There are few bigger social events on the calendar than a day at the races. No matter how big or small an event may be, it is always an occasion to get dressed up in your finest glad rags.
Horse racing remains an exceptionally popular day out for millions across the world, with visitors ranging from couples, to friends and family.
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However, it can often be daunting when it comes to deciding what to wear to a day at the races, with many courses often following their own dress codes for the day.
But, you can find a helpful guide on the dos and don’ts when it comes to what to wear for a day at horse racing.
Understand the Dress Code
Before selecting your outfit, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the dress code of the specific horse racing event you’re attending. Different races may have varying levels of formality, ranging from casual to formal attire.
Most races have specific guidelines for each area, such as the general admission section, members’ enclosures, or exclusive hospitality areas. Research the dress code ahead of time to ensure you adhere to the rules and dress appropriately for the occasion.
Illustrious Events: The biggest races on the calendar often follow stricter dress codes than most, meaning that the outfit that you will need to wear for a day at Royal Ascot will alter drastically from what you can get away with wearing at an evening event at Wolverhampton.
For the biggest events on the calendar, it is always worth double checking the dress code section of the website to ensure that you will get into your enclosure before making the journey.
Classic and Elegant | Women’s Attire
Dresses and Skirts: Choose a knee-length or midi dress in light, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Floral patterns or bold colors can add a touch of vibrancy to your ensemble. Alternatively, pair a well-tailored skirt with a blouse for a polished look.
Hats or Fascinators: A horse race is synonymous with fashionable headwear. Select a hat or fascinator that complements your outfit and enhances your overall look. Avoid oversized hats that may obstruct the view of those seated behind you.
Shoes and Accessories: Opt for comfortable yet stylish shoes, such as wedges or low-heeled sandals, as you’ll likely be on your feet for most of the day. Accessorize with delicate jewelry and a small clutch to carry your essentials.
Sharp and Dapper | Men’s Attire
Men can exude sophistication and refinement with the right choice of attire. Follow these guidelines to create a sharp and dapper look:
Suits and Blazers: A well-fitted suit in a classic color such as navy, gray, or charcoal is a safe bet for a horse race. If the dress code allows for a more relaxed style, you can opt for a blazer paired with tailored trousers.
Shirts and Ties: Crisp, collared shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns are a go-to choice. Coordinate your shirt with a complementary tie that adds a touch of personality to your outfit.
Accessories: Complete your ensemble with polished leather shoes, a stylish belt, and a pocket square. A classic watch can be an elegant addition to your overall look.
Dressing for the Weather
Horse races often take place outdoors, so it’s important to consider the weather conditions when planning your outfit. You often see visitors to the racing getting caught out after not checking the weather forecast, meaning that you are often soaking wet after getting caught in the rain throughout the day.
Before going to the track, you should ensure that you have checked the latest weather conditions, which will enable you to decide whether you should take an umbrella to stay dry for long hours outside.
You should also check the weather in case the forecast is showing extremely hot temperatures, as this could mean that you have picked out an outfit that is too warm, and it may even show that you will need to take sun cream with you for the day out.
If the event is during the summer months, choose lightweight and breathable fabrics to stay cool. For cooler weather, layering with a blazer, cardigan, or scarf can add both style and functionality to your ensemble.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear to the races in the rain?
When attending the races on a rainy day, it’s important to prioritize comfort and waterproof attire. Opt for a waterproof coat or jacket made from breathable materials, and consider bringing along a waterproof hat or umbrella. Wear moisture-wicking base layers to keep you dry, and layer up with lightweight sweaters or fleeces for added warmth. Don’t forget to choose footwear that is water-resistant or waterproof, such as rain boots or waterproof leather shoes.
What is considered casual wear for horse racing for both men and women?
Casual wear for horse racing allows for a more relaxed and comfortable style.
For women, a casual dress paired with comfortable flats or sandals is a great option. Alternatively, you can opt for tailored trousers or jeans paired with a blouse or a casual top. Accessorize with a statement hat or a fashionable scarf.
For men, casual attire can include slacks or chinos paired with a button-down shirt or a polo shirt. Avoid jeans unless specifically allowed by the dress code. Complete the look with loafers or dress shoes and a stylish hat or cap.
What should I wear to the races in autumn?
Autumn races call for attire that combines style with warmth. Opt for garments made from heavier fabrics, such as tweed or wool. For women, a knee-length skirt or tailored trousers paired with a cozy sweater or a long-sleeved blouse is a classic choice. You can also consider wearing a stylish blazer or a lightweight coat. Don’t forget to accessorize with autumn-themed accessories like scarves or gloves.
For men, a sports jacket or blazer paired with slacks or corduroy trousers is a stylish option. Choose a long-sleeved shirt or a sweater in autumn hues, and complete the look with leather shoes or boots. Layering with a vest or a lightweight coat is also recommended for added warmth.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to check the specific dress code guidelines provided by the racecourse or event organizers to ensure you adhere to any specific requirements or recommendations for each occasion.