22 Ways to Wear Black & White for the Races | Derby Day Fashion Inspo

22 Ways to Wear Black & White for the Races | Derby Day Fashion Inspo

Fashions on the Field competitions are often guided by a theme, the favourite being “Black & White”.

The biggest Black & White theme day is Derby Day, during Spring Carnival. There are also “Black & White” race days at other locations, which sometimes incorporate a twist, such as “Black & White – with a Touch of Red,” just to keep us on our toes.

Some of you might feel that being limited to two colours means looking like everyone else, unoriginality, or boredom. But it’s quite the opposite.

It’s so exciting to see the many different ways ladies interpret this theme. The different silhouettes, prints, fabrications, textures, embellishments and trims can all help to create a unique and original look.

To celebrate the “Black & White” theme, in this post I cover:

22 Different Ways to Wear Black & White for the Races

Part 1 – Deciding which parts of your outfit will be black or white


1) All Black

Black on black (on black) is very statement, very chic and not at all boring. Tying in some interesting shapes to your design, like a feature sleeve or layered hem, or finishing off with some stand out millinery will rock this look!

black on black monochrome


2) All White

I also love the look of all white. The trick here is to incorporate textures, an interesting silhouette, design or mix of fabrics.

Derby Day All White Outfit

Image credit: Angela McCormick


3) All White – Black Accessories

Brodie won the 2014 Myer FOTF competition in an all white Maticevski dress, adorned with black accessories. Simple, yet elegant.


4) All Black – White Accessories

The other way around…make black your base colour and add some white in your shoes and clutch. Perhaps a little less popular but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying out. Done well, it looks super stylish.

A post shared by Megan O’Dwyer (@megan_odwyer) on


5) White Dress – Black and White Accessories

Wear an all white dress/ensemble and mix up your accessories with a combination of white and black. White shoes and a black clutch (or vice versa) and millinery that is black and white.

A post shared by Em Scodellaro (@emscodellaro) on


6) Black Dress – Black and White Accessories

Well, the alternative to number 5! I love how Elizabeth has incorporated a sheer fabric, which gives her outfit depth as well as lightening up the overall look of being all black.

Elizabeth Charleston Black and White derby day

Image via @elizabethcharleston


7) Black and White Dress – Black and White Accessories

Mix it all up and have a black and white outfit, with black and white accessories. The contrast of the black and white panels with the different fabrications is stunning.

A post shared by Elis Crewes (@eliscrewes) on


8) Colour Block – White Top Black Skirt

Pair a white blouse with a black skirt. This look is very chic. I would have fun with the skirt, making it quite full, or layered.

A post shared by Alice Bright (@alicebright___) on

A post shared by Em Scodellaro (@emscodellaro) on


9) Colour Block – Black Top White Skirt

Or maybe you prefer the look of having white on the bottom and black on top…

Part 2 – Decide if you will Incorporate a Print

10) Checkered / Tiled Print

If I am wearing black and white, I LOVE to use a print in my fabric. This is also a great opportunity to clash prints.

derby day tiled print top

Image credit: Peta MB


11) Floral Print

Nothing says Spring Racing Carnival like a floral print, even if it is in black and white. Feminine and stylish.

A post shared by Ashley Hart (@ashleyhart1111) on


12) Striking Stripes

Stripes are bold and brave, and can really create an interesting look when they fall in different directions.

A post shared by Richard Shaw (@richshawphoto) on


13) Polka Dots and Spots

Polka dots have always been a popular choice amongst prints. They’re fun and you can choose a wide variety of sizes and placements.

A post shared by MYER (@myer) on

A post shared by Lucinda D’art (@dartofdesign) on


14) Big Print, Small Print

I love the look of the same print in two different sizes. It’s much more effective than wearing the same print all over. In the photo below, Crystal shows us how it’s done (perfectly) with big leopard spots on top and smaller ones on the bottom.

A post shared by Crystal Kimber (@crystalkimber) on


15) Same Print, Inverted Colours

My ever-so-clever dress maker Andrew, came up with the ingenious idea of sewing the top of this dress inside out, which made the print inverted! I love the subtle difference and it definitely took this dress to a whole new level.


Part 3 – Think about Fabrics and Textures

16) Mix up your Fabrics

When you are limited to two colour options, a fun way to spice things up is to use different fabrics. You can incorporate some lace, leather or mesh into your outfit, using it as a feature, or in a panel.

This is my Derby Day outfit I wore a couple of years ago. I opted for All White. I used a combination of mesh, leather and embroidered triangle fabric that I wore on its own, with a backing behind it to give two different looks.

I love the look of different textures and fabrics, I think it is much more effective than if I had used one fabric all over.

17) Lace and Sheers

Lace is a great fabric to use in any racing fashion outfit. It looks luxurious and sits well.

