You don’t have to be trackside at Flemington to enjoy the festivities of the ‘race that stops a nation’. Melbourne Cup day is a great day to gather with your friends. Be sure to enjoy a delectable lunch and then watch the event unfold on the big screen. Wondering what to wear? Here’s our guide to Melbourne Cup Dresses 2018.

Cup Day Dress Codes

The Melbourne Cup is a fabulous opportunity to dress to impress, but don’t forget you also need to impress the management! Down at Flemington Racecourse where all the action takes place (and at most racing clubs), there are strict dress codes. For women, it is decreed that “Ladies are expected to maintain a suitable standard in keeping with the dignity of the Members Enclosure”. This means no runners, joggers, sports shoes, thongs (the footwear kind), slippers or anything ‘delapidated’.
If you decide to wear pants, make sure they are tailored. No jeans, tracksuit pants, leather pants, leggings or shorts allowed! And while jumpsuits are definitely in this season, the Flemington guidelines advise against wearing a short one.
No matter how many crunches you have been doing at the gym, the members’ area at a racecourse is not the place to show off your abs. The dress code usually frowns on exposed midriffs. Finally, strictly no denim! The Melbourne Cup is an upmarket event and members must dress accordingly. Surprisingly, there are no strict stipulations about hats but you’d definitely feel underdressed without one during a big event.

Memorable Melbourne Cup Outfits

Ever since Jean Shrimpton dared to bare her knees (…and hands, and head…) in 1965, the event has been the stage for trend-setting. Likewise ‘cup day’ has always been a magnet for celebrities. 2003 was also a year to remember. During her first visit to Australia, the then uber-famous Paris Hilton flaunted the ‘no midriffs’ rule, as only a celebrity can. Her attendance ushered in a new era of international guests in the exclusive Birdcage marquee.
Since then, famous guests have mostly displayed good taste and adhered to the dress code. Dita Von Teese is one celeb whose look was to be admired. She wore a demure cream and lilac ensemble featuring a stylish arrangement of orchids. Joan Collins’ 2011 outfit was a little more over the top, reflecting her days on Dynasty with extreme puffed sleeves.
Perhaps one of the most outrageous looks to ever appear was Gabi Grecko. She attended on the arm of Geoffrey Edelstone in 2014. Her get-up resembled that of a Las Vegas showgirl, with a sky-high headdress, fingerless gloves and a clown motif. This particular ensemble set off lots of muttering about ‘money’ and ‘style’ not always being closely related. It was just like her hubby did back in the 1980s.

Inspiration for Melbourne Cup Dresses 

For some what-to-wear ideas, grab your phone. You can turn to Instagram to check out what the latest celebs and fashionistas are wearing. You’ll no doubt notice a few trends which you can reference to be in vogue this year. Pinterest is another online destination for Melbourne Cup Dresses 2018 ideas. While there, you can also search online for what people have been wearing to other spring carnivals around the world.
When it comes to your own outfit, stay true to yourself and decide on something which reflects your personality. And don’t forget to check what your friends are wearing! You don’t want the horror of a ‘who wore it best’ competition.

Where to buy last-minute

Finding that perfect Race Day outfit can be tricky at the last minute. If you are looking for a frock or fascinator that is sure to stun, don’t fret, pet! There are still several options either instore or online. Forever New – either online or in Erina – is a great choice for a classic and feminine dress or elegant jumpsuit. This outlet also has a range of fascinators to pop in your shopping bag.
At a higher price point, the gorgeous Alannah Hill is another popular boutique. There is a stunning range of dresses and fascinators ranging from bold florals to fun flamingo prints. Boutiques are located in Sydney and Chatswood if you can make it to the city. Alternatively, you can go for express shipping (just be sure to get in quick).
The Iconic also has a gorgeous range of frocks ranging from modern to boho for your Melbourne Cup Dresses in 2018. They also stock some eye-catching headpieces from brands such as Morgan & Taylor and Kitte. Express shipping ensures that you can get your frock sooner rather than later.
If you’ve *really* left it to the last minute, you still have some other options:

  • Dress up your little black dress with a statement necklace, scarf or belt. Then duck to your local florist to get some colour coordinated fresh flowers attached to a comb or hairband. You can wear these in place of a hat or even attach them to a hat you already have with a few well-placed stitches.
  • Borrow a dress and hat/fascinator combo from a stylish and similarly sized friend.
  • Visit your local thrift store and snap up a vintage ensemble, or raid your Mum’s or Grandma’s wardrobe for some vintage gold
  • Do a discount chain fashion hack – pick up an inexpensive dress for around $20 and then take it to your local craft or haberdashery store. You’re sure to find something magical that will transform it.

Melbourne Cup Dresses: Fashion Dos and Don’ts

Race day is the traditional realm of people who are a little bit ‘fancy’. For this reason, a more conservative style is favoured over short and revealing ensembles. With that being said, don’t be afraid of making a statement with your fascinator or hat. Large and avant-garde millinery is always on trend for any cup day function.  This is the one day a year when you can really go for gold without feeling out of place.
Shoes also offer the opportunity to make a statement. Just remember that if you are going sky-high, you should be prepared to grin and bear the discomfort — a lady never removes her footwear.
Take a small handbag to complete your Melbourne Cup ensemble and make sure there is room for a few handfuls of cash – you may end up a big winner!

Race to the Melbourne Cup event at Mingara

Grab the last remaining tables at Indigo – Eats, Treats and Bar today. Book your table here. Share the fun with sweepstakes, watch the race in The Lounge and be entertained with live entertainment from 1pm. The Roasted Berry will also be open for an all-day breakfast or light lunch.
We’ll make you feel as though you are right alongside the action down in Melbourne!
Melbourne Cup day at Mingara is the perfect opportunity to dress to impress and celebrate this fun annual event with your friends.