Well, I’ve a got a new favourite race theme: Embellishment.
It was this year’s theme for the Doomben 10,000 Day and I was in embellishment heaven. I was surrounded by sequinned, bedazzled, jewelled and adorned extravagance.
As someone who loves to bead and embellish, I had a lot of fun putting together my outfit, but not without a few hiccups and some trial and error along the way. In the end it all came together and I was lucky enough to take home the winning sash 🙂
In this post I’m going to share with you how I pulled together my winning outfit and also show you some of the other stand out designs that you really need to see. Trust me.
10 Days Before Doomben 10,000 Day
Ten days before the big day I was scrolling through ASOS looking at 90+ pages of dresses when all of a sudden I stumbled across this sequinny, shimmery tulle dream.
My favourite thing ever is sequins and beads. So, although I hadn’t necessarily decided I was going to attend the race day, once I discovered the theme for the competition was ‘embellishment’, I just had to attend!
I promptly ordered the ASOS dress, even though they were sold out of my size and I had to purchase a dress two sizes up (and at a slightly higher price than I wanted to pay).
Quietly proud of myself, I thought, look at you go, the race isn’t for two weeks and you’ve got a dress!
Being early for things has never been my strong point. But making an early start turned out to be the key element in this case.
I knew I’d have to make some alterations, as it was still quite a summery dress. I was thinking a new top, with sleeves to go over it, and maybe an underlay in a winter tone.
The Embellished Dress Arrives … and Returns
5 days later the dress arrived. It was beautiful, but did nothing for me. And it was way too big.
Still, I’m no quitter, so the next day I made a quick trip to Spotlight. Dress in hand, I perused all the isles and purchased some silver fabric.
I spent a few hours that night with my friend Tanya (who happens to be studying design- did I hit the jackpot, or what?).
After playing around with different options, draping the fabric over the top of the dress, wearing different belts…nothing worked.
It was a lost cause. The decision to ditch was made.
Very important lesson ladies, if it’s not working- let it go. (Also apply this rule to men).
Side Note: ASOS does free returns which meant I printed off a returns label from the ASOS website, stuck it to a bag and took the dress back to the post office (free of charge!!) and you get a full refund a week later!! Makes online shopping stress free, just how I like it!
Treasure Hunting in the Recesses of my Closet
Whilst playing around with ideas, I pulled out some super old fabrics I had purchased years ago, but never used.
One in particular caught my eye. A bronzish gold, sequin fabric that I forgot I even had.
Drawn to it, I decided to find a skirt to match.
Now, you know how I always say to buy things on sale when you find them, even if you don’t have anything planned for it yet?
Case in point – I purchased this Alice McCall skirt three months ago, on sale for $100 (down from $300) and it’s been sitting patiently in my wardrobe ever since.
And wasn’t I happy to have it!!
I popped it on and draped the gold sequin fabric over my arms. Voila!! It looked interesting and embellish-y and went well together.
Coming up with the Design
I started drawing up the silhouette I had in my head. Tanya loves a good drape, so she added that feature to the top.
At this stage, there were 4 days left to go. The pressure was starting to kick in.
Tanya and I got up early to make the pattern for the top. We made up a sample first, out of a cheap grey lining I had purchased to go with the (now redundant) silver fabric.
The Top is Made
We then went to Tanya’s college, where she made the top. It took her 10 hours in total from pattern to garment. (ouch, thank you thank you….)
The only problem was, I still felt it was a little plain.
I was planning to make flared sleeves out of some white mesh and spray paint them gold, but even then, something was missing. The ‘WOW’ element just wasn’t there.
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Dealing with a Missing ‘Wow’ Factor
Here’s one of those ‘falling into place’ moments. I happened to be in Brisbane the next day, minutes from ‘The Fabric Store,’ where I had taken some fabric samples from a few weeks prior.
I popped in and purchased half a meter of a black and gold jacquard fabric with a floral design.
On the way home I dropped into my favourite bead store, ‘The Bead Shed’ and sourced an assortment of blue, black and gold beads.
I came home, cut out the sleeve flare and pinned it onto my top. Perfect! It was just what the outfit needed and it also provided an additional colour to work with- black!
