If you’ve been following me for a while, then you’ll know I am an avid outfit repeater. First of all, why only wear a beautiful dress once? Secondly, I can’t afford to buy something new for every race day. Thirdly, I love the challenge of restyling an outfit to make it appear fresh and new. And then there’s the whole sustainable fashion issue…
When having an outfit made, or investing in a dress a bit more expensive than you usually allow yourself, knowing you will wear it multiple times helps to justify the purchase.
So far this year, I have attended six race days. To each of these, I have restyled an outfit already worn to a previous race day or event. I’ve done this by adding new additions to accessories and millinery, changing colour schemes, or by transforming Spring/Summer outfits to Autumn/Winter and vice versa.
Read on to see how six dresses have been restyled, each appearing new and fresh. At the end I also share my top 4 restyling tips. Hopefully they give you some ideas on how to restyle your own race day outfits.
Outfit #1 – A Change of Colour Scheme
For this outfit, I changed the colour scheme from blue, to pink and red, with new millinery (I made myself) and shoes. I ditched the belt and added a pink and red twilly scarf to my bag. The top of this dress also looks different, but that’s because I actually forgot to bring the overlay part of this dress and only noticed once I arrived at the track! Haha.
The total cost of this change was $0 as I pulled everything from my already existing wardrobe.
Outfit #2 – A Change in Millinery
This is one of my favourite dresses and I have worn it three times so far. Having won a sash in it on its first wear, I wanted to focus on making the outfit appear different with the use of alternative millinery styles.
As you can see above I have worn a percher, a wide brim hat and a large oval style. You can see how the different hat shapes affect the overall look of this outfit. I have worn this dress in both Spring and Winter, and have changed my millinery choices to reflect that.
The cost of this outfit was also $0, as I made my own hat and the rest came from my wardrobe.
Outfit #3 – Updated Millinery and Accessories
I found this navy lace fabric during a holiday in China. It was $100 a meter and I was in love with it. Needing five meters, however, I wasn’t sure I could spend the money. I thought about it for days, revisiting the store three times hoping each time I left that the shop assistant would chase after me offering me a lower price! They never did.
On the final day of my China trip, I bit the bullet and purchased $500 worth of lace. Once home, I took it to my dress maker Andrew and had him make me a stunning pencil cut dress out of it.
Looking back now, with over six wears (entering FOTF, judging FOTF, a winner’s sash and even a front page newspaper spread) this dress has definitely been worth the money!
I have worn this dress many times with a variety of different millinery and accessory options. I have paired this outfit with both gold and clear accessories. It has detachable sleeves, so whatever the season, I’m covered.
The best part about changing your accessories, is that you can opt for the season’s trending bag, shoes and earrings, giving your outfit a fresh new on-trend feel.
The most recent version of this outfit only cost me, $60. I purchased the clear point toe heels from The Iconic, but managed to make my hat out of an old coat hanger and use a clear bag I already owned with a clear bra strap as the handle. Smile.
Outfit #4 – Millinery Additions
This dress was definitely a purchase made under the ‘investment’ banner. I justified the price tag with a promise to self to wear it multiple times. And that I did!
I wore this dress to judge the Rocky Amateurs FOTF, and a month later wore it to Ladies Day at Doomben Racecourse and was awarded the runner up sash! I even managed to wear it to a high tea a week later… and don’t be surprised if you see me wearing it again this coming spring!
When I first wore this dress I paired it with a lavender button hat with flower embellishments, my Cult Gaia bag (pleased to wear this again as it was also an expensive purchase) and purple shoes I spray painted the night before.
On my second wear, I was entering the FOTF competition, so I spiced it up with new on-trend clear accessories; the clear shoes I had worn the week earlier and a lovely new Perspex bag and clear belt.
My favourite change to this outfit, however, was to my millinery. I had attended the Rebecca Share workshop a few weeks earlier, where I learnt to make a beautiful swirl. I painted it and attached it to my hat so it swept around the back of my head and framed the face at the front.
When changing your millinery, you could add feathers, leather flowers and quills. There are so many embellishments to play around with. See what works with your outfit.
The total cost of this outfit change was $59, for the Perspex bag.
Outfit #5 – From Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter
I had been dying to re-wear my favourite ombre tulle dress and set myself the fun challenge of taking it from Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter.
The top half of this dress was sheer and short sleeved, meaning it was quite summer-y. First step was to find fabric options, with the goal of making a top to wear over the dress. I chose a beautiful black velvet, which I had made into a top with oversized bell sleeves and tulle features.
I also added hand sewn sequin applique to the skirt to make it appear darker and complement the top. The addition of closed toe heels and a felt hat transitioned this outfit into a winter look.
The cost of this transformation was $120 for the top, $80 for the fabric, $50 for the bag and $250 for the hat. The top I’m sure will get a re-wear next winter, and I’ve added the bag and shoes to my collection of race day options.
Outfit #6 – Another Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter Transformation
This is another outfit I added to, making it A/W appropriate. My dove blue pleated dress was first worn to judge the Cairns Cup in 2018, then to the QLD State Finals later that year and re-worn again recently to Tattersall’s Tiara Race Day.
This dress has evolved quite a bit with the addition of several extra pleats in a darker tone to add depth to the dress, as well as some beaded applique (which was actually required as I had a drink spilt on my dress and needed to cover some small stains hehe).
My first hat was a percher with crinoline features, then a Dior brim and finally, a felt face hugger. For the latest event, being winter, I added some tulle sleeves that I hand painted and embellished the cuffs. I changed to closed toe shoes and a new Perspex bag.
The total cost of this change was $60 for the bag and $4 for the felt for my hat.
Tips for Restyling an Outfit
Ready to start restyling your own outfits?
Here are my top 4 tips:
Tip #1) Identify when you want to wear the outfit, and what adjustments might be required to make it suitable for that season (e.g. millinery fabrication, sleeves or jacket, closed toe shoes, etc).
Tip #2) Consider changing up your millinery by either wearing a new piece altogether (there are lots of options on www.millinerymarket.com) or adding additions to your existing millinery. If you have the same dress and same millinery, then it’s hard to make it look different with accessories alone.
Tip #3) Choose a new colour scheme. What other colours would work with your existing dress?
Tip #4) Consider your accessories. What are the latest accessory trends? Can you incorporate them? Does a different shape/style of accessory suit your refreshed millinery and colour scheme?
With a little creativity and inspiration, anyone can transform a pre-worn outfit into something new and fresh with a few inexpensive small changes. Go through your wardrobe and see what ideas you can come up with. We’d love to hear about them here!
Have you already restyled and re-worn an outfit? Share photos with us in the comments below.
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Spring Trends Report
The 2018 Spring / Summer Racing Fashion Trends Report. A 39 page comprehensive guide to what's trending this race season. Plus, you'll receive exclusive weekly fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.