off to the races // cheap race day looks

The Melbourne Cup is now only two weeks away and the Christchurch Trotting Cup and Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup follow swiftly behind, so the pressure is on to find the perfect outfit.

If you were organised (like me) you would have been planning/obsessing for months and would already have your outfit sorted. But if you’re still trying to figure what to wear to the races, fear not. I’ve got you covered.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

The Headpiece

If there is one thing you can’t skip, it’s the headpiece. It’s an essential component of a race day outfit.

gold leaf headband tiara fascinator

I love this gold tiara for two reasons: it’s cute, and it’s $10. This is actually the one I have ordered for myself. You can get it here from AliExpress but be warned: shipping could be anywhere from two to four weeks. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can get an identical one for $22 here on Showpo.

gold leaf fascinator crown

The Iconic has a huge range of fascinators and headpieces from $28 up to a couple hundred dollars – click here for price: low to high and happy hunting. Shipping is super quick, and some of them are really cool like this funky Monroe Headpiece. I mean, yeah, it’s a little different... but I can’t stop myself from loving it.

marilyn monroe headpiece fascinator morgan taylor

Other cheap places you can look are $1-$8 shops at malls (they usually have a pretty good selection!) and places like Lovisa.

The Dress

I’ve been having this never-ending battle with my BFF where she sends me links to completely inappropriate dresses she’s seen online and I have to gently, lovingly tell her no.

The races is a daytime event, so the dress code sits closer to a garden party than an evening out.

Translation: this is the only time, ever, that an LBD is inappropriate. 

Of course, fashion is up to interpretation but if you can, stay away from black and keep your lengths knees and below.


Jumpsuits are always an option – like this gorgeous one from Boohoo. It’s $45 but they always have sales.


This one is a little steeper at $80 but it’s pretty reasonable if you get in while the 50% off sale is on. This would look super cute with a gold tiara.


Of course, you can’t go wrong with rummage rack finds like this off the shoulder number from Pagani. Online it says only size 16 is available but if there’s a Pagani near you, go have a dig through the sale rack. It’s $25 – hard to beat.

The Shoes

Possibly the most frustrating part of putting together a race day outfit is finding the right shoes. You don’t want to be too matchy-matchy but you also want them to make sense with the outfits.

A simple rule to follow: match your shoes to your headpiece – unless your headpiece is the same colour as your dress, then match them to your handbag.

If your outfit is light but not white, these shoes from The Iconic are cute – and they’re only around $50.


If you prefer a chunkier heel and have a little more money to spend, I love these Lipstik shoes from Hannahs. They’re $100 but they’re quite versatile so you’d get more than a day’s wear from them.


If you’re really stuck for shoes that go with your outfit, go black. This is also appropriate if your headpiece, dress and bag are already one colour and you’re afraid of cascading (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “cascading”, it means dressing head to toe in one colour – we all did it at primary school and we’ve all sworn never again). These shoes are only $30 from H&M so they won’t break the bank.

You can also check out Kmart, The Warehouse and Number One Shoe Warehouse for cheap options.

I hope that this helps some – if you are going to the races and your outfit is sorted, I’d love to know what you’re wearing! Leave me a comment below!


As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and everything I have written here I believe to be true. This post is not sponsored in any way.

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