Last Minute Doubts
What outfit planning isn’t complete without some last minute doubt?
With the top completed, I tried on two other skirts that may have worked, just to be sure.
But, usually your first instincts are right. The navy skirt was still the winner, although I do like the look of the burgundy skirt.
Having the black throughout the fabric in the sleeves made my next task a lot easier- millinery.
Finding the Right Millinery
Previously I was looking for a gold or navy headpiece, but now I had the option of adding in black and tying it in with black shoes and gloves.
There were many beautiful pieces, but none that suited my outfit.
I diverted my millinery search for a while with some nocturnal time. I spent the next three nights (and early mornings) beading. Each sleeve took around 8 hours, and then came the collar.
I spray painted some white mesh fabric gold, and made some sleeve flounces.
The embellishments on the sleeves made them quite heavy and the mesh underneath helped to hold its shape. It also added an additional design element.
By now my outfit was looking pretty good!!
Back to Finding the Right Hat
I put my outfit on to check the progress and tried on an old black hat with it, to see how it would look with a black head piece.
It looked great with black accessories- the only reason I didn’t go with this hat is because I felt it made the outfit look a little too Asian-y, which wasn’t the look I was going for.
Then I remembered, I had seen a beautiful felt flower piece made by Pink Lane Hats.
I called Amy, who told me she was just in the middle of making up flowers to make that exact piece in black (there you go, another falling into place moment) and could bring it with her to the event on Saturday!!!
Making a Homemade Brooch
The finishing touch was a brooch because I thought the top looked a little plain.
I made a brooch out of a Lovisa necklace with some pliers, a little bit of pom pom fluff and some glue to hold it all together.
The Doomben 10,000 Day Event
Ali and I arrived at the racecourse minus my millinery, for a fun day of fashion viewing.
The embellishment theme was by far my favourite, so I couldn’t wait to photograph everyone’s creations.
Although it was a bit of a gloomy, drizzly, overcast day, ladies turned up in their sequinned, bedazzled, jewelled and adorned best!
My favourite outfits…
Ladies who Nailed the Embellishment Theme
Lisa March, never disappoints in her funky outfits and this time she opted for a two tone sequin skirt, in peacock colours, with a matching cape that featured a peacock on the back. She even added beads to the eye. Love it!
Natty chose my favourite colour of the season, emerald green, with an assortment of sequins in flower patterns and a bejewelled neckline.
Kerrie wore a stunning maroon piece by her mother Milva Carucci Designs, paired with a leafy leather flower crown and statement earrings and choker she told me she picked up for $2 the day before. Bargain!
Anna looking elegant in a blush Dior dress, paired with a tweed jacket she had embellished and a turban she made herself <3
Stacie, whose outfit I couldn’t stop staring at (LOVE that skirt) wore a striking gold and black ensemble with a feather neckline that she added herself. For those of you who are also eyeing off her clutch- its Sass and Bide *love heart eyes
Lindsay looked like a queen in gold. She wore a gold feather-spiked halo by Marilyn Vanden Berg Millinery. A nice combination of textures; sequins, metal, lace, 3d embellishments, mesh and fur. Swoon.
Caren, Jodie and Dani looking beautiful in complementary winter hues. Dani purchased her beige tweed jacket for $2 at an Opshop and added the embellishments herself.
I LOVE the fabric of Rikki’s skirt that she made. Reminds me of mermaid dreams!! Rikki also told me she did her beautiful up do in less than ten minutes and it’s her ‘easy do’. I can barely put my hair in a pony tail, so props to you Rikki!!
Demi and Alla are always stand outs! Alla designed and sewed her own outfit as well as made her Swarovski crystal headpiece!! That would have taken forever, but was well worth it! Demi is wearing a Kitten D’Amour jacket with a vintage leather skirt and Allport Millinery.
Some more quick snaps I managed to take when I wasn’t hiding from the rain!!
I love all the details, ladies, and how different everyone looks. You really got to show off your quirky sides.
Hopefully this post has inspired you to create your own homemade outfit or even just add a few DIY elements to give it that extra WOW factor. To learn how to design your own custom race outfit, check out my outfit design guide.
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