What to Wear to the Races

By Swindon Link - 10 March 2024

Clubs & Activities

Attending a day at the races is not just about cheering on your favourite horses; it's also an opportunity to showcase your style and sophistication. Whether you're heading to Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival, or your local track, dressing appropriately is essential to making a memorable impression.

A lot of people head to the races not only to cheer on the horses, but use it as an opportunity to get merry with friends and family This will certainly be the case with the upcoming Cheltenham festival, as well as taking advantage of the Cheltenham betting odds and hopefully coming away with big winnings from betting. What they often forget to do is prepare their outfit in advance which might not always be cheap if you don’t already have the correct attire.

In this article we’ll take a look at the different dress codes and options for you when heading to the races so you can prepare in advance.

Embrace Tradition

Many racecourses, such as Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup, have strict dress codes, often requiring formal attire for certain enclosures. Embrace tradition by opting for timeless classics like tailored suits for men and elegant dresses or skirts for women.

Men should opt for a well-fitted suit in traditional colours such as navy, charcoal, or grey. Pair it with a crisp shirt, coordinating tie, polished shoes, and a classic hat, such as a fedora or trilby.

Women can choose from a variety of options, including chic dresses, tailored separates, or stylish jumpsuits. Opt for modest hemlines and avoid overly revealing outfits. Complete your look with statement accessories like a fascinator, clutch bag, and heels.

Dress for the Weather

The weather can be unpredictable at the races, like with any outdoor sport, so it's essential to dress accordingly. Check the forecast beforehand and layer your outfit to stay comfortable throughout the day.

For cooler temperatures, men can add a stylish overcoat or blazer, while women can layer with a tailored jacket or wrap. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen in warmer climates to stay cool and comfortable.

Stand Out with Statement Pieces

While traditional attire is encouraged, don't be afraid to inject your personality into your race day outfit with statement pieces.

Men can add flair with colourful ties, pocket squares, or patterned socks. Experiment with bold accessories like a stylish watch or statement cufflinks to elevate your look.

Women can make a statement with eye-catching hats or headpieces, vibrant scarves, or bold jewellery. Opt for unique textures, patterns, or embellishments to add interest to your ensemble.

Consider Comfort

A day at the races can be long and tiring, so prioritise comfort when choosing your outfit and footwear.

Men should opt for comfortable shoes with adequate support, such as loafers or brogues, to withstand hours of standing and walking.

Women should choose heels with a manageable height or opt for stylish flats or wedges for added comfort. Consider gel inserts or blister-prevention products to ensure all-day comfort.

Follow the Dress Code

Familiarise yourself with the specific dress code requirements of the racecourse you're attending and adhere to them accordingly.

Respect any guidelines regarding dress length, neckline, and headwear, as failure to comply may result in refusal of entry to certain enclosures.


Dressing for the races is an opportunity to showcase your style, sophistication, and respect for tradition. Whether you're attending a prestigious event like Royal Ascot or enjoying a day at your local track, dressing appropriately is essential. Embrace timeless elegance, consider the weather, add flair with statement pieces, prioritise comfort, and adhere to dress code guidelines to ensure you look and feel your best on race day. With the right outfit, you'll be ready to enjoy the excitement and glamour of the races in style.


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