The Melbourne Cup Carnival holds many traditions, particularly around dress code. We caught up with Melbourne tailor Carl Navè to discuss a couple of key looks for this year’s Spring Racing festival, and to discuss one very important accessory: watch straps. Yes, it’s time to accessorise your accessory (think about it)!
My number one tip, first and foremost, is that the Spring Carnival is (intended to be) a classy affair. So, with that in mind, when looking at strap choices, the golden rule here is that whatever you pick, please ensure it’s a high quality two-piece strap (see below). As much as I love a good NATO or Sailcloth strap, we’re going for elegance, not bulk.
Carl: Derby Day is all about black and white, but this year I’ve decided to break away from the norm and seek inspiration from the colours of the flowers nominated for each race day. Therefore, my Derby Day look complements the blue tones of the Cornflower, with a bold navy blue checked three-piece suit. The olive green and burgundy check makes a sharp statement that will ensure you don’t blend in.
Andy: Carl’s selected two bold colours here, dark navy with burgundy accents, which would work with a number of different strap choices. My choice here is a light grey suede option, which would work really nicely, and complement the rest of the outfit. The grey strap (above) is nicely refined, just like the rest of the outfit, and would look perfect with a light pink shirt and burgundy tie.
Carl: Melbourne Cup Day, however, is all about the yellow rose, and I love pairing yellow with soft grey and baby blue tones. This light grey micro check is subtle and elegant at the same time, whilst the baby blue herringbone makes a sophisticated statement with yellow highlights.
Andy: If you’re opting for light grey tones, then my recommendation would be a light-to-medium tan strap, like the example above. This light brown full-grain leather strap, with cream stitching, will look fantastic with Carl’s choice of yellow highlights (as would a saffiano strap), without being at all obnoxious. It’s a thoughtful choice, and one that’s versatile enough to look great with most outfits.
Carl: Oaks Day is pink rose, so I’ve decided to go bold and brash with a deep burgundy two-piece option, a navy blue striped shirt and a pink tie to set off the flower of the day. Because even guys can shine on Oaks Day.
Andy: Now, this is one bold look — and there’s enough going on — that it’d be way too easy to overthink things and opt for a statement strap. Don’t. If you’re going to wear a standout colour like deep burgundy, then your strap should merely complement the rest of your outfit. My advice is to choose a nice texture, and go for a darker colour — think heavy navies, or dark grey, anywhere up to charcoal.
Style images via Carl Navè.