What to Wear to the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival

The widely anticipated 2016 Sydney Spring Racing Carnival is upon us and that means almost two months of intense competitions, delicious food and gorgeous people. This year the event is bigger and better than ever before. Expect big names, big prize money, big social media presence and big fashion. This is without a doubt the place to see and be seen.

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In other words, all eyes are on you, dear reader, so naturally you’ll want to plan ahead and look your best. You’ll also want to keep pace with race day’s time honoured values of classic formal style so leave those sports jackets and sneakers at home and remember to throw on some socks and a belt for crying out loud.

We’ve dedicated plenty of coverage in the past to ensuring you exhibit the qualities of a modern gentleman, avoid the trappings of bad fashion and do essential things like colour coordinate your outfits and style your hair just right. Now it’s time to put your class to the test and step out onto a grand stage where literally everyone is making fashion statements.

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For those of you who would rather take a short cut, we feel obliged to mention how we are head over heels in love with the new Spring/Summer 2016 lookbook from M.J. Bale. Those guys tailor simply stunning outfits and should you put your faith in their hands it’s virtually a guarantee you’ll be turning heads out there at the races. But we digress–read on for some pointers that will help you avoid making any fashion faux pas at Sydney’s biggest splash.

sydney spring three different color suits

Finding What Suits You

In the future there might be weird translucent bubbles hovering over our heads broadcasting our stats and preferences for others to read. Until that day arrives, a great looking suit remains the best way for a modern man to tell others something about himself before he even opens his mouth. That makes the suit more than just a stylistic enterprise–it’s a mission statement told through threads, colours and patterns.

There are quite a few avenues to consider when buying a suit for the Spring Carnival, but allow us to present one rule of thumb that should be taken as gospel and only sacrificed if your budget won’t allow for it: get your suit tailored. Yes, even if you went to a store and saw a suit on the rack that looked like the almost perfect fit and says everything there is to say about you, get your suit tailored, because trust us the ladies will notice the difference between “perfect” and “almost perfect”. If you need some extra pointers on tailored suits, here we highlight the basics.

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Okay, now that we’ve established you’re buying a suit that’s made to measure your body and personality, plenty of options remain. For example, 2016 is being declared as the year of the “statement suit”, meaning colours like ruby and emerald that border on loud when not adorned properly. Ultimately, the statement suit is about sending a bilateral message that you’re serious about style but not afraid to have fun. As such, statement suits frequently use lighter materials like cotton for a slim fit that still exudes breeziness. Should you take the statement suit avenue, be sure to wear neutral coloured socks or shoes so that you don’t end up looking like the entertainment between races (i.e. a clown).

For those who would rather keep things elegant, you can’t go wrong with a tailored classic suit. The refined traditional patterns and darker colours of a classic suit deliver a message of confidence and reliability, two things that are arguably more appealing to many ladies over the message of excitement and unpredictability relayed by a statement suit.

sydney spring blue suits

If you’re on the fence about which way to go we should add that the colour blue is versatile enough in its many shades to cross over the line between statement and sophistication, and a great place to start in terms of finding the suit that’s right for you. Some inspiring blue suits like these are a great starting point in terms of helping you decide whether you want to keep it classy or break out from the mould.

Still want some pointers on wearing a suit? Well, we’ve got ‘em! For instance, if you’re looking for an extra touch that elevates you from savvy dapper enthusiast to full blown gentleman among amateurs, take your suit to the next level by adding a pocket square. Also, if you’re uncertain as to what the code of conduct is regarding buttoning, please refer to our article on suit jacket buttoning rules. Lastly, be sure to know the difference between various cuts because there’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to style. Still need some help? In that case, just go to M.J. Bale. Seriously, they’ll do you right.

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A Shirt Thing

Honestly, if you went ahead and bought a nice tailored suit then you probably know what to throw on under it. Just remember that when all else fails, white survives and thrives and blends with every colour on the spectrum. If you went with a statement suit, you might want to throw a muted floral shirt with matching colours under it to flaunt a layered sense of style and personality. And the trusty check pattern shirt falls somewhere in between, making a bold statement but retaining a sense of traditional fashion as well. Whatever you choose, treat the shirt with the same respect you do the tailored suit and make sure it fits tightly so you keep those fashion gears churning with or without the jacket.

sydney spring shoes

Getting Off On the Right Foot

There are precious few rules to remember when shopping for that perfect pair of shoes. One is that leather is king. It’s beautiful, durable, and smooth. Secondly, don’t be the guy without socks because the message that usually relays is that you’re trying too hard (and turning people off in the meantime). Other things to consider are colour and design. We’ve covered dress shoes in the past so to save ourselves some effort we’ll direct you to our Definitive Guide to Dress Shoes in hopes that it can be your saviour.

The shoes pictured above are Sabotage by Julius Marlow.

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All the Rest

A great suit makes the man, but some solid gear seals the deal. For something like the Spring Racing Carnival we suggest ditching the smartwatch and going with an elegant analogue timepiece. Also, a tasteful metal bracelet or necklace made of premium materials will say far, far more than some gaudy blinged out overstatement you bought in a Sydney back alley. For things like ties and lapels, avoid satin and stick with silk. Also avoid the overuse of colour–one or two complementary shades will suffice.

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Take the above pointers as your guide and the horses might not be the only ones scoring at this year’s races. And again, if you have any doubts or want to save yourself heaps of time, hop over to M.J. Bale because they’re offering some truly killer tailored suits that will easily keep you stylish and savvy in 2016.


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