What to wear to the races – styling guide for his & her attire

Horse racing is the sport of kings, and most people think that when you go the races the dress code is very strict. In fact, most races only require you to be smartly dressed. You could even turn up in a fancy dress if you were attending as part of a charity. Certain races such as the Royal Ascot have age-old traditions and have specific style requirements depending on the enclosure, whilst other races or polo events have more relaxed rules.

If you want to make a real occasion of it and turn up with friends looking sophisticated, you can have fun standing out. Get your wardrobe into gear with my style guide.

What to wear to the races - attire for him

Races attire for him

The gents are advised to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion. It is recommended to wear a jacket, shirt and full-length trousers. Jeans and chinos are best avoided even at race events with the most relaxed dress code. Chums offer an assortment of colours, and smart trousers in slim or skinny fit. If there isn’t a specific requirement for suits with jacket and trousers of the same colour, you can have fun with patterns, prints and mismatching pieces.

Accessories are the key to binding an outfit together. Brown leather always goes well with a blue suit, so pair a brown leather belt and shoes with a navy blazer and sky blue trousers. If you’re wearing grey or black suit, then choose a black belt and shoes. Opt for classic gentleman’s staples like Brogues or Oxford shoes from brands like Kurt Geiger rather than loafers and boat shoes. It’s important to note that the socks should cover the ankles.

What to wear to the races - attire for her

Races attire for her

The ladies have more freedom for creativity, but the dress code is generally that of a formal daywear. Check the specifics for the race event and enclosure you’re going to visit in order to choose the right dress. An elegant dress from Little Mistress which doesn’t expose the chest is a good choice. Jumpsuits are now accepted as a race attire even by the Royal Ascot as long as they follow the rule of appropriation and have full-length trousers covering the ankles. Avoid strapless tops including off the shoulder, bardot style and one shoulder dresses.

Consider that you will be spending most of the day largely in outdoor areas and up on your feet when deciding on footwear. Heels are not a must, but if you don’t feel right wearing flats, Moda in Pelle wedges or this year’s cat heels might be best for you.

Headpieces are very important to complete the look. Certain enclosures require a hat with at least 4 inch brim, whilst others may allow you to play with your hair accessories and wear a smaller hat or a fascinator.

Horse race

Outfit photos – credit to Ascot Racecourse



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