Whether you are a Cup Carnival addict, heading to the track for each of the major race meets, or whether you admire the fashions from afar, it is always worth keeping an eye on the style brought to us by Fashions on the Field.
Why? Because the styles showcased at Flemington are often an interpretation of the wider trends for spring summer. Plus, you get to indluge in a little crazy fashion voyerism, mad hatter style. And seeing who pulls it off and who doesn't can be just as entertaining as the watching/listening to the nail biting (and near impossible to pick) Melbourne Cup race itself!
This is why we've enlisted a fashion pro - who always pulls it off - with the creditials prove she knows more than a thing or two about style: not only has she worked for such big names as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Nina Ricci in Paris over the past few years, she has also won the title of Fashions on the field in 2006! Here is Sarah Schofield and her top tips for looking the part this Melbourne Cup Carnival...
Sarah, Melbourne Cup Day, 2011
'I entered Fashions on the Field for the first time in 2006 with a dress and hat I made myself, it was the first time I had ever been to the races and I was hooked!'
Sarah's winning outfit, Oaks Day, 2006
Working in the fashion industry and as the winner of fashions on the field in 2006, you must have a great love of racewear! What is it that you love about getting dressed up for the races, and racewear style in general?
I love the races! It is such a fun chance to get dressed up and spend the day with friends. I especially love that is is almost the only remaining occasion that you can go out wearing a hat and gloves, you can have fun with a look that is more over the top, and not everyday. It's like dress-ups for adults!
How do you plan your race day outfit? Hat first or dress first?
I think they come together at the same time, the hat and the dress need to compliment each other. I make my own outfits, so often I think of the theme first. For instance, this year I am wearing black and white leopard print on Derby Day - but it took a long time to think of the hat to match!
The headpiece is often the most difficult item for women to choose when dressing for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. What advice do you have when it comes to choosing hats, fascinators, headbands and everything in between?
I think anything goes. I have seen girls look great with things as simple as a necklace worn as a jewelled headband, or all the way to very intricate couture millinery. Everything can look great, depending on your personal style and how you make it work.
Sarah at Derby Day, 2008
Headpieces can also be notoriously expensive. Is it wise to pick an investment piece or a more budget friendly option?
I don't think you need to spend a lot on a headpiece, you can find lots of options out there which are more budget friendly. I also encourage girls to get creative and make their own! You can easily buy some flowers, vintage brooches, or some chic veil and make your own - then nobody will be wearing the same as you, and everyone will be impressed at your skills!
Which accessory do you think is the one to experiment with this year? Shoes? Clutch? Hat? Gloves?
I think shoes are always a great accessory, they can be the highlight to your outfit, and then can be worn again to many other occasions. Just remember that if you buy new shoes you should wear them in a bit before attempting to stand in them all day! And I usually bring flats in my bag to wear home on the train.
What inspirations are you drawing on for your race day style this year? Do you stick to the themes of the different days?
As I love to enter Fashions on the Field I generally find myself drawn to wearing something which in in the traditional theme of the day. I try to make something in back and white, but with a fun twist for Derby Day. Bright colours and patterns are great for Cup day, and then something more feminine for Oaks. There are lots of great looks which are perfect for the races, this year I am really liking bright colours and strong digital prints. I am also sticking to more streamlined shapes, tight fitting and maybe with a peplum look for this year.
Sarah's entry for this year's Fashions on the Field People's Choice Award
A dress with a tropical floral digital print,
A black hat with lime green and fuschia orchids and black veil
Black vintage bag and gloves and shoes from Siren.
Sartorially speaking, what do you think is the biggest mistake women make when dressing for the races?
I think that the biggest mistake is looking too over-done! The races are in the daytime, so too much make-up and over-styled hair doesn't look right. I think it is best to keep it sleek and modern. I believe in all situations that you should look gorgeous but like it didn't take any work! Confidence and a natural effortless look is best.
Of course, beauty items often need to be toted trackside too! What are your beauty clutch essentials for when you are there on the day?
I always take my lipstick, and a small compact with a mirror to check how your make-up is faring. Also, if you are going to go for a vintage look with false eyelashes, it is good to bring the little tube of glue with you just in case, a day at the races can be long and can stretch into the night!
'In 2006 I was very lucky to win the National Final. Since then I have entered the competition on other years but have not made it to the final. Hopefully this year will be lucky for me again, fingers crossed that I can get some great support though the online voting for the People's Choice Winner, who goes straight into the National Final!
I graduated from RMIT Fashion in 2009 and then spent a year studying accessory design at the Institut Francaise de la Mode in Paris, since then I have been interning at Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Nina Ricci. I am currently looking for a new position in Paris - and trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up!' - Sarah
Thanks to Sarah for sharing her amazing tips! Are you heading to the races this year? Which day will you be attending? Make sure to travel with Metro train - the easiest way to get to the track.
Click here for journey planners and timetables, and don't forget to visit the bellabox and Metro Style Crew at Flinders Street Station to score your own goodie bag of raceday beauty essentials. Click here to learn more! - Lauren