The Evolution of Raceday Fashion

With the buzz and excitement around the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival in full force, we've decided to take a walk down memory lane, taking a look at the past eight decades of raceday fashion. From bonnets and stockings to mini skirts and bright florals, find out how trackside trends has evolved over the years from the 1940's right through up until today!


Raceday fashion for women in the 1940's was very conservative, always including a pair of gloves and stockings. Their tailored suits, inspired by Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’, were matched with a bonnet or sailor-shaped hat.


The hat, stocking and gloves stuck around in the 1950s, but the tailored look of the 1940's was swapped for full skirts and cropped jackets. A structured handbag slung on your elbow was the finishing touch to every ladies outfit.


1962 saw Victoria Racing Club’s introduction of the first ever ‘Fashions on the Field’ competition at Flemington – marking a pivotal moment in womens’ raceday fashions. After model Jean Shrimpton shocked the nation in her mini dress at the 1965 Melbourne Cup, we started to see more mod shift dresses and mini skirts trackside. Spring Racing Carnival headwear also began to make more of a statement – with the general consensus being ‘the bigger the better'.


In line with 1970's fashion trend - florals, maxi dresses and knee-high boots also made their way into raceday outfits. Men were opting for their on-trend flared trousers and statement lapels over a classic suit.he bigger the better'.


Navy and nautical, shoulder pads and stripes, puffy sleeves and perms – these classic ‘80s trends made their way down the Fashions on the Field catwalk. The 1980s was a time of power dressing during the economic boom.


1990's raceday fashion was all about donning your brightest outfit during Spring. We saw two-piece suits, extravagant hats and pearls trackside during this era. The most notable ‘90s Spring Racing Carnival fashion moment being when Fleur Olssen won Fashions on the Field wearing a bright yellow dress that her mother had worn back in 1972.


The 2000's gave racegoers multiple millinery options with the introduction of the fascinator in addition to the more traditional hats worn in previous decades. When it came to outfits, everything was to be matching including lots of print on print – even in menswear.


When you can order your outfit from the click of a button and fashion inspiration is on every platform you look to, it’s no wonder that everyone is sporting the latest designer collections and trends trackside in 2016. It has become a chance to let your own personality shine through your outfit and an excuse to get dressed up for a day at the races. The fashion options are endless – you could sport a jumpsuit, midi-dress, two-piece suit and pair it with a straw hat, flower crown or delicate headband. Even the men have become more fashion-conscientious, with slimmer suits, pocket squares and thin ties or bow ties. The style stakes have also been upped, with Fashions on the Field winners receiving anything from luxury cars to large cash prizes, making curating your Spring Carnival raceday look a potential investment.