Vibrant colour and soft, luxurious satin are winners for Melbourne Cup race day.
Vibrant colour and soft, luxurious satin are winners for Melbourne Cup race day.

Fashions for on the field

IT is a foolish man who thinks the Melbourne Cup is really about the horses. But a wise man would put money on knowing that it’s all about the fashion.

Bundaberg fashionistas have been vying neck-and-neck to beat each other to the most stunning race ensembles, with boutiques all over town selling out of fancy frocks and fascinators ahead of the big day.

So what will fashion-forward women be wearing when they hit the field?

Desert Rose owner Tracey Festa said this season bright colours were the strongest bet for a winning outfit.

“It’s all about colour prints,” she said.

“There’s a lot of lovely soft satins, but it’s got to be edgy.”

She said women should be brave and flirt with a brighter wardrobe to stand out from the crowd.

“Don’t be afraid to mix colour and textures,” Mrs Festa said.

“Blues and blacks are in, but there’s a whole range of colour so it’s best to pick something that suits your complexion.”

Mrs Festa said the secret to a style trifecta was to team abstract prints with solid-colour shoes and a matching fascinator.

“There are a lot of exclusive prints out at the moment - the dresses look like walking art,” she said.

She said the Very Very asymmetrical print dress, as modelled by Ashley Clark, was a perfect fit for a modern race day outfit.

“One-shouldered, asymmetrical look is huge at the moment,” Mrs Festa said.

“One of the best things about it is that it looks good on everyone. It suits everyone from really petite ladies to those with larger frames.”

She said a wide belt to cinch in the waist was one of the must-have accessories for all types of formal and even casual wear at the moment.

“Wide belts are really prominent, and they can really help give an outfit an amazing silhouette,” she said.

While dresses are showing modern appeal with abstract print and vivid colours, Mrs Festa said classic shoes like the peep toe style were the pick of most stylish race-goers.

“Sling back peep toe shoes are a classic look that will never date,” she said.

“Anything with a platform is still very popular.”

She said it was vital to team up bags and shoes carefully, to avoid an outfit that looked too busy.

And men should not be tempted to slack off, with pinstripes and waistcoats the hot ticket to winning the hearts of fashionable fillies.“You can’t go wrong with a nice collared shirt and a waistcoat,” Mrs Festa said.

“Aim for a really tailored, clean and sharp look.”

Hotline Fashion Boutique owner Wendy Cheshire said many of her customers had gravitated towards warmer colours as the weather heats up.

“A lot of people came in after winter saying, ‘we’re so sick of black’, so they’ve chosen really colourful dresses,” Ms Cheshire said.

“Black will always be a classic, base colour but most people are adding a splash of colour with a bright blue or pink fascinator and matching shoes and handbags.”

She said vibrant hues such as fuchsia, tangerine, sky-blue, yellow and teal were a key component of a bright new style — and trend-setters are choosing cuts just as varied as their rainbow outfits.

“There are so many different styles at the moment — from shorter length race dresses to below the knee and maxi-dresses,” Mrs Cheshire said.

“Soft satins with deep colour are very popular.”

Mrs Cheshire said a race day was the perfect occasion to have fun with an outfit, and break all the rules.

“It used to be that you could only wear certain hemlines at the races, but now it’s all about looking good and expressing yourself,” she said.

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