Vintage Race Wear – Fashion History



This year is the 152nd running of The Melbourne Cup. It’s known as the “Race that stops a nation” and is worth over $6,000,000 this year! It seems only natural to take a closer look at vintage race wear and it’s fashion history while getting ready for the big race tomorrow.

50 years ago The Melbourne Cup increased it’s appeal to women by starting “Fashions on the Field” as a way to gt more women to the races and interested in the day. Needless to say, it has been a huge success and gets more amazing every year. Each of the four days of Spring Racing Carnival draw crowds of around 70-100,000 and almost every lady is decked out even if they aren’t competing in the Fashions on The Field. The entire week is a huge boost to women’s retail as each day calls for a different look. Which means, dress, hat, shoes and bag at a minimum!

The first Saturday is Derby Day, as we saw yesterday it’s all about classic black and white. Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day, this year especially, is more about brights and colour.  I’m expecting lots of neon with neutrals and a fair bit of colour blocking. Thursday is Oaks Day, also known as Ladies Day. Oaks Day tends to be more girlie so this year I am thinking it’s going to be about the floral trend. It’s also usually more floaty and flirty. The week wraps up with Emirates Stakes Day on the second Saturday. Stakes day is Family Day. The focus is more on the young ones who still strut their stuff in Fashion on the Field. For Adults it’s a little more fun and relaxed. This is where I like to see a little more whimsy in race day look.

I’ve brought together a few photos of race days past so you can enjoy the evolution of race wear.

Early Race Day Fashions

Early Race Day Fashions

HatsFine Millinery-1899

Hats Fine Millinery-1899

Race Day Attire - 40s

Race Day Attire – 40s

Classic Race Day Attire

Classic Race Day Attire

I love this photo of the ladies in their check dresses and coats waiting in line to place a bet!

At the 1964 Melbourne Cup

At the 1964 Melbourne Cup

Back when a lady still wore gloves and stockings when she left the house.

1971 Melbourne Cup Day winner Fashions on the Field

1971 Melbourne Cup Day winner Fashions on the Field

1983 Fashions on the Field

1983 Fashions on the Field

OMG! The sleeves on that green dress could house a family! And the dress on the right is shapeless?? What is up with that?

1998 Fashions on the Field

1998 Fashions on the Field

Seafoam green – this colour is making a comeback…and I have to admit, I rather like the feathers. I could live without the bow on the hat though.

Anything more recent wouldn’t really be vintage race wear so I think that concludes our fashion history lesson!

Hope your horse wins.





About astimegoesbuy

Just a middle-aged woman with a love of fashion trying to have a purchasing fast. Spending 90 days dressing out of what is already in the wardrobe.If I can't shop for clothes, I may as well write about clothes! View all posts by astimegoesbuy

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