The Derby Day dress code is all about celebrating the history of horse racing in Australia. The classic dress code of black and white stems from the Derby Day’s rich heritage, tracing its roots back to the inaugural race in 1855, where black and white morning suits were worn by the race going elite. Carrying on this tradition, Derby Day still honours this classic dress code with punters sporting their finest threads to commemorate one of the most prestigious events of the year.
To help you dominate Derby Day in style, our friends at Peter Jackson have created a quick guide breaking the basics of the race day dress code and how to stand out with two interpretation of the race day theme.
Derby Day Dress Code
In short, the derby day dress code pays tribute to the classic days of racing, with a strict black and white palette.
While there’s a little wiggle room amongst the many shades of grey, the bulk of your attire should be restricted monochrome suiting, paired with a white shirt and metallic accessories. The exception to this rule is the iconic blue cornflower, which has in recent year been used to introduce a little more colour into ties and lapel pins in place of the boutonniere.
Clean and Classic
Celebrate the classic era punting prestige and separate the boys from men with a black or charcoal suit. While Windowpane checks and tightly locked Pinstripes have become a crowd favourite in recent years, you should never underestimate the power of plain fabric weaves to create a clean silhouette and sophisticated ensemble.
For a simple but sophisticated solution, opt for a black suit with a little bit of texture to it. A tightly woven twill or subtle Birdseye suit can make for a welcome companion to counter the difficult Derby Day dress code.
Pair with a French cuff shirt with a feature cufflink to embed a little more personality into your upper half. Match your shirt with a silver, black or metallic silk tie, and notch up your look with a gutsy half or full Windsor knot.
Race Track Renegade
If you’ve put black suiting behind you, opt for the renegade’s alternative and check yourself out in a bold Windowpane or Prince of Wales charcoal suit. Still a member of the monochrome family, grey suiting can bring a lot of gravitas to your race day attire.
An alternative to a crisp white shirt, play up the ambiguous elements of the race day dress code with a pressed ivory shirt. The creamier tones help to soften darker shades of your suit, which can help to reduce the clinical feel of contrasting black and white palettes.
Up the ante with your race day accessories and play up the cornflower palette with subtle splashes of lilac-blue scattered through your race Derby Day attire. Lapel pins and ties are prime real estate for getting away with a little bit of extra colour.