Melbourne Fashion Festival

October 24, 2023

Sheena O'Connor plans to mix her wardrobe staples with a bold lipstick to freshen up her after-work look for the ...Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Barbie's top dressing tips for VAMFF

Thinking of heading to a runway show at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival? Let Barbie be your guide for what to wear and what to avoid.

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Getting dressed for a first date or an interview can be hard enough, so for many women (and men), deciding what to wear to a fashion festival is the stuff of nightmares.

Do I wear the latest trends, or go classic? Can I wear sneakers? How dressy is too dressy? Stuff it, I think I'll stay home in my trackies.

With the 20th Melbourne Fashion Festival kicking off on Monday, thousands of ticket holders are spending this weekend planning their outfits, down to the right accessories and smartphone cover (for taking all those selfies).

Sheena O'Connor plans to mix her wardrobe staples with a bold lipstick to freshen up her after-work look for the Melbourne Fashion Festival. Photo: Simon Schluter

But for many first-time festival goers, knowing what to wear can be enough to put them off going, admits festival CEO Graeme Lewsey.

"A lot of customers want to check in to make sure ... is the winged eye in this season, or is it about a juicy red lip? It really matters [to them] because these super stylish customers want to feel totally on trend, " Lewsey said. "And it's not just women. The guys [are] asking, 'is it still no socks with shoes, and how short should the roll-up on my skinny jeans be?"

After the 2015 festival, the organisers surveyed the public about what made them uncomfortable about their fashion week experience.

It found that many "newbies" fretted about looking unfashionable or out of place.

The research led to the creation of the "style me" platform on the festival's blog, including "flat lays" of sample looks and expert advice.

"People love the reassurance ... A lot of [ticket holders] are checking the social media handles for advice and updates, " Mr Lewsey said.

He personally advises buying a crisp white T-shirt, carrying plenty of make-up wipes for accidental rub-offs, and dressing from the ground up.

"Your shoes are like the full stop in a sentence. When you're sitting front row, when there's a pause or a gap the first thing I look at is everyone else's shoes, " he said.

Sheena O'Connor, 33, a finance controller, adds perfume, a charged phone and a bold lipstick to her list of festival must-haves.

"As I'll be going straight from work, I usually wear a silk tee and a leather skirt, " she said.

Having been to several Melbourne Fashion Festivals, Ms O'Connor said comfortable shoes are a must, and keep it simple.

When in doubt, "black is always safe", she said.


What's your VAMFF style advice?

Does your outfit bring you joy? If not, don't wear it. Nothing ruins a look faster than lack of self-confidence. Don't be afraid to go all out with your outfits at VAMFF, this is a festival for the people. Trends are dead in my opinion so feel free to ignore them.

Melbourne Fashion Festival opening night
Melbourne Fashion Festival opening night
Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival 2011
Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival 2011
20th Melbourne Fashion Festival
20th Melbourne Fashion Festival
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