How to dress for the races for under $100 – or under $10?

If you’re going to the Melbourne Cup tomorrow, I’m fairly sure you’ve got your head attire organised. But if you haven’t, and you happen to have a) a few minutes and b) a shoulder pad, then read on.


Last weekend I was photographed and interviewed for The Age online about how to dress for the races for under $100. It was just as I was trying to prepare for a big Japanese production job so I hurriedly grabbed my green go-to racewear outfit which I posted about recently, but the story also required me to put together an outfit completely sourced from op shops. Hardly difficult, seeing as most of my wardrobe is from op shops, but I was still missing a headpiece, so I put one together from ribbon and fake flowers I had lying around. Click here to read the story and see what I came up with.

Anyway, while I was in my craft room panicking about the lack of headwear for the photo shoot, I noticed that a shoulder pad I’d removed from a knitted cardigan coat looked remarkably like a little pillbox/tiny beret kind of hat. I put that thought aside as I didn’t have time to do anything about it at the time, but I had a few minutes to spare before work this morning so I whipped this up just to see how it would look.

20141103_130242A bit Minnie Mouse, I know, but you get the idea. All I did was attach elastic to the shoulder pad and sew a bow made from fabric on to the top!

I wish I’d had time to create a full racewear look for Susie, who had about five seconds warning before this photo was taken (ha! little did she know when she agreed to meet for lunch that she’d be standing in a laneway with a shoulder pad on her head!) but I think this hasty snap at least shows how it was made and what it looks like. If you have a rounded shoulder pad that’s been taken out of clothing from the 80s, face the facts: you’re very unlikely to ever re-use it in anything else and it will sit in your craft stash gathering dust. So why not give this a go – you can add any decoration you like, it doesn’t have to be a bright pink bow. How about just one big artificial peony flower, a cluster of fake fruit, a fancy feather on an attractive angle, or even embroidery, seeing as the shoulder pad is soft enough for a needle to pass through. Who knew when my friend bought me that cardigan coat for $2.50 that I’d get a free hat out of it too? Maybe The Age article should have been about how to dress for the races for under $10 instead…