It’s that time of the year again..Spring Racing, a time when any retailer can bump up their collections by 30% and still see them walk out the door, a time when putting multi coloured feathers and novelty oversized hats on suddenly becomes acceptable and a spray tan fog mist fills the air.

Hats on, (spray) tan off and remember to share your champange. Photo: Mark Smith.

The Spring Racing carnival gives us females the opportunity to stand around in 14 inch heels from dusk to dawn..providing that is that one is included in some form of ‘pre- races champagne breakfast’, which although may seem like a brilliant idea in the morning, may not work to your benefit by 3pm.

A day at the track can be enjoyable, however, it can also be an horrific ordeal ending in blisters, smudged mascara and crusts of what was your lunch smeared on your cheek.

Having attended the races for many years I have quickly learned the ‘dos and don’ts’ when it comes to a day at the races, so here is my essential guide to surviving the Spring Carnival.


Wear colour, unless of course you are attending Derby Day, in that case, respect tradition. Any other race day on the other hand, embrace the prints, florals and block colours. A typical Melbournians wardrobe consists of black, white, grey and more black, so take the opportunity to step out in something that is a colour..not a shade.

Opt for wedges over a sky high heel, they’re on trend, will stop you from getting constantly stuck in grass and will be able to get you through the day without feeling to urge to amputate your feet..and don’t stress, they will make your legs looks just as good as any stiletto can! 

Dress for the weather forecast, if it’s going to be cold take a jacket, if you don’t want to take a jacket, take a throw. If it’s going to be warm wear sunscreen because nobody wants to hear you whinge all day about the weather doesn’t always have to be pain!

One champagne, one water, one champagne, one water…in the wise words of my Grandmother, ‘there’s nothing more unattractive than a lady who cannot hold her drink and advertises it to a crowd’. 

Wear a fascinator..a hat..gloves..take an oversized clutch..pull out those pearls and bright red lipstick you’ve always wanted to wear..have fun with it!

Remember playing dress ups as a 5 year old? The Spring Carnival is the one time of the year when we are allowed to do this again in public! 


Wear lycra, sequins or a body con micro mini, these statement pieces if you can give them such a description belong in a Gold Coast nightclub…not the race track.

Take your hat or shoes off until you get home or are in a taxi, If you put sky high heels on the start of the day suck it up and see it through..and hat hair is a real, frightening thing that should stay behind closed doors.

Overdo your tan, we can tell it’s not real, so can the judges for fashion on the field.

Carry around a bottle of champagne, it’s not a good look, share it around, you will thank yourself that you did!

Any day at the races is a long day, so be kind to yourself and make it enjoyable!

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Disgusted. says:

      06:20am | 01/11/10


      This serves to reinforce gender stereotypes in a bad, bad way. Real women aren’t dressing up and watching horses. They’re elsewhere playing their own sport or working on their careers.

      God help us if wearing a facinator or being ‘on trend’ is what society thinks women should worry about.

    • A.K.A. says:

      08:13am | 01/11/10


      She isn’t saying go out and get smashed, she isn’t even suggesting you go (not that you’ll be missed by the sounds of things).

      She is giving some tips for those girls out there who take a day at the races for what it is, a fun day out with friends which is an opportunity to dress up and be a bit glamorous.

      The only tip she could have been criticised for leaving out was around betting and that is to make sure you don’t lose more than you can afford to.

      I am sure “girls” wearing heals won’t be as comfortable as you are in your Blundstones though.

    • bec says:

      07:22am | 01/11/10

      Things Bogans Like did this far better last week. Particularly their line “impartial observers have theorised that the scale and gaudiness of a female bogan’s fascinator is an inverse measure of the female bogan’s ability to fascinate a bystander once it opens its mouth.”

      I’ll pass on the races, as I have every other year of my life. It doesn’t mean I won’t be vomiting into a potted palm somewhere else, though.

    • BK says:

      08:11am | 01/11/10

      They also described fascinators that look like a “Nissan Patrol hit a galah”.

    • thatmosis says:

      07:55am | 01/11/10

      Just goes to show how shallow and easily led some women are. Its melbourne Cup day, lets all go out and but $1000 worth of threads to wear once and pose like primadonas. Want more proof, have a look at the sheep who rushed the stores to buy Stella wear at less than $300 an item last week because she is a so called star in fashion. Its amazing to watch the way women are pre programmed to not pass a dress shop or shoe shop without having to have a look or buying an item they dont want because its on “special” although they have a closet at home busting with one use items or even some with the tags still on them.

    • J.A says:

      09:37am | 01/11/10

      I’m going and I hate clothes shopping!
      I spent $2 on a dress from an op shop and another $40 getting it tailored, a far cry short of $1000.
      Not all women are like that, but each to their own I say.

    • Shaking Head says:

      08:10am | 01/11/10

      This gambling festival is marvelous, sport with an emphasis on flower arrangements, TV celebrity tents and the TAB.  An alcohol fueled betting binge in the cold wind and rain of a Melbourne spring, with the dumbest of dumb toffs and bogans near enough together to be treated as one united drunken mass of self indulgence.  No wonder the horses shake their heads.

    • Anna says:

      10:21am | 01/11/10

      Well written and a good laugh. As for the feminist, lighten up sweetheart!

    • stephen says:

      10:31am | 01/11/10

      The one on the right
      has a nice overbite.
      ‘Tis true ; frock, hat,
      right down to the shoe’.

    • Jade says:

      11:15am | 01/11/10

      How bitter, twisted and judgmental some of the women commenters on here are. Really, how does it make me less intelligent, less legitimate or less unique that I happen to enjoy getting dressed up in a pretty dress and some beautiful shoes and going to a lovely day to drink champagne and experience a wonderful tradition?

      I question why there is such vitriolic hatred and bigotry directed at women, just because you choose not to indulge in this particular pastime? I feel very sorry for anyone who is that infuriated by the choices of others that they feel a need to bully and belittle them over the internet.

    • stephen says:

      11:33am | 01/11/10

      Which one are you ?

    • Nicole says:

      01:27pm | 01/11/10

      @stephen, clearly someone who knows how to have a bit of fun. Oh, and probably looks fab in a dress too.

    • Jade says:

      02:03pm | 01/11/10

      hey thanks nicole - my reply was below - somehow I didn’t reply properly raspberry.

      And I think I go alright in my dress - I’m sure you do too wink.

    • jade says:

      11:57am | 01/11/10

      I’m the type of person who believes that just because someone may enjoy something conventional, it should not make them the object of ridicule or hatred.

      I like getting dressed up and going to the races. I enjoy the pomp and pageantry of a good raceday. I don’t understand why that makes me a “bogan” or deserving of the criticism I have seen from some commenters.

    • Steve Putnam says:

      07:22pm | 01/11/10

      I used to take my daughter to Randwick when she was younger. Though she hasn’t developed her father’s love of horses, I think it gave her an opportunity to observe adult female behaviour close up and form her own opinions as to its dos and don’ts.
      Hope you back a winner this Tuesday sweetie!


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter