How does one resist the urge on Melbourne Cup Day to dress up? The answer is… you don’t. You get flexible, you recreate – and you go for glamour.
In our marvellous Sunshine Coast manner, fashionistas, friends, family, and those who enjoy a dress-up and a party have produced their own celebrations and they’re doing it in their own style.
In a region better known for thongs and sarongs, it’s the day of the year when locals turn on the style. Traditionally, it’s the day to do your own thing. Think cool and classic, fun and floral. Or, you can put together an array of op shop vintage – the trick is to wear it with aplomb.
Take your costume cues from the stunning Melbourne Cup fashion story that throughout the years, has been shaped with equal amounts of elegance, outrage, and futuristic thinking.
In 1965, English model Jean Shrimpton outed a gloveless, above-the knee-frock style. I have read that Ms Shrimpton was surprised at Australia’s response to the outfit, which in a nutshell, amounted to a collective, “What the (bleep) was she thinking?”
Later on in the 21st century, the progeny of that generation were once again, let’s say alert (but not alarmed) when American import Paris Hilton strutted her especially brief stuff across the same trail as Jean Shrimpton, and met with a lesser, though similar simper of shock and horror.
Of course, these figures are obviously chosen for their controversial appeal. There is the playful and frivolous element that cannot be quashed. Who could not admire the handsome man who doffs a top hat to team up with boardies?
I love the ladies who mix and do not match their stripes, dots and oranges and pinks. My female friends always find their own sort of fabulous.
At home, in the office, in the shops and at the seaside, let’s step up, get silly, smart or snappy and show off our best selves the way we have been doing since time began – with flair and fun (and perhaps a tad of champagne and canapes).
If you’re inspired to get started and are looking for ideas, please read on and take your tips from a list of Coast fashionistas and fashion houses.
Race day fashion
Nikki Miller, owner of Buderim fashion boutique Sedgwick’s, comments on how we have all been underwhelmed by a year of dullness. So, this year, she would like to see Melbourne Cup day bring forth some brightness and beauty into our lives.
Ms Miller feels that despite a change of entertainment styles due social restrictions, there is still an air of excitement around and women have not forgotten the art of investing in a special piece, nor of creating their own events.
“A number of our customers are holding their own garden party,” she says.
Ms Miller sees dressing up as creating positive energy and advises: “Dress up because you feel good and enjoy it – and if you do that, then someone else will surely share the good feeling.”
This year’s style features a 1970s influence. Think wide-brimmed and floppy hats. Fabrics of soft pink and blues in florals. Accessories are giving an individual look to the popular tiered dress.
“You can dress the tiered dress up or down and they’re trans-seasonal. You can change the look by cinching in the waist with a woven belt. Or even buy a ribbon and wrap around your waist,” Ms Miller suggests.
“If you select a plain fabric, then you can team it up with a set of big, funky earrings.”
In terms, of shoes, it’s all good news. You do not have to wear high heels to look fabulous. Ms Miller says slip on wedges, kitten heels or elegant flats.
Anthea Nichols of That Shop for Her at Bli Bli, is delighted by one aspect of this year’s recent turn of events.
“There’s no pressure about being the best at the track,” she says.
Instead, she says her customers are enjoying at-home events with friends and family.
“It’s more of a personal experience to be enjoyed.”
Ms Nichols, describes her boutique as ‘middle of the road’ in price and style, says women are really dressing to suit themselves. She says customers are favouring traditional pairings of white with navy, black with a splash of vivid pink or black and white. Alternatively, her store features outfits in pink and blue floral pastels together with dusty, earthy tones.
Of course, a Melbourne Cup day fashionista is not a starter without appropriate headwear.
This year, milliner Sandy Aslett says her selection has been more based on intuition than a study of trends.
“There’s been so much uncertainly this year,” she says. “I’ve listened to my gut feelings and besides the pink and blue pastels, you will find a range of bright colours.”
Tracy of Hats by Tracy Mac has a wide-range focus and reminds you of choices that include pillboxes, veils, sculptured pieces and boaters.
Whatever you choose to wear on Melbourne Cup day, just make sure you feel good wearing a wonderful creation and have a fantastic day.