It seems as though we just waved goodbye to the Spring Racing season when suddenly the Autumn Racing calendar is upon us! But that doesn’t mean that we don’t need a reminder on dress standards at the races. Let’s face it, going to the races is part sporting event, part fashion parade and attending either the Spring or Autumn racing carnivals is one of the few remaining bastions of genteelness in Australia. So gents, show some respect for the history and tradition of racing and follow the formal dress-code for the occasion. Here are some tips to keep you winning in the style takes as the autumn racing carnival gets into full swing:
Autumn Racing Suits
Suits should preferably be in navy or charcoal and if you can, incorporate pattern such as a pinstripe or windowpane to add a little bit of flair. Although you can get by with an everyday suit you wear to the office, make sure you’ve at least given it a dry-clean before setting foot in the members enclosure.
Autumn Racing Shirts
The races are the perfect event to wear a colourful shirt and perhaps something a little more flamboyant than you would otherwise wear to the office. French cuffs are the best choice here, as they are a little more dressy than button cuff. Unless it’s Derby day, ditch the plain white shirts and opt for pinks, purples and lilacs. As its Autumn racing, remember that grey shirts (such as Apex or Steel and Stripes) can look very sophisticated especially worn tone-on-tone with a charcoal suit – very on trend. Some examples from the Philippe Perzi Vienna collection are pictured below. From left to right in a clockwise direction: Herzschmerz, Viola Viola, Victor’s Geheimnis, Sachertorte to me, Viola on my mind, Fuchsia Fiasco, Greenback boogie, Gluhwein.
Keep your jacket on. If you’re in the members area, this is a strict rule from early April through to early October, but in our opinion, unless it’s baking hot, you should leave your jacket on as it just looks more polished and completes that put together, sophisticated look. Plus, you can show off your pocket square that’s been carefully selected to complement your outfit. Check out some of the Philippe Perzi Vienna pocket squares for inspiration, pictured below.
Wearing a tie to the races is an absolute essential. It’s the icing on the cake and is a great way of injecting colour, pattern and texture into an otherwise pedestrian outfit. If you’re used to wearing stripes and solid coloured ties, why not try wearing a paisley or tartan tie? Of course, polka dots, solids and stripes all have their place, but the Autumn racing carnival is the ideal event to experiment with something different from what you normally wear to the office. Some suggestions from the Philippe Perzi Vienna collection to get you off and racing are pictured below. From left to right, in a clockwise direction: Bergamo, Baroque, Prater after dark, Como, Blarney, Schildkrote, Parson’s green, Bellagio.
Shine those shoes. You can tell a lot about a man from his shoes and if yours have seen better days, it’s time to introduce them to some polish. Wing-tip Brogues or oxford lace-ups are the way to go – just make sure they don’t clash with your outfit. And it shouldn’t have to be said, but white shoes have no place at the races.
The devil is in the detail
Pay attention to the details. Accessories such as a flower in the button hole on your jacket lapel, beautiful cufflinks and a stylish watch are all you really need to make an elegant statement.
Whilst different racetracks have different dress codes – some being more formal than others, it’s better to err on the side of being more rather than less dressy. During the autumn racing season in Australia, whilst men aren’t required to wear a morning suit and top hat as in the Royal enclosure at Ascot (pictured in main photo), it’s hardly the picnic races or the Kentucky Derby, so you should keep your look classic, elegant and sophisticated…at least until the last race of the day…then all bets are off.