A man's guide to race day style
Whether you're attending the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, the Melbourne Cup or even the Australian Turf Club's Epsom Day, then you'll need to look your very best. We asked some of the best designers and retailers what trends and styles men should be adopting this year. From the conservative to the bold, we've had some great suggestions for suits, shirts, ties, shoes and accessories for Spring Racing Carnival
In this guide you'll find the sound advice of M.J. Bale, Godwin Charli, Myer, Aquila, Cecil Shirts and Topman to help guide your path to Spring Racing Carnival glory.
"We see a continued return to masculine elegance, in particular wider lapels and ties. In suiting, gents can't go wrong with a French blue, an updated take on the classic Navy suit. But for the more adventurous we are challenging our customers to wear highlight pieces, distinctly different from what might be seen in the office or the boardroom – loud windowpane checks, double-breasted styles, mix and match tailoring.
"Spring Racing is, on the appropriate days, a great opportunity for Australian men to demonstrate their sartorial individuality. In shirting, a classic white or pale blue with a spread collar are the fail-safe options, but those looking for some punch can bring in a check or wide stripe.
"For ties, a knit tie is always a nice point of difference. In terms of the colour or pattern of both, we generally advocate bold shirt – soft tie, soft shirt – bold tie (say, a bright shirt offset with a classic navy silk tie), unless you are Lapo Elkann, in which case we'll see you there in your matching 'camo' shirt, tie and double-breasted jacket combo.
Oh.. and don't forget your pocket square, a Spring Racing non-negotiable accessory."
"Spring Racing 2013 will see an explosion of individualism through the endless play on separates. Drawing on a heavy influence from Europe, the clash of textures will feature prominently amongst the fashion elite, with carefully executed combinations of wool, cotton, linen and silk. Be on the look out for cheeky use of colour through hankies, socks and ties, more notably the use of pastels such as green, pink, yellow and orange.
"And for the traditional suit wearer, nothing can beat the brilliance of blues on offer this season. Don't be shy to flirt with lighter hues and even accessorise with some denim-flavoured dapper (but be sure to leave your jeans at home!)."
"We see two key Spring Racing trends for 2013. Trend #1: Blue. The hottest hue is blue. From aqua and indigo to ink and bleached. Think blues from day to night in casual wear and sharp suiting. Brands doing great blues include Dom Bagnato, Arthur Galan, Hugo Boss, McQ by Alexander McQueen. Trend #2: Riviera. It's all about French Riveria for men this season, with tailored dressing and light suiting. Think stripes and the colour palette of red, white, navy and black. Dom Bagnato, Arthur Galan are flying the Riviera flag this Spring Racing Carnival."
Myer's Do's and Dont's for racegoing gents:
* A good quality suit is paramount. The suit's cut should compliment your build. A slim-fit suit looks great on a lean guy, however other cuts such as a European cut suit tends to flatter most shapes. Single-breasted suits work best and definitely two buttons is the go.
* A colourful shirt and tie combination with a smartly knotted tie brings the whole outfit together. Don't be afraid to wear colour.
* Accessories are the key to bring your suit to life and make you look sharp. Consider your options of a hat, cufflinks, gloves, pocket handkerchief, belt, tie, sunglasses, watch and a flower in your buttonhole. A serious fashionista will always wear a hat, a flower in your buttonhole and a smart pair of leather shoes.
* Always make sure your shoes are clean and polished. Try to avoid shoe styles that are chunky or have a thick rubber sole. Leave the work boots and white Saturday Night Fever shoes at home.
* To stand out from the pack, don't be afraid to mix up patterns and styles. Go for a pinstripe suit, with a checked shirt and stripe on your tie.
"Gents will be leaning towards cottons and linens in lighter tones and textures. Varying blues, textures and patterns, mid/light greys, earthy tones, coloured and sandy pastels will been seen throughout the 2013 Spring Carnival. Colour blocking jackets and trousers when paired correctly will be a winner.
"We are seeing the double-breasted jacket with bold coloured buttons becoming a popular option. People are moving away from slimmer lapels, the wider option is still having a resurgence. Shirts with cutaway collars are continuing to be popular; it provides great lines from the neck and accentuates the tie knot.
"Accessories-wise, the finer details will count this season. Pocket squares are a must, gents can have a little fun here – bold prints, checks, spots, stripes, two-colour piping. Ties – knitted silk ties or something with texture will put your best foot forward."
