After a stressful few weeks worrying about school selections, we have our places and this now means I can look forward to some of the more exciting dates in the calendar ahead. Ladies Day at the races is always a favourite of mine, especially when a day at the track has always been about more than a horse race. It is a place to see and be seen, and that means wearing the sort of clothes which will get you noticed for all the right reasons. Online newspapers and magazines love showing photos of Ladies’ Day at the races, highlighting the fabulous and the faux pax. So here are my top tips to ensure you don’t fall into the latter category!
Before you even think about what you’re going to wear check whether the racecourse you’re attending has a dress code. For example, Ascot encourages smart formal dressing during all their racing seasons, with more formal attire being required during Royal Ascot week. Ascot does not allow fancy dress or football shirts, however Cheltenham has no such restrictions as long as the costume is not offensive. Newmarket and Ayr have similar guidelines, as do other racecourses around the country. A good tip is to dress for the races as you would for a smart wedding.
The unpredictability of the British weather is shown to perfection when looking at photos of Ladies’ Day at Aintree in April. Some years it is freezing, other years it is like mid-July. Plan your outfit to take into account the conditions you may face, like rain, wind, and bright sunshine. In other words: layers.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a pass to the Royal Enclosure, It’s likely you’re going to be on your feet a lot during the day so wear shoes that won’t cripple you. I always go for an amazing pair of heels like those above but if you are more practically minded, wedges and platforms are fantastic for the races as they are easier to stand on for long periods of time, and won’t get stuck in the grass the way skinny heels will. Not only will you be standing, you’ll be walking a lot - from the car to the track, from the track to the bar and the bookies so bear this in mind if you have your heart set on a pair of Angel Wing Leather Sandals
The Perfect Race Day Outfit
The perfect outfit for the races is a dress or skirt that is knee length or longer to avoid any embarrassing mishaps with the breeze, and to keep your modesty intact when you sit down. Add a smart tailored jacket on top - something thick enough to keep you warm, but light enough that you can carry it if gets hot, and finish off with a pair of mid-height wedges. Trouser suits are fine - just make sure you don’t look like you’ve come from the office. There are so few occasions when you can legitimately wear a hat these days that it would be a shame not to. Look to Kate Middleton for inspiration.
Men can also go to town with their outfit. Whether they wear a classic grey or navy suit, or choose a modern look of mismatched trousers, jacket and waistcoat, they should at least consider wearing a hat like a trilby or fedora.
The three main tips to remember when dressing for a day at the races are to dress for style, consider your comfort, and wear layers to accommodate dithering weather.