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Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival: The winners and losers in the fashion stakes

Posted: Oct 17 2014

The fashion event on the Australian calendar which stands out for most is the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne. It is spring’s declaration of this year’s hottest looks for the season. Outfitting for the races are taken quite seriously, even when a dose of clever humour is thrown into the mix of the overall look. On the other extreme, there are those who view these races as an opportunity to don a comic outfit and get absolutely intoxicated on cheap booze; if you belong to this category, stop reading this article now as it doesn’t concern you, actually just leave this webpage and never return as it has contents you could not possibly understand.

While some are excitingly confident with their choices of outfits for the events, there are many just as confused with the possibilities swishing around like a psychedelic haze in their heads. So we thought we would give you the heads up with this season’s fashion hot tips along with the cardinal rules of dressing for Spring Racing 2014.


The suit

Let us say this again, loud and clear; Spring Racing is a “fashion” event!

A corporate suit will not do – a work suit is a work suit and nothing else, even if you add a fancy shirt and neckwear into the mix.

A fashion suit is definitive by fabric, fit and style.

Linens and cottons are choice fabrics for this season.

Fits are kept slim without being tight; make sure the length of both body and sleeves are perfect for you.

The shirtsleeve cuffs must show below the jacket’s sleeve hem.

I have recently spotted certain Spring Racing advertisements, which department store and menswear label I shall not mention, failing to pay attention to the sleeve-cuff detail: not a good look!

Prints or plaids are key hot looks.

The double-breasted jacket is strongly featured on all the international runways.

Design details are classic. Please burn any jackets with any contrasting binding on lapels, or better still, donate them to the guys in Master Chef – they are still wearing them since season one.

The make quality of any sports coat both in construction and finish is primary to any criteria based selection.

Golden rule: nothing will save the outfit if the fabric or make is of poor quality.

Separates are really cool, meaning: a sports coat worn with a contrast pant.

One could create such exciting outfits with various combinations!

Overall, get some colour happening! Colour, colour, colour….

Come on guys, it’s spring!

Blacks and greys are for the Amish!


The shirt

Choose a shirt to complement the suit or separate combo that you are wearing.

Stay clear away from the business shirts. Like the corporate suit, the business shirt is NOT a fashion item.

A slim but comfortable fit is preferred. Nothing is worse than a super tight shirt!

Make sure the sleeve length is perfect to show under the jacket’s sleeve hem.

Design details are kept clean, and please, no body paneling and contrasting ribbons or binding on plackets or collars! Just because the chain stores are seasonally regurgitating that look doesn’t mean it is still on trend.

Prints and checks/gingham are still popular on shirts.

Whichever you select, just make sure it works in harmony with your jacket and that they are not screaming at each other!



Pure silk, linen or cotton is what you need to look for in neckwear. Any polyester fabric of sorts will leave you looking like someone from the bottom of the administrative pool!

Tie width should be between 7cm to 8cm. Send those skinny ties to the salvos, you should have done that at least a few years ago.

Floral prints are massive this year, taking over from plaids and checks.


If you are wearing a bow tie, make it a self-tie. You will be able to tie one after a few runs with the tutors on you-tube. The self-tie is the only acceptable way for men to don a bow tie, with emphasis on “men”. When sporting a distinctive “look”, the components must be authentic or you will just look like a “try hard” who do not know exactly what the “look” is all about.

So, if you are thinking of wearing a pre-tied bow, don’t bother leaving the house.

Note: DO NOT match your pocket square to your neckwear, work it to your shirt instead.



Mid tones in tan, olive or blues are still very popular for shoes.

You can’t go wrong with a Derby or Classic Brogue.




It’s a spring event, which means cotton, linen or straw hats.

Nothing could be more wrong than wool hats in spring/summer.

Flat-caps or brim-hats? Either will work, as long they are of traditional styling made with a classic fabric and finish.

The Panama hat (in cream or off-white) is the “hot-hat” this year!

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