"Spring Racing Carnival is the flagship event that stops a nation in style. This year, like most, there are signature colours that add to the flavour of the day for men. Aquila has focused on a fresh palette of colours for a more directional look. Light Blue Blazers, striped shirts and coloured shorts will define a look for the more dashing modern lad. A selection of premium 1958 multi-coloured slip-ons always finishes this look. For the more discerning thoroughbred modern man, a crisp, dark suit with striped shirt and a fat knotted tie will work wonders. This season also sees a trend of tan shoes sweeping all European countries. We recommend a stylish tanned Monk Strap shoe to finish the look."
"Key style directions for this Spring/Summer shirting fabrics centre around structured fabrics (think Oxfords, Houndstooths, Twills) layered upon the classic structured details of suits and ties. As with the broader fashion trend, we are seeing neon and fluorescent accents, either all over or subtly as as part of the subtle detail of the shirt.
"Checks are prominent – ranging from micro ginghams through to large window pane and two-tone checks. Following from more recent seasons, you will also see more closed collar styles and the ongoing trend of button-down collars, worn both casual and in a more formal sense."
"When it comes to gearing up for the Spring Racing Carnival season, we will see Australian men take on a European street-style influence more than ever – straight out of the candid shots of Italy's Pitti Uomo. Contemporary blue suits with detailed accents, pocket piping and skinny fits are common. Others will embrace the warmer weather and sunshine by incorporating relaxed yet smart separates, mixing and matching blazers to balance trouser or chino options. Confidence in men's fashion is at a peak, so we should see guys braving brighter colours, too.
"Ties range from heritage-style wool to more polished, skinny looks fastened down with a tie clip. It's a chance to shake up the mundane business attire and bring personality to the surface. Opt for bold colours and patterns, and balance with a softer shirt, or vice versa.
"With the reprise of men putting their best foot forward, shoes should not be forgotten. Rich tan brogues or double-clasp Monk styles commend our forefathers and complement the Old-World tailoring mentioned above. Many guys opt for an injection of colour through muted stained leather in forest greens and deep-sea blues. With the take-off of polished Sports Luxe we will no doubt see some high-end trainers incorporated into our tailoring, however this is not easily done." For any Melbourne customers seeking reassurance or advice, Topman will host a Spring Racing Prep Night on Friday October 18. Hosted at Topman's Chapel Street Personal Shopping Suite, it will include a panel of experts to assist with dressing and grooming.
"Spring Racing is a good excuse to step away from navy blue and experiment with bolder tailoring, but I'd advise caution – shiny fabrics and loud prints are, as ever, best avoided. I'd go for a classic style with a twist, like Alexander McQueen's patchwork tweed blazer, paired with a plainer tailored trouser. Or use colour to make a departure from the norm – I love the rich teal used in Paul Smith's one-button suit, which is eye-catching without being an eyesore.
"The other option is to keep the suit classic and use accessories to make an impact. Those in the know will opt for a monk-strap shoe over the usual lace-up; Tod's does a particularly elegant version. A printed tie or a (subtly) patterned pair of socks also make a nice twist – though I'd go for one or the other, never both. And those feeling particularly dandyish could opt for a flower tie-pin from Lanvin, which would look suitably sharp worn in a blazer lapel."
"So far this season we have noticed that men are putting more planning into their race day attire, shopping for their outfits weeks in advance to ensure they are fully prepared for race-day, as oppose to leaving it to the last minute.
"Worth noting trend-wise is the departure from the traditional stripe, which has been replaced by checks and florals. Check in particular is making a resurgence thanks to the likes of Tom Ford, Brioni and Pal Zileri who are leading this charge with their range of suiting, shirts, pocket squares and ties.
"Blue appears to be the colour of the season, again with Tom Ford, Brioni and Pal Zileri featuring the hue in their spring collections. A wide spectrum is represented from pastel blue and navy, to bright blue and teal. For the perfect hat we suggest opting for a Panama-style small-brimmed straw hat such as those by Borsalino. Matching hardware ties it all together. If you are sporting a gold watch and cuff links, choose a gold tie pin over silver. As for the key for the ultimate essential accessory, it's the pocket square – prerequisite trackside attire."
D'Marge is one of Australia's most popular men's style and fashion blogs.