If you’re looking for a sign that even the Sydney elite are feeling the stinging pinch of the cost of living crisis, look no further than a $59.99 dress.
This year on Boxing Day, while many of us were facing severe hangovers, stuffing wrapping paper into our recycling bins upon Mum’s request or braving the sales with our divorced aunty who uses as much elbow as a scrappy netball player, Sydney’s Randwick Races were also popping off.
As per usual, it was a sea of men in beige chino pants paired with navy blue blazers and aviator sunglasses – we get it, you’ve seen Top Gun Maverick, and it’s really “inspired” your style.
Still, it’s hard to laugh at the boys for all dressing the same because one red dress was everywhere… seriously, it was everywhere.
The races in Sydney are located in the affluent eastern suburbs, and while yes, the place attracts all types of Aussies, there’s a fair amount of people there who definitely buy the $14.50 tuna dip from Pasta Pantry in Woollahra, while most of us save up to buy vegemite from Coles.
The Randwick Races are where you’ll usually see women wearing dresses from brands such as Bec + Bridge, Rebecca Vallance, Sir the Label and Zimmerman.
You’ll also usually spy some Kookai and a few same-day orders from The Iconic among the crowd.
While the prices of these dresses cover a decent range, women are usually throwing down anywhere between $150 and $800 for an outfit to wear to the glorified field.
It’s eastern suburbs fashion; these people spend $100 on leggings, so of course, their fancy dresses will cost hundreds.
People living in affluent areas and attending local events wearing expensive clothes are standard, but there’s finally been a shift.
An Aussie woman posted on TikTok that she turned up to the races on Boxing Day only to be stunned – positively stunned! – to see everyone was wearing her $59.99 dress from the popular but affordable retail chain Glassons.
To give you an idea of the kind of cliental Glassons attracts, once when I was lining up to try on some clothes, I listened to the two girls ahead of me discuss the logistics of whose mum was going to drop them off and whose mum would pick them up from a party.
It’s a fashion label that fits firmly into what teenage girls can afford and now it is selling the ‘it’ girl dress of the summer.
The TikTok comically showed just how many girls had worn the red dress that day… and it was seriously everywhere.
Among a sea of men in navy blazers holding vapes was the red dress again, again and again.
The red dress is stunning, silky-looking, midi length with a flattering V-shaped neckline that looks good on everyone – it’s a great choice.
Still, it’s definitely a more affordable choice than what we are used to seeing at this kind of event.
Are we finally seeing a trend of people in the eastern suburbs ditching designer for chain to cope with living pressures?
Is this their version of not buying a $5 coffee every day anymore in order to try to keep afloat in these trying times?
Is it their version of not buying Watermelon anymore? In September, Coles was selling the fruit for $3.90-4.50 per kilo depending on the state, or approximately $36 for the whole melon, depending on final weight, while Woolworths was slightly cheaper at $34.32.
People in the comments section were divided on the dress’s oversaturation; someone said that it looked “amazing” on everyone wearing it while another said this was why they “hated” Australian fashion. Another person added that it was the perfect example of why you shouldn’t shop where everyone else does.
Other women admitted that TikTok had officially made them want to buy the dress because everyone looked so stunning.
Someone else said they’d immediately leave and go change, and one just commented: “Oh, uh.” Whatever that means.
In any case, the $59.95 red dress trend has revealed that even Sydney people still attending the races during a cost-of-living crisis are leaning into more affordable fashion.