This is Part 3 of a 3-part blog series where I show you how I made my three 2018 Spring Carnival outfits pictured below.

In this post I’ll share how I created my Oaks Day outfit. You can also check out my two previous posts on how I made my Derby Day and Melbourne Cup outfit.

milano imai 2018 flemington spring carnival outfits

My 2018 Spring Carnival Outfits – Left to Right: Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Oaks Day

Starting with a Hat

My Oaks Day outfit started with a hat. The hat I had made by Peacock Millinery to match my pleated dress. I absolutely loved it and was super excited to wear it. I rarely ever start with a hat, so this was a fun challenge for me.

oaks day blue crinoline hat peacock millinery

Image @peacockmillinery

Last minute as usual and only two days out from flying to Melbourne, my options for finding an outfit were limited. I needed to work fast! I had a cream tulle dress in my wardrobe, designed and made by Andrew, that I had worn to a few events earlier this year.

milano imai fashions on the field judge

The first time I wore this dress was in February when I judged the Viva Prix De Fashion competition in New Zealand. I wore it again when judging at the Emerald 100 races.

I tried it on with my hat, thinking the tulle and crinoline would work well together and was very pleased to see it looked beautiful with my hat.

oaks day blue fascinator with white tulle race dress

Finding my Accessories

I was lucky enough to already have blue heels, purchased with the intention of wearing them with my Cup Day outfit, and they were the same colour as the hat.

dusty blue high heels in box

I had a pale blue belt from Adorne, which I bought a few years ago for $7 and found it was also a good match. As most of the outfit was found tucked away at home somewhere, I managed to save some funds…thank goodness. My limit for race day outfits had expired!  

Continuing with the sea theme, I found some starfish and shell earrings at Lovisa. I purchased two pairs of earrings from Lovisa, the first were $18 and the second pair were on sale for $7. I mixed and matched the two pairs to use the two bigger earrings from each set. Everyone thought the star earrings were Christie Nicolaides, which are around $300, so it was fun telling everyone they were $7!

sea theme starfish shell gold earrings

I decided to try finding a clutch in Melbourne because I was out of time.

Spotting a Sale in Myers

When in Melbourne and on the hunt for a clutch, I wandered into Myer in Melbourne City and saw a stunning white Alex Perry Dress hanging on the sale rack. It was made of the most beautiful white fabric, textured with sequins on it.

shimmering white fabric textured with sequins

I couldn’t help but think it reminded me of sand or coral- which would suit my hat. It was $400 reduced from $2000!

The only problem was, it had a big black velvet panel on the waist and was a size 12. I knew I would be able to replace the black panel with something, patch over it or even possibly sew it onto my original tulle dress- this sort of thing is my specialty.

white and black alex perry dress from myer

I decided not to purchase it, but showed my mum and brother, who both agreed they really liked the fabric. My mum offered to trade me the $500 Myer gift card I won on Derby Day for it.

Cutting up a $2000 Gown

I ended up purchasing it the day before Oaks Day, then went to the nearest fabric store I could find and purchased some white lace, white tulle, pins, needles and thread.

cutting white lace fabric

That night I got to work, nervously unpicking the skirt and bodice, which took forever. Then I pinned the skirt onto my (already existing) tulle dress and widened two pleats on the back to take in the waist, changing it from a size 12 to a size 8. I hand stitched around it.

The bodice, I kept as an additional piece that sat over the top of the dress, as it didn’t need to be sewn down. I liked the way it appeared to be an overhanging piece.

oaks day dress diy fashion design modifications

Then I started on the bust area, where I had removed the black velvet from. As the original tulle dress was a cream colour, I used the white lace (with a layer of white tulle underneath) to patch the area.

I cut out random shapes and sections of the white lace I had bought and pinned them on, until the area was covered. I had only purchased 40cm of lace, but it was JUST the right amount.

sewing white lace pinning to oaks day races dress

So, how did it turn out?

I was very pleased with the end result, mainly because I hadn’t just cut up an Alex Perry gown for nothing!! And I got to bed at a reasonable 3am.

Having the new white dress instead of the cream tulle dress meant that I could use my Cult Gaia bag again, and at $500, I was happy it got another outing. The mother of pearl sheen complemented the sequins in the dress fabric.

I didn’t try on the outfit until the morning of Oaks Day, so I was SO pleased to see it all worked together. Phew.

2018 oaks day outfit milano imai hallway of house

Rozi made me another epic bun with swirls around it.

hair by rozi races hairstyle hair do

I even placed top ten!

2018 spring carnival flemington oaks day milano imai

white oaks day dress with blue peacock millinery hat

white dress blue millinery crinoline milano imai

Image: @wendellt

And that’s the story of how my Oaks Day outfit came together!

If you missed my previous two posts, you may also be interested in seeing how my Derby Day and Melbourne Cup outfits came together ☺


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