The rules of 'couples dressing' at the races
In this "casualised" fashion world, the number of times a year people have the opportunity to dress up can be counted on one hand.
So when it comes to dressing for the races, it can be tempting for people to take inspiration from the same Pinterest board as their plus ones.
Not so fast, say several racing identities and fashion identities, who believe that when it comes couples' dressing, the formula is complement, don't copy. And certainly don't look like you're in costume.
Kate Waterhouse, who will attend the races with Lexus and Channel Seven, takes inspiration from power couples such as George and Amal Clooney, and the Obamas, and avoids 1990s-era Victoria and David Beckham, who have, thankfully, reformed their #twinning ways.
Lucy wears Whistles dress and Olga Berg headpiece; Charlie wears Aquila suit. All available from Myer. Credit:Simon Schluter
"I am all for outfits complementing but I am not matchy-matchy. Sometimes it can look too costume like," Waterhouse says. "I wouldn't want my partner to wear something clashing [with me] but something that complements it."
Waterhouse suggests finding shades on the colour wheel that are common matches, such as pink and navy, and working from there towards more daring combinations.
Fellow Lexus ambassador Anthony Minichiello, whose wife is shoe designer Terry Biviano, is more amenable to a closer match between couples.
"If my wife is wearing something that’s a bold colour or something quite 'fashion' then I try to match something similar to her colours," he said.
Matthew Keighran, managing director of Hugo Boss Australia, said it's a given couples will match on Derby Day, Cup Day often poses a bigger challenge.
Matching for fashion … Terry Biviano and Anthony Minichiello.Credit:AAP
"That doesn’t mean that you both need to wear matching red or yellow, but rather it’s an opportunity to put yourself out there a bit with some statement patterns or accessories and colours that work together tonally so you are not clashing," Mr Keighran says. "If in doubt, opt for similar shades or palette and steer clear of the same colour."
Myer womenswear manager Clare Hurley suggests couple pick "one pop of colour to wear between the two of you", and opt for complementary accessories.
"At spring racing men have the opportunity to work with more elements in their outfit … pocket squares, ties, bow ties, flower pins, boaters, tie pins – men can have a lot of fun [too]," she says.
Complementary couple … Luke Ricketson and Kate Waterhouse.
Waterhouse says if couples are still stuck for inspiration, a look through the recent photos of the royal tour will provide plenty of lessons in couple dressing, for example their matching blue outfits for their visit to Melbourne or their complementary smart casual in Dubbo.
"They looked so smart and elegant and have outfits that complement each other but aren't matchy," she says.
More tips for couple's dressing from Myer's Clare Hurley:
"Stick to complementary colours such as blues and greens, whites and blacks and neutral colour combinations."
"Keep colour matching subtle. Overall, you should focus on creating an ensemble where all elements complement each other."
"Avoid an overload of contrasting prints or colours. Pair a floral dress with pastel tones through his ties and pocket squares."
"Strong colour block suiting is easier for women. For men, go with a black or grey suit with a strong printed floral pocket square that has some of the colour in her outfit."
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