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The right attire for the races

derby attire
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Horse racing is different to any other sport when it comes to dressing up. With most sports, there is no right or wrong attire, however with horse racing there is. Men and women are expected to dress in a particular way and if failing to do so, they may not be granted access into the venue.

With Cheltenham festival already coming to a close and a number of other important horse racing events in the calendar for 2022, it’s important you are aware of the dress code so you don’t make the mistake of being denied entry and missing out on the great atmosphere, entertaining races, glamorous bars and restaurants and most importantly, the excellent selection of bookies offering you great odds on the horses so you can walk away with your pockets full. One of the biggest horse racing betting sponsors is Smarkets, who we recommend when looking for the best odds on horse racing.

Gentlemen’s attire

For men, the dress code is simple, look smart. Most men at the races will be wearing suits and smart shoes. If you are unsure as to what you need to wear as a male and you don’t want to run the risk of not making it in, wear a suit.

Many racing festivals will have dress codes for men and women on their websites. They regard caps, shorts, trainers amongst the list of clothing and accessories that are unacceptable in most enclosures.

Whilst the right attire is necessary, it’s also important you dress appropriately for the weather so you feel comfortable and can actually enjoy yourself. If the festivals or race meetings are taking place in the winter months, then wearing a coat, gloves, scarf etc as well as smart attire is completely fine and acceptable. Similarly, if the event is taking place in the summer months, you don’t have to wear a blazer, tie or long shirt. Feel free to just simply wear a shirt, trousers and smart shoes.

Women’s attire

Typically, women find it harder than men to find the right attire for the races, despite their dress code also being simple and perhaps having a bigger variety of clothing to choose from.

The summer months are the most popular time for ladies to get glammed up for the races. There are racing days fit for these occasions, known as “Ladies Day”. Look out for these racing fixtures and witness the great experience and fun that these days are packed with.

Women are recommended to wear classy outfits, typically long dresses that are of a high standard. They are free to wear accessories as well, including headwear, jewellery and a clutch bag. In some cases, some events will also suggest bringing a “Plan B” outfit just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, which does happen occasionally in the UK.

Items of clothing that are not normally considered acceptable include casual denim, sports attire, leggings, trainers, thongs, etc. “Distressed or “ripped” clothing is also a no-go, no matter what brand they may be or how expensive it is.

Be prepared to walk across the grassy terrain to get right up close to the horses during the races, so plan ahead with your footwear. If there’s been bad weather in the days leading up to the event or there is a chance of rain during the event, heels wouldn’t be the smartest choice, as they can sink into the soft mud and will ultimately lead you to walking around barefoot.

When looking at dresses to wear, color is always appreciated. Whether it is just one simple color, like a yellow or blue dress, that is fine. Or if you want to push the boat out a little more and go for a more colorful, floral dress, that’s also fine.

Are you ready?

Now you know the rights and the wrongs of racing attire, it’s time for you to get your glad rags on and enjoy everything the races have to offer. Don’t forget to take plenty of money with you for the food, drinks and some sun cream to avoid any sore regret after the festival. You can find a full list of everything you need to enjoy a day at the races.

Story by Sian Holmes


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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