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Melbourne Cup Fashions, 1940 Style

  vintage melbourne cup 
This week saw the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup – won for the first time by a woman! Not only that, but the coveted fashions on the field event was won by someone in a dress made by their mum!


Emily Hunter won fashions on the field in a vintage look home made dress

I think it’s a great 50s style dress, and a wonderful foile for that stunning fascinator.  It’s also quite demure, which made a nice change from many of the dresses on show – do we really need to see bosoms in daylight Girls?

Back during WWII, a sleeveless dress would not have been considered demure.  Sleeves were either long or just above elbow length. Hats were either pillbox small or large brimmed, and fascinators were strictly evening attire. In 1940, “frocks were subtly flattering.”

 vintage fashion melbourne cup  melbourne cup fashion 1940 
Girls may have bought a new outfit for the Cup, but it would be a daytime dress or suit that they could wear again and again. Hats were often simple ones tricked up at home with netting, ribbon and feathers.  Not many women would have spent a weeks wages on a hat or fascinator.

 Many girls would have made their own dress – or got there mum to make it! These patterns from 1940 could be made and worn to the races.
fashions from 1940 
Good on Emily and her mum for bringing home dress making into the news!


About thewartimewoman

I love history, fashion, art and design, especially of the 1930s to the 1960s. I am also a mother, wife, interior decorator & a treasure hunter who wishes she could drive a 1933 Delage. I studied Architecture at Melbourne university, briefly, and completed a Diploma of Art in Interior Design at the Melbourne College of Decoration in 1991. I have worked on an off as a decorator ever since, in between stints as a florist, balloon artist, having my five children and helping my husband in his law firm. in my spare time I love researching history, blogging and gardening.

One response »

  1. Love this post, and love Australia! The Forties and war-time are just about my favorite eras for vintage fashion and I collect them whenever I can. Thanks for showing the fashion photos and patterns. Thanks also for your visit to my site – daily photos of my own true vintage fashion collection.


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