The Race That Stops A Nation

WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh

PHOTOS:: Karon Photography



It’s back! It’s spring racing time here in Melbourne and I am getting very excited!



But you know what? Let’s mix it up a little. I know you guys know how to pack the perfect picnic to take with you to the races, so I thought this time around I’d focus entirely on the fashions. I get asked a lot about my racing outfits and I am more than happy to share with you my tips and tricks on making your race day the best it can be. But where do we start?

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is a massive week for us at The Big Group and The Design Depot. With our collection of corporate marquees across the entire carnival, it really is our busiest time of the year. So working out the multiple outfits for these days has to be planned to a tee because there really is so much else going on that I need to attend to! Being organised is key and knowing what the dress codes are for each day gives me the direction I need when I really could just go crazy!

DERBY DAY is all about Black & White. So keep it simple and classic.

MELBOURNE CUP DAY is a free for all, fashion wise. It’s the most exciting (and busiest!) race day of the carnival and this is the day I wear my most favourite racing dress and hat.

OAKS DAY is all about us ladies and it usually is a sea of florals and bright colours. I love this day and the fashion is always amazing, you know I love colour so I really want my outfit for this day to be a standout.

STAKES DAY is the last day of the carnival and the most relaxed. Considered a family and friends day, the fashion is a lot more lo-key. So dressing for this is all about simplicity and a classic cut that you are going to be comfortable in.


A few of my Spring Carnival Favourites…


Where to shop for Dresses…

  • Thurley
  • Ginger and Smart
  • Camilla and Marc
  • Scanlan Theodore
  • Country Road

When choosing a dress, it's important to remember that the weather may not be what you expect so come prepared. A wrap or coat is always handy in case of the cold and an umbrella for when that huge downfall suddenly hits as the main race is about to begin! Try not to wear something that is too revealing - remember it’s either the top or the bottom - not both.


Where to shop for Hats…

  • David Jones
  • Myer
  • Melissa Jackson
  • Matcho Subo The Label
  • Susie ORourke

Have fun with your hat. It’s not often we get to wear a beautiful hat, so matching it up with your dress is a fun way to make your dress really POP! It can be an expensive affair, so why not before the races share the love with your friends and borrow from each other? I do this with my girlfriends and love seeing how they wear my hats.

In England - they actually do this in the car park before you walk into the races. It is such a clever idea and a great way to cut the expenses down.


Chyka's number #1 race day tip!


It's always a big day at the races so you do need to be prepared for anything! Make sure you pace yourself, drink lots of water and of course, have fun! I always take a pair of ballet flats for when I need to run around or at the end of the day when your feet are sore. We know Melbourne weather is fickle so an umbrella and a wrap are handy to have along with a bag of tricks. But what should be in your bag of tricks?

  • Bandaids
  • Gel inserts
  • Mints
  • Deodorant
  • Nailfile
  • Sunscreen
  • Panadol

I promise you - these will all be used. If you are a SUBSCRIBER I will let you in on these tips in a little more detail - so make sure you subscribe! Happy racing, hope you back a winner!



Credits: All images were taken at the Lexus Marquee 2016, Melbourne Cup Carnival. Photography by Karon Photography