Melbourne Cup fashion: Shorts make a debut at Flemington Races

The Melbourne Cup is not only Australia’s most prestigious horse racing event, but also a showcase of fashion and style. This year, the dress code for the Flemington Races has been updated to allow shorts for both men and women, reflecting the changing trends and preferences of the racegoers.

According to the official website of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), the organisers of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, shorts are now permitted in all enclosures, including the exclusive Birdcage, as long as they are “tailored and to the knee”. The VRC also advises that shorts should be worn with socks that cover the ankle, and that denim, board shorts and cargo shorts are not acceptable.

Melbourne Cup fashion: Shorts make a debut at Flemington Races
Melbourne Cup fashion: Shorts make a debut at Flemington Races

The VRC says that the decision to include shorts in the dress code was made after consulting with fashion experts and stakeholders, and that it reflects the “evolution of fashion and society”. The VRC also hopes that the new dress code will encourage more people to attend the races and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

A history of fashion changes at the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup has a long and rich history of fashion, dating back to its inception in 1861. Over the years, the dress code has changed to reflect the social and cultural shifts of the times, as well as the personal styles of the celebrities and influencers who attend the event.

One of the most memorable fashion moments at the Melbourne Cup was in 1965, when British model Jean Shrimpton caused a sensation by wearing a white minidress that ended five inches above her knees, exposing her legs and shocking the conservative crowd. Shrimpton’s outfit is widely regarded as a turning point in Australian fashion, as it ushered in the era of the miniskirt and challenged the traditional norms of femininity.

Another notable fashion change at the Melbourne Cup was in 1976, when women were allowed to wear trousers for the first time. This was a significant step towards gender equality and empowerment, as women could choose to wear what they felt comfortable and confident in, rather than conforming to the expectations of society.

In 2004, the VRC introduced the Fashions on the Field competition, which is a contest that celebrates the best-dressed racegoers in various categories, such as women’s racewear, men’s racewear, millinery and design. The competition has become a highlight of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, attracting thousands of entrants and spectators every year.

What to expect at this year’s Melbourne Cup

This year’s Melbourne Cup will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. The event is expected to attract more than 100,000 people, who will enjoy the thrilling races, the glamorous fashion, the live entertainment and the gourmet food and drinks.

The VRC has announced that this year’s theme for the Melbourne Cup Carnival is “Colourful Racing”, which encourages racegoers to express their individuality and creativity through their outfits. The VRC has also partnered with Pantone, the global authority on colour, to create a colour palette that reflects the mood and spirit of the event.

Some of the colours that are expected to dominate the fashion scene at this year’s Melbourne Cup are:

  • Illuminating: a bright and cheerful yellow that symbolises optimism and hope
  • Ultimate Gray: a solid and dependable gray that represents resilience and stability
  • Raspberry Sorbet: a vibrant and playful pink that evokes fun and excitement
  • Amethyst Orchid: a bold and expressive purple that conveys originality and ingenuity
  • Green Ash: a soothing and refreshing green that suggests harmony and balance

Whether you choose to wear shorts or not, the Melbourne Cup is a great opportunity to dress up and have a good time. Just remember to follow the dress code, respect the traditions and etiquette of the event, and most importantly, have fun!

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