The Ultimate Guide To Spring Racing Style For Gents
With spring in full swing, so too is the racing carnival calendar, with the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup, Stakes Day and Crown Oakes Day all fast approaching.
Though fashions on the field tend to put women in the spotlight, when it comes to spring racing, there’s no excuse for men not to up the style stakes.
While — thank the lord — you’re not expected to wear a fascinator, you are required to look the part, with sharp tailoring, spring-appropriate accessories and impeccable grooming. Here’s how to nail race day style.
A suit is non-negotiable attire for the race that stops the nation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. As long as you follow the general rule of thumb of good tailoring, you can get away with a suit that has more personality than your usual nine-to-five corporate uniform.
Since it’s spring, you’ll obviously be most comfortable in lightweight fabrics. Avoid synthetics and heavy wools lest you melt in the heat. You’ll look (and feel) much cooler in linen, cotton and light wool blends.
When it comes to colour, you can’t go wrong with the classics of navy and grey. If you’re feeling adventurous, neutral tones of beige, brown or cream are appropriate spring suit attire, while subtly patterned suits in stripes or windowpane checks will make you stand out for all the right reasons.
Colour coordinate your shirt with your suit (white or light blue shirts go well with navy suits, while cream is best for brown or beige suits) for a polished look, or choose a patterned shirt (subtle stripes or dots are understated yet stylish) that mirrors the tone of the suit.
As any racegoer knows, the competition is fierce on and off the track. To truly make your style stand out, it’s all about focusing on the finer details of shoes, sunglasses, ties and even pocket squares.
You can’t go astray with the most obvious footwear choices of Derby shoes or Oxfords. However, in recent years, more casual footwear like loafers or even leather driving shoes have increased in popularity during racing season. Gucci’s classic leather loafers with understated horsebit detailing are a stylish choice — and they’re available in a range of colours sure to complement your suit. Alternatively, if you have a pair of suede loafers in earthy tones of forest green or taupe, now’s the time of year to bust them out — they’ll add a bit of flair to your outfit while still looking polished.
As it’s spring and the sun is (hopefully) shining, it’s a great opportunity to show off some new shades. Follow the usual rules when it comes to choosing the right sunglasses to suit your face shape (round faces look best with squared off frames, square faces suit round frames, and those blessed with oval faces can pull off frames in any shape). The key here is to wear a frame that complements the colour of your suit — silver-framed Ray-Ban aviators are a classic that look especially good with a grey suit, while on-trend round sunglasses such as this tortoiseshell style from Oliver Peoples are a no-brainer for a cream or beige suit.
When it comes to a tie, avoid the usual suspects you wear to work. Instead, choose a vibrant colour, a bold pattern or a knitted tie to add some visual interest to your look. If you’re wearing a patterned suit or shirt, opt for a plain coloured tie and vice versa.
A pocket square is the perfect finishing touch for your race day look — just follow the cardinal rule and choose a colour that contrasts with your shirt, tie and suit, rather than one that matches it exactly.
Often overlooked but always impactful, grooming is the final step in making sure your race day look hits all the right notes.
Pop into your barber to make sure your cut is fresh, and if you sport full facial hair, get a professional beard trim to make sure you look your best. An eyebrow tidy is another great way to instantly look more polished.
Indulging in a facial at this time of year will ensure you slough off any dry winter skin that’s hanging around and will help you put your best face forward on race day and beyond.
(Lead image: Flemington Race Course/Facebook)
Published 16 October, 2018