Stay Ahead of the Pack with These Melbourne Cup Style Tips
The Melbourne Cup is right around the corner - a prestigious horse race with a tradition dating back to 1861. And like the race’s rich history, the storied sporting competition also has its fair share of traditions in regard to men’s fashion. For guys hoping to make this a casual affair, you might want to sit this one out. Whether you’ve got a prime seat at the Flemington Racecourse or you’re planning to attend a Melbourne Cup party, it’s time to turn your style up a notch.
Make Yellow a Part of Your Look
The official flower of Emirates Melbourne Cup Day is the yellow rose. You don’t necessarily need to show up wearing yellow from head to toe, but you need a sprinkle of yellow somewhere in your look. The good news is you have plenty of options to pull this off. Go for smaller details like a pocket square, tie pattern or even your socks. You could also settle for a yellow rose lapel pin. As long as there’s some hint of yellow somewhere in your look, you’re on the right track. For a bolder statement, layer a yellow woven dress shirt into your suit. Regardless of whether you keep things subtle or go over the top, just don’t forget the yellow.
Wear a Suit
Melbourne Cup Day isn’t the time to defy convention. A suit is a must, but the good news is that you can incorporate some serious individuality. Before you focus on how to set yourself apart from the crowd, you have to understand the basic requirements. You should wear a woven dress shirt with French cuffs. French cuff shirts are the only shirt styles that lend themselves to cuff links. They’re usually reserved for the most formal affairs. Thus, you need one for this event.
Your suit should fit perfectly. One way you’ll know this is how your jacket fits. About a half-inch of your shirt cuff should be visible beyond your jacket sleeve. And this goes without saying, but make sure your suit is in mint condition. This means no rips, tears or stains, and it should be expertly pressed. So make sure you work in a visit to your local dry cleaner in advance.
Also, prepare yourself for inclement weather if you’re actually attending the races. This tradition goes on rain or shine, and if you’re ill-prepared, the same can’t be said of your fate. Bring along a classic umbrella but avoid tech-inspired rain coats at all costs. They’ll take away from the classic aesthetic of your suiting look.
Two-piece or Three-piece?
When it comes to whether or not you should stick with the classic two-piece or more distinguished three-piece, there’s no steadfast rule. However, consider this - the best Melbourne Cup style draws from the classic style of yesteryear when men were always out to impress. A regular two-piece suit gets the job done, but a three-piece suit can elevate your look to the next level.
If you’re not too keen on the three-piece suit, try a double-breasted suit on for size. Instead of relying on a vest for some added depth in your look, the double-breasted suit adds in a sense of adventure all on its own. Choose bold accessories to keep this look alive.
Play with Color and Prints
Once you’ve got the basic rules out of the way, feel free to unleash your personality. One great way to do this is through color. Beware of the black suit: it’s boring, flat, and difficult to revive with even the boldest accessories. If you’re insistent on wearing traditional colors, opt for navy or charcoal. Both colors lend themselves to various shirt, tie and pocket square combinations.
Melbourne Cup Day serves as one day where the basic colors will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. Instead, look for suits in bold prints like windowpane or glen plaid. Buy them in colors like cerulean, teal, electric blue or burgundy. Don’t be afraid to mix a patterned shirt or tie with your suit. But don’t get carried away. If your suit pattern is bold, break it up with a solid dress shirt and subtle tie. And, vice versa, a more traditional suit calls for bolder shirts and accessories.
For most guys, Melbourne Cup style is all about the suit. Some guys opt for hats, but your look will stand on its own without one. For some key refinement, wear a bowtie instead of a necktie. And really play with your pocket square and socks. These pieces seem so understated but when factored into your entire look, they can help pull everything together. Just don’t fall into the trap of matching your square to your tie. It’ll make your look feel cheap.
And definitely don’t forget the best accessory of all – a perfectly white smile!
Melbourne Cup style is about injecting classic men’s fashion with new life and color. On the surface, there are some basic requirements, but once you meet those, you have free reign to create a race look that’s sure to keep you ahead of the pack.
Cover photo courtesy of KatarinaHats on Etsy