A post shared by MYER (@myer) on

A post shared by MYER (@myer) on


18) Overlay a Feature Element

Embellish your white dress with a black feature over the top. You can do this quite easily yourself by adding some flowers, lace, PVC or 3D elements. If you think your dress is lacking some WOW, give this a try.

A post shared by Elis Crewes (@eliscrewes) on

black leaf overlay on white race dress

Image credit: @stacie_galeano

A post shared by Wendell Levi Teodoro (@wendellt) on


19) The Modern Pant Suit

Don’t be scared to try something a bit different. Pant suits are popping up at race courses more than ever.


Part 4 – How to Approach the ‘Black, White and a Touch of’ Theme

20) Add Grey to your Black and White Outfit

Grey is quite acceptable to incorporate into a black and white outfit. In fact, Courtney (who you will see in the past winners section below) won the 2015 Derby Day Fashions in a grey mesh full skirt.

A post shared by Richard Shaw (@richshawphoto) on


21) A Touch of Metallic

Metallic is a fun way to jazz up a black and white outfit. Experiment with a metallic belt, gold shoes, gold bag, or use metallic in your millinery.

A post shared by Get Racy (@getracy) on


22) A Touch of Red

There are some race days where red is incorporated with the black and white theme. For example, Stradbroke Cup at Doomben race course has this theme every year and it is always fun to see how the ladies choose to interpret the “touch of red” into their outfits.

The most common way is to wear a black and white outfit and use red in your accessories, like your shoes, millinery, clutch etc.

Red doesn’t have to be a major component of the outfit. In my Stradbroke Cup ensemble, I only used red in the two quills on my hat, on my brooch and my lipstick.

Although if you want to, you can use red as a main element.

What Worked for our Previous 14 Derby Day Winners

Let’s take a look at all of the past Derby Day winners to see what was popular with the judges…

2017 Derby Day Winner

Montelle Modello from Victoria, 26, wearing a stripe asymmetrical feature skirt and black blouse and accessories.

Montelle, a first time Fashions on the Field entrant won judges over with her monochromatic ensemble featuring an asymmetrical stripe midi length skirt, black top, with folded fedora by UK milliner Sophie Beale, and black closed-toe pumps and clutch.

Montelle purchased everything online, her skirt from America, millinery from the UK and was eagerly waiting just days before hoping it would arrive in time.


2016 Derby Day Winner

Gunita Kenina from Victoria, 28. Wearing Vezzano Couture Custom made dress and millinery.

Gunita wore a black satin, knee-length dress with white panels overlayed with lace, featuring a peplum. Her millinery was a matching lace free-form design with a feather feature. She completed her look with white closed toe pumps, white gloves and a black hand held bag.


2015 Derby Day Winner

Courtney Moore from Victoria, 22, wore a bespoke Miss Lynda dress and millinery by Moore Millinery.

Courtney pulled off a monochromatic look perfectly with a voluminous full skirt made from a mesh overlay over a black skirt making it appear grey. Her top had a matching mesh panel on the sleeve. The black collar, gloves, bag and belt were a great touch and she softened the look with white pumps.


2014 Derby Day Winner

Brodie Worrell from Victoria, 25. Wearing a Toni Maticevski dress and Felicity Northeast Millinery.

Brodie wore a stunning structured all white Maticevski dress and opted for mostly black accessories. Her closed toe pumps, gloves and bag were black with a white and black percher featuring large feather flowers and mesh petals.


2013 Derby Day Winner

Ashleigh Albanese from Victoria, 21. Wearing a dress and millinery she made herself.

Ashleigh opted for an off white mullet hem dress with white shoes, black bag and a white and black boater with a cream flower. Simple and elegant!


2012 Derby Day Winner

Lisa Wellings from New South Wales, 40. Wearing a Toni Maticevski dress and Liza Steadman millinery.

Lisa opted for something a little different when she took out the 2012 Derby Day title. Her Toni Maticevski dress with structured shoulders was a stunning ivory colour with a pearl like sheen through it. She paired it with matching ivory gloves, black bag and black and white millinery with feather features.


2011 Derby Day Winner

Jess Coad from Tasmania, 28. Wearing Scanlan and Theodore dress and Susan McArthur hat.

jess coad fashions on the field winner

2011 was an unusual year for Derby Day Fashions. Winner Jess, caused a bit of stir when she paired her black Scanlon and Theodore midi length dress with a copper belt and hat.


2010 Derby Day Winner

Martha Limb from Ireland, 28. Wearing a dress from a local designer in Ireland.

Martha limb black and white dress

Image credit: Style Melbourne

Martha wore an above knee A-line dress with black feature pockets. As per that year’s trend, she had embellished shoulders. Her look was completed with a black clutch, bangle and black and white side swept millinery with black quill features.


