The Race Day Dresses to Wear This Spring Racing Carnival

There are a few occasions where finding the right dress is paramount; your school formal, your wedding, your big birthday event, and of course, the Spring Racing Carnival.

Spring Racing Fashion best dresses

If you’re an avid race-day goer and you attend more than one race day a year, you’ll be familiar with the unique stress of sourcing several different dresses for each day. 

Whether you’re heading to one race day or all four events, you’ll need a dress that lives up to the occasion. This is your ultimate guide to race day dresses to wear this Spring Racing Carnival.

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The Low Down on Spring Racing Fashion

When it comes to Spring Racing fashion, there are a few things to keep in mind, dress code-wise. 
As one of the most coveted seasons on the fashion calendar, the Spring Racing Carnival is for statement outfitting. Think silhouettes, hues, and prints that draw the eye. 

Rachel Gilbert, one of our go-to racewear designers, recommends sophisticated and chic dresses (read: steer clear of nightclub-esque cuts and designs).  

Generally, Gilbert recommends opting for hemlines below the knee and silhouettes with sleek, simplistic lines. 

It should be noted that the Spring Racing Carnival has a list of banned clothing items that attendees must not wear, including casual shoes, leggings, jeans, ripped clothing, leggings, and caps. 

You can read through the complete list of banned clothing items here to avoid any unfortunate fashion faux pas.

Spring Racing Dresses by Event

Let’s look at each spring racing event’s fashion guidelines.

Derby Day Races Dresses

If you’re heading to the Spring Racing Carnival for the fashion-of-it-all, but colour isn’t your thing, Derby Day is the event for you. 

On Derby Day, all patrons must wear black and/or white. As for a fashion brief, Derby Day requires something


Think sleek jumpsuits, structured midi dresses, two-piece pantsuits, and minimalist fascinators.  Shoes should be black or white, too. 

You could stick to the one shade head to toe or add a point of difference and opt for a white midi dress paired with black shoes and a black clutch. 

While outfitting is a strictly monochromatic affair, many opt for a pop of colour on the lips, eyes, or nails. A bold red lip, shimmery wing, or sparkling mani never goes astray.

Oaks Day Dresses

Commonly referred to as ‘Ladies’ Day’, Oaks Day is all about feminine styling.

From ruffled hems and floaty skirts to silk and chiffon fabrications, classically romantic designs make their mark on Oaks Day.

Indulge in soft pastel hues, spring-inspired florals, intricate prints, and delicate lace.

Where the Melbourne Cup invites statement styles, Oaks Day is more about subtle, understated elegance. For example, you might consider a chic headpiece rather than an exaggerated hat. 

Breezy, billowing silhouettes take centre stage at Oaks Day, so embrace your feminine side and slip into something extra special.

Stakes Day Dresses

In comparison to the other events, Stakes Day is a more relaxed event. It’s also known as ‘family day’, and is the only race day where you’ll see kids running about.

The dress code is equally as relaxed, but you’ll still need to follow the dress code rules mentioned above. It can be tricky to find the perfect balance between relaxed and elevated. Consider what you might wear to a daytime cocktail wedding, take things up a notch accessory-wise, and you’re on the right track for Stake’s Day.

Outfit-wise, look to floaty, breezy silhouettes or structured pieces with statement features, such as puff sleeves and bow detailing. 

This is your chance to go all-out on colour and print, too. There are a few key colours dominating the fashion space of Spring 2022, including

Hot Pink
Baby Blue
Canary Yellow

While comfort is key, you’ll still need to keep the sneakers and thongs at home. Opt for a wedged or block heel to avoid grass stumbles, or go for a simple sandal or ballet flat if heels aren’t your thing (or you’re going to be chasing after little ones all day). 

Larger hats are still very much welcomed accessories, but subtle fascinators also come into the fold for Stakes Day. Consider a chic, minimalist headband for something understated.

Fashions on the Field Dresses

If you’re a true fashion lover at heart, Fashions on the Field presents the perfect opportunity to showcase your styling talents. 

The Fashions on the Field competitions have been taking place since the 1960s. The competitions run across the entire Spring Racing Carnival, celebrating the tradition of trackside style and contemporary trends. 

Contestants often travel across Australia to participate in competitions, as do the celebrity judges. Fashions on the Field is also renowned for attracting significant media attention, so prepare for all eyes and cameras on you!

If this has piqued your interest, work out which race day speaks best to your fashion, and consider the categories you might like to compete in. 

You might be particularly drawn to one of the race day themes (minimalists and Derby Day go hand-in-hand), or you might like to challenge yourself with something outside your comfort zone.
Past winners have been praised for their creativity, individual style, attention to detail, and of-the-moment style choices. 

Your grooming and ‘deportment’ — your etiquette, your confidence, and how you stand and walk — will also be taken into consideration.

When choosing your outfit, go for something that is an elevated, exaggerated take on your own personal style. 

Depending on the race day you’re attending, you’ll either need to register in advance or you’ll be able to register on the day.

Dresses to Wear to the Races

You can never truly have too much fashion inspiration for the Spring Racing Carnival, so let’s take a look at some of the other race day dresses making an impact this season, crafted by some of Australia’s leading designers.

From Minis To Maxis


Osa Braided Mini Dress

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Birdie Mini Dress

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Rocio Mini Dress

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Vento Bustier Bubble Mini Dress

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Arienzo Asymmetrical Lace up Maxi Dress

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Constantina Gown

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Moondance Maxi Dress

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Renaissance Gown

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Spring Racing Outfits at David Jones

Now that you’re equipped with a list of race day dresses to wear at this Spring Racing Carnival, it’s time to find your perfect fit.

It’s essentially the fashion event of the year, so the Spring Racing Carnival deserves its very own category. Discover the Melbourne Cup Collection to shop the latest trackside-ready designs from leading Australian and International designers.

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