An invite to a day at the races can send us ladies into a state of fashion stress, wondering what dresses to wear for the races, what is appropriate, and how to choose a hat that works. However, dressing for the races doesn’t have to be so scary. Stick to a few simple dress code rules and you’ll find a plethora of options that leave you inspired and excited to head down to the race course.

Here, we take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts for dressing for the races to clear a few things up. It’s also worth mentioning that certain race courses, like Ascot, have more specific rules, while some are more relaxed, such as Chester racecourse. It’s always best to head to their website and double check their specifics if you’re at all worried about what is appropriate.

What to Wear for The Races in The Summer

In the summer, even in England, race day can be spectacularly warm at times, allowing you to wear a beautiful dress without the need for a jacket or coat. However, keeping in mind that a day at the races is very long and consists mostly of being stood or strolling around, there are a few tips that might help you keep a little more comfortable.

It’s all about the shoes

It might be tempting to rock your highest and most sultry shoes, but this very rarely pays off. With chic styles in wedges and smaller heels now on-trend, opt for something that you won’t regret later in the day.

Opt for a dress alternative

It’s not just dresses that work beautifully for the races, a chic jumpsuit can be the perfect alternative, offering a comfortable, modest and effortlessly stylish option for an all-day event like the races.

Choose something you’ll wear again

It’s tempting to opt for a dress style that you’ve never worn before in order to fit into the race course dress code. The problem with this is that you’re likely to never wear it again. Choose something that works with the dress code but that you can wear again to a wedding or garden party so you’re not left with something you later regret.

Get creative when it comes to headwear

Race day is a great chance to indulge yourself and wear a hat or fascinator. Remember to choose your dress first and match your headwear to your outfit. You don’t have to match the colour perfectly, but if you decide to opt for a different hue, ensure it is different enough to look purposeful and not like an accidental mismatch.

What to Wear for The Races When It’s Cold

Heading to the races in the winter? Don’t worry, there are a few simple things you can add to your look to protect yourself from the chill.

Add a tailored coat

A stylish tailored coat can become the focus of your outfit when done right. Opt for sumptuous fabrics and faux fur accents and you’ll want to wear it all day long, leaving you snug and warm even during the winter.

Closed-toe shoes

It might sound simple but opting for closed toe shoes instead of strappy sandals can really help to keep your feet warmer, which has a huge effect on how warm the rest of your body feels.

It’s all about the fabric

When it comes to winter race day outfits, choose warmer fabrics to set yourself up for a more comfortable day. Tweed, wool and heavy lace win over chiffons and silks and faux fur jackets and stoles add a luxe detail to your look.

A Touch of Race Day Etiquette

Although the dress code is the main focus for most when planning what to wear for the races, there are a couple of other tips to bear in mind to make your day run as smoothly as possible.

Stop for cash

It’s never great to find yourself stuck in a queue for the ATM in your beautiful new race day outfit. Be prepared and grab some cash on the way.

Don’t bet too much!

It can be easy to get carried away at a day at the races but don’t let the champagne cloud your judgement when it comes to betting. Keep it fun and stick to your planned betting budget.

Check the forecast

Even if it’s summertime, don’t let the English weather fool you. Always check the forecast on the lead-up and morning of race day so that you can switch up your shoes or at least remember to bring a chic (as possible) umbrella to save your hairdo. If you know it’s due to rain, go easy on the false tan, a streaky leg doesn’t scream elegant race day attire!

What to wear for the races doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about elegance and a touch of drama, which means chic, modest dresses and killer accessories. Have fun with your look and dare to wear something that makes a stylish statement. Check out our Ascot race day dress code and style selections for a little extra inspiration.