Spring Racing with Nicky Charman

Race Day Ready

Spring has undeniably sprung, you know what that means…

Spring racing season is upon us.

We sat for a chat with Calexico and Calexico Man team, seeking their expert advice on our burning race-wear questions for men and women and to help us craft THE look from top to toe.


Starting up top, are fascinators still a thing or should we be switching to the humble headband or a hat. Is it acceptable to wear a hat indoors?

As a general rule, Calexico Director Nicky Charman prefers headwear that’s more simple and less fussy than a fascinator. Mix things up with a silk-satin headband from Jennifer Behr or a straw boater from Maison Michel.


Yes or no to the lady suit?

Personally, we’re all about an amazing dress this year. There have been so few excuses to go out and go bold over the past few seasons, so make the most of it. Having said that, you can’t go wrong with a perfectly cut suit!


Favourite designer right now which is bringing the race day energy?

It’s got to be Alexis. You’ll see what we mean at the Derby Day fashion show if you go to the SK event.


Stiletto or blocked heel?

You do you, but we would choose a block heel if your event involves grass and/or a lot of standing.


Boots or sneakers for men?

While race day is traditionally the home of the dress shoe, these days (depending on your event) you can get away with sneakers or loafers as long as they’re polished, elevated and in a darker tone. We have some beautiful leather ones from Santoni.


Your ultimate accessory for guys?

Give the ladies a run for their money with a hat that gets people talking. Try a classic Panama from Frescobol Carioca. Other accessories we love are an extra-special pair of cuff links from Tateossian or a colourful silk pocket square from Eleventy.


Mini bags – cute or ridiculous?

Not very practical for race day. Look for something slightly larger that can handle your touch-up make-up, pen, phone and sunnies.


Slick bun or bouncy curls?

This year, we’re feeling a more natural style with lots of movement that’s not too ‘done’. Nicky says to go with how you normally wear your hair and focus on your make-up instead. A bold lip, beautiful nail colour and glowing bronze skin will make more of an impact and won’t detract from what you’re wearing.


Prints, textured fabrics or block colours?

It literally depends on the day – that is, the event you’re attending.

On Derby Day, it’s traditional to wear black and/or white. Our tip is to choose one solid colour and commit to it. It’s such a striking interpretation of the theme.

Oaks Day (aka Ladies Day – Thursday 3 November) is known for an ultra-feminine dress code that’s floral, floaty and flouncy, while the Melbourne Cup (Tuesday 1 November) is when you go bright and bold or go home.


Other hot tips from the Calexico and Calexico Man team?

Nicky’s take is not to dress like you’re on a night out. Avoid wearing what you would to a bar or nightclub – keep it classy and have respect for tradition.

We wouldn’t recommend anything uber-short or cropped to show your midriff. Cut-outs are acceptable but balance any flesh you do reveal with a longer hemline.


Image credit Whiting & Davis Bags

Posted on

September 20, 2022