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How to make your minimalist wardrobe work at the races

The races provide the perfect opportunity to play dress ups for the day. That is unless your wardrobe looks like a Jil Sander haven and all the images of floral prints and intricate outfits send your head into a spin. If that sounds like you, then chances are you are a minimalist dresser.

When everyone was lusting over Kate Waterhouse’s 2016 show-stopping Melbourne Cup Gucci look - it was giving you sweaty palms for all the wrong reasons. This is because your idea of a dream outfit doesn’t involve clashing prints, layers of pearls or anything that even remotely resembles pink. You’re the kind of woman that much preferred Waterhouses 2011 black on black Gucci ensemble. But being a black pant and t-shirt kind of girl doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on all the fun (or just do Derby Day!). Nor does it mean that you need to invest in pieces you will never wear again.

Here are 6 ways to make your minimalist wardrobe work at the races...

Suit up …

When it comes to a minimalist wardrobe, no closet is complete without a suit pant combination, so save yourself the shopping trip and pull out your favourite two-piece. With no intricate prints or textures to distract, the devil will be in the detail. Ladies, this means you need to make sure you have your suit dry cleaned and freshly pressed for a crisp, clean finish. If you are feeling like injecting a bit of colour why not pair it with a statement heel and headpiece. But, we know you’re a minimalist so a black heel and black hat will provide the classic look you love. Opt for a strappy heel to add some lightness to the ensemble. Finish with a red lip and you will be ready to hit the trackside.  


Experiment with shapes rather than colour…

If you aren’t excited about the idea of injecting clashing prints and florals into your wardrobe, why not experiment with shapes instead. You can still stick to black and whites and pick pieces that will work well with your existing wardrobe. Think fluted and abstract skirts, which you can later dress down with a t-shirt and slides. Know your designers and look for dresses with billowy sleeves, structured pants and even corsets, which you can always dress down and deconstruct for a Sunday brunch. Australian designers such as Ellery, Michael Lo Sordo, Christopher Esber, Scanlan Theodore and Toni Maticevski always deliver in this department.


Play around with accessories …

Every minimalist wardrobe has a silk slip dress handing in it (or 10 if we’re really being honest), so why not make it the base of your look. Get into the racing spirit and play around with your accessories without breaking the bank. Invest in a red heel, add a scarf to your favourite summer hat or even opt for statement earrings. If you only have black or white silk slips hanging in your wardrobe, consider investing in one with a bit of colour. It will get used during your next vacation if not for a dinner date. Remember to stick to some basic rules and keep it modest. When we say silk, we don’t mean your nightie either.


Invest in a headpiece you will wear again or create your own …

We know that millinery is the hero of the trackside, but when you like to keep it simple, it can also become your biggest headache. While there are plenty of intricate and jaw-dropping headpieces on the market, a more paired back look can be just as strong. Why not finish your two-piece look with a low pony and headband or for a more flirty and feminine look, tie a silk scarf around your ponytail. If you are wearing a silk slip or want to create something a bit more playful, why not pay homage to Dolce and Gabbana and pin some of your favourite brooches into your low bun. Don’t be afraid to invest in a beautiful yet simple pearl headpiece or to ask your milliner to create something simple for you. While investing in millinery and hats can be costly, if a simple piece is what you’re after, it will live in your wardrobe forever.


Don’t let the makeup overwhelm you …

While it may be tempting to opt for full and heavy makeup to go with your refined look, we know that’s just not you. Don’t feel like you need to overcompensate and head to your nearest MAC counter for a smokey eye with false lashes and a bold lip. The Races are all about the outfit and headwear and the makeup should be the finishing touch, not the hero. It’s all about dewy skin and subtle colours. If you are looking to make a statement, why not opt for a contemporary cat eye and simple lip or dewy eyelids and a red lip.


Elegance is elimination – Cristóbal Balenciaga

Remember that simplicity is sometimes the boldest statement you can make. You don’t need to overthink your outfit, let a modest and quality cut do all the talking. The Races should be a day spent amongst good company with plenty of champagne and laughs along the way. You will radiate confidence and feel your best in an outfit that is true to your personality. 


Photos courtesy of the Kate Waterhouse blog. 

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