What to wear at the races
Many people choose to dress up for a day at the races and although often not mandatory, it is considered to be part of the raceday experience. Thankfully, the Racing Post has comprised a list of everything you need to know ahead of deciding what to wear to the races.
Although far from compulsory in all enclosures, smart dress is the accepted dress code for racegoers. Trainers and shorts are widely regarded as unacceptable, although not forbidden in some enclosures or at some meetings. The classic Flat racing attire for men is a collared shirt with trousers and smart shoes. Some choose to finish the look with a tie and blazer but this is personal preference, and to some extent determined by the weather.
Jumps meetings tend to adopt a dress for the weather approach as opposed to a strict dress code, as the weather is often cold and wet. An old traditional among jumps fans is to wear tweed, but that is simply a personal preference. Even when the deciding what to wear to the Cheltenham Festival, it is best to dress for the weather, unless you are lucky to be a corporate guest, in which case a suit may be more appropriate.
Although not compulsory in some exclusion, many ladies attending Flat meetings in the summer associate a day at the races as a day to dress up in all their glitz and glamour. Some of the more prestigious meetings and the ever growing number of ladies’ days push fashion to its limits with hats and bags an additional focus, while some meetings offer up competitions for the best dressed racegoers to enter.
As with the gentlemen, it is a case of wearing weather-appropriate clothing in the winter, with heels not advised in the likely wet conditions.
Royal Ascot – a special occasion
The royal meeting demands a dress code of its own and as such, deserves its own section here. Royal Ascot is a prestigious five-day meeting in June that is steeped in history, and the dress code is no different. Failure to comply with set dress codes can result in denied entry. For example, the Royal Enclosure demands all gentlemen wear a three-piece morning suit and top hat at all times. Ladies must wear a hat or headpiece at all times, as well as conform to an extensive list of restrictions regarding their outfits. Ascot also recently introduced a rule that all gentlemen should be wearing socks.
The Golden Rule
For full details of all dress codes, please refer to the individual racecourse websites, most of which provide great advice on what to wear for your day at the races.