If Ladies Day is the Sydney Carnival’s genteel sister-in-law, Schweppes Stakes Day is her effortlessly stylish BFF. The most leisurely day of the racing calendar is all about proving you can still look classy while having fun and unwinding a little, and even if you choose to trade in your five-inch stilettos for something more comfortable, there are plenty of fun events to keep you on your toes.
The obvious highlight of the day is the final showdown race in the Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes. In the Group 1 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes, a potential “Triple Crown” winner has the chance at earning a place in race history. But there’s plenty of things to keep your eye on outside of the racetrack. Check out a collage of the action on an interactive photo wall, hear live music while sipping champagne from one of the themed bars, and make sure to swing by the Clinique Lounge for a complimentary touch-up.
If betting isn’t your jam, the Australian Turf Club is also giving you the chance to win big simply by eating. Yes, really – just be one of the first 8,000 people through the gates to receive a complimentary fortune cookie, one of which will contain the ‘Golden Ticket’ of a $5,000 MYER Gift Card as part of the $30,000 'Win a Cracking Fortune' prize pool (cheers to the Year of the Horse).
But just because Stakes Day is more relaxed, that doesn’t make choosing outfit combinations any easier (how many times have you spent longer deciding on a brunch ensemble than you have a cocktail dress?). If you’ve done your homework for Ladies Day, you’ll be schooled on autumn’s biggest racewear trends, so that’s a good place to start. Monochrome is a good bet, and we love the idea of mixing it with a graphic print à la Australian Turf Club ambassador Laura Csortan. Her dress falls just above the knee, but still looks ladylike thanks to a nipped-in waist and structured details. Winter florals and leather are also key trends this season, so try incorporating a leather trim or floral print for bonus points.
Flats are kosher on Stakes Day, but to be on the safe side, choose a chunky wedge or platform heel. Csortan’s patent black T-bar platforms have just a touch of attitude and look perfect for stomping from makeup lounge to themed bar. Just make sure you’ve at least worn them around the house a few times – there’s no point looking more comfortable if you don’t feel it.
If you’re going the sturdy route with your dress and shoes, stay on theme when it comes to your headwear. You don’t want to throw off the balance with something too flimsy or too ostentatious. Try something that’s solid yet demure, like an elegant fascinator (ditch the feathers, so 2007) that won’t risk the optical health of people standing behind you waiting to order a drink. It’s also the perfect balance for a chunkier heel.
Your makeup is an opportunity to play around with another of the season’s key trends. Bold shades of red are a great way to finish off lips and fingernails. Csortan’s contrasting mani/pedi combo is genius – the pearl polish on her fingers breaks up the red on her toes and lips, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. What’s the point of getting dressed if you can’t have a bit of fun with it?
1. Dorothy Perkins Mono Polka Panel Dress ($49.95) from The Iconic; 2. Wayne by Wayne Cooper Macey Black/Suede Sandal ($169.95) from Myer; Gregory Ladner Kristen Swirl Fascinator ($59.95) from Myer; 4. OPI Nail Lacquer in The Thrill of Brazil ($19.95) from David Jones; 5. OPI Nail Lacquer in My Vampire is Buff ($19.95) from David Jones; 6. MAC Pro Longwear Lipglass in Driven By Love ($43) from MAC.
Schweppes Stakes Day takes place at Royal Randwick Racecourse NSW on Saturday 26 April.
Sponsored by The 2014 BMW Sydney Carnival