What to Wear to the Melbourne Cup

Last Updated 3 Nov 2021 | Commercial content | 18+

Commercial content | T&C apply | Please play responsibly | 18+

You don’t have to buy your Melbourne Cup tickets online, but you can’t just turn up at the gate either. You have to purchase tickets for Melbourne Cup Day in advance, and with that, you need to plan your fashion choices ahead of time too!

If you want to go to the Melbourne Cup, we will take you through what to wear at the Melbourne Cup. Flemington Racecourse has made Melbourne Cup fashion as famous as the horses – we’ve got you covered and we’ll let you know what to wear.

Melbourne Cup Dress Code and Regulations

One of the major headaches for some racegoers is knowing what to wear at the Melbourne Cup horse race.

That dilemma doesn’t simply come from wanting to look good either. There is a strict dress code and dress regulations to follow at Flemington on the big day in November.

Gentleman should wear a suit including tailored slacks/chinos, a tie and proper shoes. These regulations are relaxed between December 1 and March 31 when jackets can be removed.

Ladies must dress in a suitable way in keeping with the dignity of the Members Enclosure. This means leaving out those jumpsuits, playsuits and anything showing off the midriff. Shorts are not allowed either.

To make sure you are following the rules, check out the full regulations at Flemington’s official site.

History of Melbourne Cup Fashion

As far back as 1861, Australian colonial fashion was as important at the Melbourne Cup as the racing itself.

Men wore suits, generally black, with the very best being beautifully and professionally tailored. The women were adorned with long skirts, large bustles and elegantly trimmed corsets and petticoats.

Melbourne Cup fashion has changed gradually over the years, but still, it remains a reason other than horse racing to attend one of the biggest days on the Australian social calendar.

Women’s Fashion at the Melbourne Cup

Women at the Melbourne Cup must always dress at the appropriate race day standard for the Carnival. Any children in tow, they too must be suitably dressed and always with an adult.

To make the most of your day, get into those spring-like floaty floral dresses. Mind you, with the weather as unpredictable as it is you could always combine a tailored jacket with pants or a skirt.

Make sure you don’t fall foul of the rules – you could even be in with a chance of winning the Fashion on the Field.

Men’s Melbourne Cup Fashion

Men attending to see the big race must wear a suit including tailored slacks. The pants can also be chinos. Up top, a blazer or sports coat is necessary, along with a button-up shirt and a tie. You’ll also need dress shoes.

These tailored or even semi-tailored suits give you the chance to show off your awesome instinct for sartorial elegance. To be even more on the ball, add a yellow rose to that blazer.

Vests with jackets offer a more relaxed feel to the day, which are acceptable if you’re in the Members’ Enclosure.

melbourne cup horse


Here are the basic things to keep in mind when it comes to Melbourne Cup style.

Do you have to wear a hat to the Melbourne Cup?

Both hats and fascinators are customary dress for the ladies. If you want to be ultra-traditional, wear a yellow rose too.

What is Fashion on the Field?

Fashion on the field is Victoria Racing Club’s fashion competition. It runs during the Melbourne Cup Carnival and is almost as prevalent now as the racing.

What happens if you don’t adhere to the dress code?

You may be denied admission to the racecourse if you do not follow the general dress code.


To sum up then; make sure you concentrate first on what “not” to wear. You’ll need to follow the rules and the dress code to gain admission.

After that, what to wear at the Melbourne Cup is about playing with those rules and dressing to impress!

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