What To Wear To The Races – Horse Racing Style Guide

Race day

A day at the races is a wonderful excuse to get dressed up and indulge yourself in the glamour of the racetrack. But with so many different race meets and dress code expectations it can be difficult to know the right outfit to wear. When going to the races getting tips for the days racing is a must for Race day!

We can help to take the stress out of dressing to impress with our what to wear to the races – horse racing style guide. 

Race day dress code

From Ascot and Cheltenham to Aintree as well as smaller courses such as Chester and Ludlow, there are actually 60 racecourses in the UK, and each has its own style, character and dress code.  And it is likely that this dress code will vary, depending on the season, race meet and type of admission. 

The racing season

A course’s dress code may also be influenced by the racing season, with the flat season – which runs from April to October – being the more formal while the late jump season from November is known to be more casual, although this is normally defined as smart casual. Allowances for the weather during the season should also be made. 

Stands and enclosures

Your admission type can dictate the outfit you wear, depending on whether you are in the enclosure or the stands.  If you are in the enclosure, particularly if it is at a prestigious racing event such as Ascot, then you will be expected to adhere to a formal dress code. However, the dress code in the stands can be a little more relaxed, with smart casual the order of the day for most events. But if you are in any doubt, always dress up and not down.

Deciding what to wear on Race day

Now we know that each course will have its dress code, you can tailor your outfit to suit the event you are attending. Here’s a quick overview of the perfect styles for both men and women come race day. 

Guide for ladies

With the summer’s flat race season typically the most glamorous, the big meets are a draw for the ladies as it gives you the chance to dust off your heels and gorgeous new dress. Total glitz and glamour can also be the focus for the more prestigious events and the rise in popularity of Ladies’ Days which often include ‘best-dressed’ competitions. 

Floaty dresses, heels (as comfortable as you can get, of course) and hats or fascinators are all the order of the day at these special events, which are also an opportunity to showcase your favourite designer creation. For other race events, smart to smart/casual is a good rule to follow, although it is also essential to dress for the weather as heels can be problematic in wet course conditions. 

Guide for gentlemen for Race day

As a general guide, smart dress should be the go-to dress code for men when attending the races, particularly if you are in the enclosures. And it is important to note that shorts, vests, jeans and trainers are widely regarded as unacceptable at most courses although that doesn’t mean they are prohibited so do check the course’s website for more guidance. 

For flat races, the typical outfit for men is a collared shirt, with trousers and smart shoes, while a tie and jacket are optional. And don’t forget that the weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer, so always smartly dress for the weather at the time. 

The final word about Race day…

If in any doubt, opt for smart rather than casual and always check the racecourse’s website in advance for their specific dress code so you know you are always stepping out at the races looking your best!