What to wear to the races?

What To Wear To The Races

Not quite sure what to wear to the races? Fear not, the Racing Post has comprised a list of everything you need to know about what is expected of racegoers.


Although not 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 the family enclosures. 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.  Winter brings a slight variation, with silk and cotton swapped for tweed and wool. You may also consider a jumper, if the weather is particularly bleak.


Flat racing for the ladies is all about glitz and glamour. Hats, heels and horseracing go hand in hand. Some of the more prestigious meetings push fashion to its limits with hats and bags an additional focus. The jumps season requires a warmer look however, with wool and fur replacing silk and cotton. Scarves, cardigans and jumpers are sometimes necessary so be sure to check the weather forecast. Delicate heels are not advised due to the nature of the ground in wet weather.


Special occasions

Prestigious meetings such as Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood demand the smartest dress wear. Failure to comply with these dress codes can result in denied entry. For example; the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot 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. Goodwood, has a similar policy regarding gentlemen’s jackets – demanding they are worn at all times unless authorised. For full details on dress codes for different enclosures at different racecourses, please make sure you review the racecourse website.