2009 Derby Day Winner

Deborah Hunter. Wearing Dolce and Gabanna.

Deborah is the first print I’ve seen so far win Derby Day fashions. She opted for a 1950’s style bold polka dot print Dolce & Gabanna skirt, beaded black singlet and black beret with sequins, black closed toe pumps and gloves.


2008 Derby Day Winner

Sarah Schofield from Victoria, 21. Wearing her own creation.

Sarah, a regular FOTF winner (as you’ll see a little further down) put together a winning look with a black and white contemporary A-line shift dress she made herself. Using a laser cutter she added acrylic stripes to the hem.

She matched her millinery to the black and white lines in her dress print and wore black peep toe heels, black bag and gloves.


2007 Derby Day Winner

Rhia Taranto from Victoria, 20. Wearing an outfit by Collette Dinnigan and vintage cloche hat.

Rhia went with an all black ensemble with opaque hosiery. She accessorised her silk flapper dress with black heels, a long beaded necklace and a black embroidered vintage cloche.


2006 Derby Day Winner

Sarah Schofield from Victoria, 19. Wearing her own creation.

Sarah Schofield white race dress

Image credit: Bellabox

It seems, to begin with, Derby Day traditions of black and white were made to be bent a little (as you will see in the post below, too). Sarah took out the sash in a homemade white full skirt dress with brown trim. She accompanied her dress with a matching bolero jacket featuring a brown horse print. She made a riding cap out of felt and also lined it with a brown trim and wore cream gloves. These days I feel like brown might be voted against but- never say never!!


2005 Derby Day Winner

Laura Gleich from Victoria, 20. Wearing an outfit made by her mother.

Breaking all the Derby Day rules we adhere to now, Laura was able to take top place (she then went on to win the National Finals) in a violet pleated skirt, cream top and bolero, red waist cummerbund and cream millinery featuring purple and pink flowers. She had black closed toe pumps and black bag.


2004 Derby Day Winner

Anett Wockenfuss from Victoria, 25. Wearing Nicola Finetti and Kerrie Stanley.

Ok, so, I have a feeling Derby Day was not what it is now and there possibly was not a dress code and judging criteria for Black and White back then. Anett wore a silk chiffon beige and black Nicola Finetti dress paired with a black Kerrie Stanley Beret. Like Laura (above), she also went on to win the National Finals in her not so black and white outfit.


If you’re interested in seeing our past FOTF national winners, have a read of this post.


What are the Black and White Themed Race Days?

Around the country, different race meets will often have a theme for their FOTF competitions.

Here are the ones that incorporate black, white and sometimes a touch of colour.

  • NZ: 3rd March 2018 -Vodafone Derby Day Auckland Cup, Ellerslie Racecourse- Black and white.
  • NSW: 7th April 2018 – The Championships Day 1, Royal Randwick Racecourse- Black and white.
  • WA: 21st April 2018 – Schweppes WATC Derby Day- Ascot Racecourse- Black and white.
  • QLD: 9th June 2018 – Ubet Stradbroke Day, Doomben Racecourse- Black, white and a touch of red.
  • NT: 21st July 2018 – Ladbrokes NT Derby Day, Darwin Turf Club- Black and White.
  • VIC: 3rd November 2018 – Derby Day, Flemington Racecourse- Black and white.


You can check out my 2018 Fashions on the Field Calendar to see a full list of all race events.


Where to Buy Black and White Race Dresses and Millinery Online

There are no specific stores that sell only black and white dresses but a lot of the time when you are shopping online they will have a “filter” bar.

For example, when you shop at ASOS you can filter by colour as well as style. In the colour section click on black and white and you should have a selection of dresses to choose from.

buy black and white race day dress online

To learn about the best brands and stores to shop for race dresses, have a read of my race dress shopping guide.

While searching through ASOS and other online stores, if you’re anything like me you may find yourself getting a little frustrated because a lot of the dresses in the search results just aren’t suitable for the races.

An easy way to find a black and white dress that is suitable for the races is to search the Field Fashion Store and filter using the colour ‘monochrome’. These are dresses that I’ve hand picked that I personally think would look great for a day at the races.

where to buy derby day race dress


For millinery, if you haven’t discovered Millinery Market yet, I encourage you to check it out! It’s an online marketplace for buying and renting millinery and you can filter your search results by the colour black and white.

buy rent hat fascinator millinery headpiece

This has been one epic post so well done making it all the way to the end! Hopefully it’s given you one or two new ideas for your next black and white themed race day!


So, did I miss any ways to wear black and white at the races? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends using the social buttons below.


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2019-04-26T22:26:35+10:00April 6th, 2017|Fashion Tips, Shopping|
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