Spring Racing Julia Roberts

RACE DAY READY

Who remembers the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts goes to a polo match in a brown polka dot dress? That to us epitomises the perfect race day outfit: timeless (note the comparatively dated Richard Gere!), chic yet comfortable, sophisticated yet relaxed, effortless and natural. Unless you’re competing in Fashions on the Field (in which case perfection is the name of the game) there’s nothing worse than a try-too-hard outfit come Spring Racing Carnival. Same goes for heavy make-up, orange tan and the spiky-stiletto waddle. In other words, dressing up for a daytime event is a whole different sport.

CUP CLASSIC

For the Julia Roberts vibe, check out this spotty dress by Zimmermann, and for a more retro take on the dot, Ted Bakers shift (right) is, in our humble opinion, charming enough to get away with a shorter hemline. For some classic inspiration, look no further than Georgia Fowler (left) at the Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes Day last year.

Georgia Fowler

Georgia Fowler

GO WITH THE FLOW

Flounce on into the carnival in flowy fabrics and ruffles, because this is spring after all! Alice McCall has a shin-grazing sheer floral dress that will have you dancing from bookie to grandstand and would look super cute with a straw boater (wide brim might be overkill). For the brave and quirky out there, Gorman’s ‘Constellation’ dress would look drop-dead styled with a ‘Frida Kahlo’ oversized floral headband – or play it down under a star motif ‘crown’.

STRUCTURE YOUR DAY

If flowy is not your thing, wow in fashion architecture; drapery at Camilla and Marc (right) or structural at Ginger & Smart. And although spaghetti straps can be frowned upon in the members’ area, we think the mid-length and serious design credentials of this C/MEO Collective dress (left) will help you find a loophole.

C/meo Collective dress

C/meo Collective $219.95

Camilla and Marc silk dress

Camilla and Marc $599

DERBY WAYS

You can play it safe at the black-and-white-themed Derby Day or you can stand out from the crowd. For the former option, try this sweet lace midi dress by Ginger & Smart or a classic stripe by Cue. For the latter, knock their socks off in mind-swelling opticals at Ginger & Smart, an off-the-shoulder Spanish lace confection by Karen Millen (right) or this micro-lace sensation (left) by Rebecca Vallance.

Rebecca Vallance dress

Rebecca Vallance $799

Karen Millen ivory dress

Karen Millen $495

COLOUR YOUR DREAMS

The little girl in you will drool over this pink and frilly Rachel Gilbert showstopper. If you crave bold colour but need a less (ahem) pink option, this dress by Cue is still very feminine in blue broderie anglaise.

GARDEN PARTY

Get carried away by the spring theme with floral and botanic motifs, since both have been so huge in recent seasons. We love this ’50s ‘new look’ style Karen Millen dress (left) complete with embroidery and sash. And can you imagine this C/MEO Collective ‘fernery’ dress (right) with heels and a gold headpiece?

Karen Millen floral dress

Karen Millen $495

C/MEO Collective dress

C/MEO Collective $219.95

A NOTE ON FASHION ETIQUETTE

If you’re not sure how high your hem’s allowed to creep and you’re set on wearing a mini, you might get away with it if the bodice balances that flesh-show with a more conservative cut. We recommend this one in virginal white lace by Seed (right) or this divine take on a Chinese jacquard by Zimmermann (left). Cue does a similar jacquard in midnight blue, but it hangs a little lower down the thigh for those who don’t want to risk it!

Zimmermann deep red dress

Zimmermann $425

Seed Heritage ivory lace dress

Seed Heritage $199.95