Dressing for a day at the races

Race day is just as much about the fashion as it is about the actual races, so dressing up in your best fashionable outfit is required!


There’s nothing like a race day to let your style shine and for you to enjoy the chance to dress up, and although almost anything goes in the race day fashion world, there are a few simple rules to follow to help you achieve that fabulous race day look.


Dress accordingly. Ladies, you are not going to a beach party or for a night out at a London club, so make sure you dress for the occasion and the weather. The races are all about class, so don’t have your skirt too short, wear heels you can’t walk in and have too much flesh on display.


Adhere to the dress code. While there is a more strict dress code at the big races like Royal Ascot, The Epsom Derby or The Grand National, dress codes are generally a little more relaxed at other venues, with smart casual being the order of the day. At the Royal Ascot where the rules are very strict, strapless, halter or spaghetti-strap dresses are banned. Straps must be wider than an inch and dresses and skirts must be at least knee-length. Hats are necessary in the Royal Enclosure and Grandstand. Fascinators are forbidden, as is any headpiece with a base of less than 4 inches (10cm).


Think about the day to evening transition. One of the great things about going to the races is that you can wear those fun outfits that you can’t figure out what to do with. But be sure to plan the outfit so that it can easily adapt from a smart casual day outfit to a more dressed up dinner outfit. This can easily be achieved by adding different accessories, a light coat or adjusting your hairstyle.

Go classic with solid colours. Loud and proud colour combinations make for a vibrant, confident look. Feel free to mix it up with another colour or be bold and stay true to your chosen colour from head to toe.


Stand out with modern prints. This is a fun trend to try out. Mixing up abstracts with colours can create a bold and fun look. Pair a print skirt with a solid top, or be daring and mix two prints together. Prints can give you free reign in your clothing choice and shows that you can take a risk and still look fabulous.


Monochrome is always a good bet. Black and white may be safe, but to spice things up you can play with separates or prints to get the monochrome trend. A little black dress with bold accessories is always classy. Want to try something different? Try a monochrome jumpsuit, pair it with a bold red lip and small clutch and you look like you are ready for the Red Carpet.


Embrace the season. With spring in full bloom, opting for a floral dress will prove to be a worthy investment. The modern way to wear your florals is big and bold. Or, for something a little more understated, think about a single colour outfit with a floral collar or a pastel floral print.


Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. Accessorising is a must for the races. It’s a great way to bring your personality into your outfit from shoes and hats to bags and necklaces. One good tip to remember is that your accessories don’t always have to be big and flamboyant, sometimes less is more. It’s all about complementing the outfit and getting that polished look that you still feel comfortable wearing.

Day at races wl

Shoes can make a statement all by themselves. If you’re keeping your look simple, go all out with some statement heels to make an impact. Block heels are a practical solution too if you will be on your feet all day. But don’t rule out flats, an embellished flat can be as pretty as sky-high stilettos.


Hair and make-up. Your hair and make-up can make or break your look, so pay as much attention to them as you would your outfit. No matter what your outfit, understated is always best when thinking about your race day hair and make-up style. Remember that it’s mostly a day event, so try not to go overboard with darker make-up shades. Keep it simple, with winged eyeliner and brown or subtle gold eye shadow paired with a bright lipstick.


By Sarah Coughlan

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