Spring Racing Etiquette & Tips

Your guide to winning style this spring racing season at this Spring Racing Carnival time - Choosing an outfit for the races can be difficult at the best of times. You can go racing without having to dress in your finest, but big events such as the Sydney Carnival and Spring festivities provide the perfect excuse to frock up. Dress appropriately and stick to etiquette.


Date: Saturday, 4th November
General Rules: Kick-starting the Melbourne Cup Carnival, AAMI Victoria Derby Day is a strictly monochrome affair. The style brief is refined elegance; women wear a black-and-white mix, or opt for a one-toned ensemble. Headpieces are required; keeping the style in-tune with the day's traditionalist mood is a must (read: save the real showstoppers for Cup Day). Men should opt for tailored greys, with a classic black, or printed black and white tie.


Date: Thursday, 9th November
General Rules: Traditionally known as Ladies Day, Kennedy Oaks Day is all about feminine pieces in a springtime palette. Kennedy Oaks Day is about feminine silhouettes and pastel tones. Lace, florals and soft sorbet shades tend to be the go-to. Even though it's slightly more relaxed than the first two race days, upholding the Victorian Racing Club's dress standards is a must; denim is a no-go and midriff-baring outfits should be avoided. Sneakers, even those of the pastel variety, also make the banned list.


Date: Tuesday, 7th November
General Rules: The race that stops a nation calls for an equally show-stopping ensemble. Consider the track your catwalk and be confident in your choice of outfit–it's a day to embrace the extras; think daring brights, bold patterns and gleaming metallics. Headwear is essential, and varied, with wide-brimmed hats, silk turbans, oversized bows and embellished headbands making a play for best headpiece. If you've gone for pared-back luxury add a pop of colour through your accessories instead. As for the guys? Balance is key: team a striking tie with a classic shirt or vice versa.


Date: Saturday, 11th November
General Rules: The most relaxed day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Emirates Stakes Day still requires you to put your most stylish foot forward. While the family day's dress code is less rigid than the week's previous events, it's your final chance to revel in the glamour of the spring racing season. Think sophisticated separates, loose-structured silhouettes and subtle headpieces.


For SydneySiders Rosehill Gardens and Royal Randwick: For any race meeting held at Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens, the dress regulations in the Members' Reserve are:

Ladies: Are required to maintain a suitable standard in keeping with the dignity and tradition of the Members Reserve.

Gentleman: Are required to wear tailored pants, dress shoes, a collared shirt, tie and a jacket*, sports coat* or blazer*Jackets/sports coats/blazers are optional within the Members' Reserve during day light savings

Not acceptable:

  • Any form of the following footwear; joggers, sports shoes, track shoes, runners, sandals, 
  • thongs, dilapidated footwear, scuffs, gumboots or slippers
  • Shoes without socks
  • Jeans/denim, jodhpurs, shorts, or untailored slacks
  • Torn or ripped clothing unless designer accepted
  • Open neck shirts or shirts with no collar
  • Parkas, duffle coats, windbreakers, tracksuit tops, denim jackets, anoraks, tracksuits, 
  • peaked caps or beanies
  • For Men in VIP Pullovers or cardigans (without a jacket), rugby tops or football guernseys