Lisa Tyler is the founder and creative director of REVIEW Clothing Australia. REVIEW is known for their ladylike silhouettes, youthful and vibrant designs, and vintage pieces. Here, Lisa provides the basics of dressing for the races — especially useful if you’re new to racing fashion.
Where do I start when putting an outfit together?
It is important to plan your outfit around what sort of Spring Racing event that you’re attending. Decide on what dress you would like to wear and then coordinate the fascinator or hat only after you’ve decided on your dress. Just remember, it’s a day event so it’s important that your outfit selection is modest and appropriate.
What are the rules for racing fashion?
Outfits should be modest, tailored and day-appropriate. Ensure necklines are not too low-cut and no midriffs are showing. Keep hemlines in proportion: low-neck dresses should have hemlines that fall on or below the knee to achieve a classic and elegant look. Sleeveless dresses are ok, but décolletage should be kept minimal in contrast. Ensure the fabric and fit of the dress is tailored and feminine.
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How should I dress for specific race days?
Racing fashion has a distinctive look, but there are significant details for the different major race days.
Melbourne Cup is all about colour. One-colour dressing is a key theme for this day. Colours such as cobalt blue and strong depths of red are a bold choice and will make a statement. Bold and bright prom dresses are also perfect for Melbourne Cup.
As Oaks Day is an event for the ladies, romantic florals and soft pastels work well – these outfits must have a feminine touch: floral prints with soft coral, mint and aqua blue shades.
For Derby Day, outfits must be black and white. However, you can always play with coloured accessories.
What are the rules when it comes to headpieces? When should I wear a hat but not a fascinator, and vice versa? What should the material and colour be for spring carnival?
Fitted silhouettes should be balanced with a large hat to make a statement and in contrast, a prom dress should be styled with a small hat or headpiece. Fascinators should always be worn on the right side of the head. Colours will depend on the event and also the colour or print featured on the dress.
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What should I start with — my dress or my headpiece? How do I match them to each other?
Pick your outfit first, and then match your hat or fascinator accordingly. If wearing a printed dress, select a fascinator based on a key colour from the print. If you’re wearing a solid colour, a black hat is great way to make a statement. Champagne and nude-coloured fascinators compliment a brightly coloured dress.
How do I stay comfortable?
Wear shoes that you know are comfortable and to consider what sort of surface you will be walking on (grass or gravel). Consider the best type of heel for the surface you’ll be walking on just to ensure you’re not going to be sinking into the grass as you walk along.
Cropped embellished boleros are perfect for keeping warm and capes with sleeves are also a classic and elegant option to cover up for cooler temperatures.
How should I choose my accessories?
Keep jewellery to a minimum as your hat and dress should do all of the work. Handbags must be comfortable to carry for the whole day. Clutches look great but ensure you have one that carries everything you need (phone, lipstick, keys etc). In contrast, don’t choose an oversized bag, either!
What should I do for makeup?
Think about the colours you are wearing in your outfit and go for a complimentary makeup look. Soft and pretty feminine looks might only require a rosy pink gloss lip. More statement look in blacks in black and white might warrant a bold red or pink lip, but always think about what suits your skin tone.
“Getting Dressed With Lisa Tyler of REVIEW Clothing Australia.” This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Track Mode is a horse racing and fashion site founded and curated by Nina O’Brien. Find more spring racing dresses and racing fashion inspiration in our Ultimate Guide to Spring Racing Carnival 2016, or skip straight to What to Wear to the Races. You can also subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to get exclusive race day fashion edits straight to your inbox, and be friends with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.
You can find more spring carnival dresses on the REVIEW website.