Months of preparation, hours upon hours spent trawling the internet for outfit inspo and the perfect accessories, online shopping, consults with milliners, weekly trips to shopping malls, DIY tasks, sewing, finding hair and makeup artist’s, sleepless nights trying to piece it all together in preparation for what is almost every race enthusiasts favourite time of year; Spring Carnival.

I have attended Spring Carnival in Melbourne for the last 6 years and I LOVE it. It’s what I look forward to every year, the highlight of my racing calendar.

I love vibrant spring fashion and the platform to showcase your outfits at what is the ultimate FOTF competition- the Myer National FOTF Finals.

spring carnival history

Here, all the state finalists from throughout the year, gather on Oaks Day, to (hopefully) be crowned the national winner (and take home the Lexus). It’s also everyone’s last chance to get in on the action and become the Victorian State Finalist.

myer spring carnival fashions on the field

Image credit: @flemingtonvrc

Here is a little overview of my week in Melbourne and how my outfits came together.

Getting to Melbourne

On Friday November the 3rd, I set off to Melbourne with 3 suitcases, a hat box and a garment bag in tow. No easy feat when you are travelling alone. The suitcases fell off my trolley three times, but I got there in the end.

travelling to melbourne

fascinator in luggage

As you can see my millinery above was too big to fit into a box to carry onto the plane and I didn’t want to risk a box getting squished, so I decided a suitcase was my best bet…

how to pack millinery

Air pillows,found at the post office, are fantastic for making sure your hats don’t move around in the boxes.

For those of you wondering how to transport all of your hats (for me, usually three or more), try stashing two hats into one hat box (if it’ll fit) and making that your carry on luggage. An extra lightweight, hard cover suitcase should hold another hat box and a loose hat.

You might run into trouble with the whole one-gal-too-many-suitcases-not-enough-arms situation though. Also, be sure to check how many suitcases one person is allowed to take.

The Park

The Park was created two years ago and hosts the Fashions on the Field enclosure, a band enclosure, some food stalls and rides- almost like a mini carnival.

Fashions on the Field Flemington Racecourse
There are some beautiful locations to have photos taken and the Pony Bar is fun to gather in afterwards for drinks and catchups.

photography models racing fashion enthusiasts

Derby Day

The first event for Spring Carnival week is Derby Day, held on Saturday the 4th of November.

I had been planning my Derby Day outfit for a few weeks after finding some striped fabric at Spotlight for $2.50 a metre!! Bloody bargain. I purchased an unnecessary 10 meters… whoops haha.

races fabric sewing DIY

I drew up a quick sketch of what I wanted and booked in with Gwenda, (my old TAFE teacher) from Sew N Design.

sew design

I did study fashion design myself, but must have been off with the fairies for the best part of two years as I’m a terrible sewer and can’t pattern make. *face palm- oh how much easier my life would be had I learnt.

Together, over the course of two days, we made patterns and sewed the skirt together. I decided to add tulle to my skirt as I’m really into that trend this year, and liked the way it made the flounces in my skirt stand out.

racing fashion design style

how to make outfit

I got my friend Andrew Semple to make the bodice, but as we were doing a last-minute fudge job, we couldn’t be bothered putting in any boning. Instead, I decided to sew it to an old corset I had. It actually worked out really well and we were pleasantly surprised.

racewear fashion black white top

black white tulle frills race dress

Originally I wanted to wear a tulle top under the corset, however it wasn’t working with my hats.

The Hat Dilemma

Months earlier I had contacted Davin Lynch, a milliner in the UK, to make me a hat for Derby Day. I didn’t know what my outfit was yet, but loved her style and wanted a piece from her. Once I had the idea for my outfit planned I wasn’t sure if it would all go together, but stuck with it anyway.

It arrived the week before I flew to Melbourne, and although it was amazing, it just wasn’t right for my outfit. I’m saving it for a special race next year instead.

racing fashion

So, this left me with 3 days to find another hat.

I asked around on Facebook and checked on Millinery Market. I was eyeing off one hat I found for hire and was super lucky it happened to be nearby-ish. Postage time allowance meant I wouldn’t receive it in time. I had to collect it myself.

rent a hat fascinator

I used Pic Collage to see how it would suit. I liked it!!

edit races photo

A quick 3-hour round trip made at 11 o’clock at night, the day before I set off, resulted in this stunning Allport Millinery piece from Emma. Thank you!

millinery market pickup hat

I tried it on the next day and couldn’t believe my luck!! A perfect match.

outfit preparations

Trying it on with some make-shift straps.

My new hat inspired me to make some matching straps. I cut up an old leather belt to match the leather in my headpiece and made two more off-shoulder arm straps out of the striped fabric.

leather belt DIY upcycle

Success. I really loved the way my outfit had turned out.

outfit preparations race day

rent millinery hire fascinator

Hair Files

I always book in for my hair styles with the FA-BU-LOUS Rozi from @hairby.rozi . I cannot recommend her enough!!!

I have used her two years in a row now and she delivers the most epic hair do’s ever! She can visual