The Best Melbourne Cup Day Events in Perth.

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