The long and the short of it: Racing legend slams new Melbourne Cup fashion rule

Gai Waterhouse has slammed new Melbourne Cup dress code. Source: Getty Images.

It’s one week to go until equine excellence and spectacular style will magically collide at the Melbourne Cup 2023, the “race that stops the nation.” But racing royalty Gai Waterhouse has a lot to say about a controversial change to the traditional dress code.

From next Tuesday, members aged 12 or above will be permitted to wear shorts in the Flemington members area provided they meet these conditions – the shorts have to be tailored with a matching tie and jacket and they must sit on or below the knee.

Leading horse trainer Waterhouse has described the new rule, which breaks with decades of tradition, as “ridiculous” and the “silliest thing I’ve ever seen”.

She was also adamant that the new dress code was more suited for the beach than the races.

“I’m not going to Bondi Beach, or Altona. You’re coming here, you’ve got to dress for the occasion.”

“I saw the bloke [model] with the shorts on, and I thought, you’ve got to be joking. Maybe I’m old-fashioned.”

The controversial new clothing regulations and Waterhouse’s reaction were met with mixed feelings on social media from those who love the idea and many who don’t.

One praised Waterhouse for taking a stand and said, “Well done Gai”.

Another said, “Woman can’t wear pants then. Or have jobs, or be allowed out of the kitchen.”

“If this was men complaining about what women were wearing there would be an uproar. Absolute hypocrisy.”

“Tailored or not shorts look wrong for the occasion. And please wear some sox. Shoes without sox look under dressed.”
“Nothing wrong with the shorts. Good idea. But men who wear no socks need to be sorted out.”
On the contrary, speaking to Channel 10, menswear fashion designer Arthur Galan told Channel 10 that he was stunned that the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) had allowed the progressive measure.

“I am surprised because the VRC can be a little bit conservative, but time for change,” he said.

“It’s a a good thing.”

The Melbourne Cup is renowned for flaunting the very finest of Australian society on a day that overflows with champagne, punting and Avant Garde fashion. 

The Melbourne Cup 2023 takes place next Tuesday, 7 November and promises to live up to its name as the “race that stops the nation.” 






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