Monday, 13th March, 2017

What To Wear At The Races – Men’s Fashion Advice

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UPDATED FOR 2017

And they’re off!

Having a day at the races is not just about putting a few bets on the horses anymore, well, has it ever been? There’s always been a lot of emphasis on what the girls are wearing, and who’ll have the best or most outlandish hat, but men’s style is just as important, so what you wear at the races should be something on par with your female counterpart. Let the ladies bring the glamour, and the gents bring the style.


Men's Suits For The Races
Suits from Hugo Boss – link

The dress code at horse race festivals

I’m not talking about the fashion rules just yet, I’m talking about the actual dress code or guidelines different festivals and events have in place. They will differ, they can even differ on the day you go, or even the enclosure you are looking to enjoy your day at. Some are a bit dressier, some a bit more casual, so to get the anxiety out of the way it’s best to check their own fashion advice on what is and isn’t allowed.

Men's Suits - Racing Attire For Gents

Suits For The Races

The most obvious thing to wear is a suit. A day at the races should be fun, and you don’t want to look like the same as you do every day in the office, so you can wear something which is a little more bolder or brighter than your usual black suit you may wear at work. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off your own personality and add a bit of style and colour to an outfit, and a great excuse to get dressed up.

You can try different colours such as plum, light or dark blues, cream or beige colours will also work well in the summer and give you more of a lighter look. You can look at something patterned, rather than a plain grey colour, try a modern check pattern in a mid grey colour.

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Mix And Match Jacket And Trousers Colour Combinations

Separating the colour combinations is something which is really exciting and could very well set you apart from the rest of the crowd. It means exactly what you think it does, simply wearing a different colour bottom to top; So that’s a different colour jacket to the trousers. This type of tailoring and fashion has become increasingly popular and is a trend I personally love, especially for the summer seasons. For this to work you have to make sure that you find trousers, a shirt and a jacket which compliment each other well, which is not always an easy task.

Using core colours is a good way to make sure everything matches up well; Dark blue or navy trousers should work with a grey jacket, to finish off with a light blue shirt. On the flip side, some light beige trousers with a navy jacket and a classic white shirt will work well too.

Oxford And Derby Shoes to Wear To The Races
Smart Shoes from Kurt Geiger – Link

Footwear – Keep It Smart

Your footwear should be smart, so we’re talking shoes, not trainers, not even smart ones. That said, it doesn’t mean they have to be boring. In terms of colour and style they should be fitting with the rest of your outfit. If you’re wearing a suit you may want to keep it smart with a pair of plain black or brown Oxford’s or Derbies which will keep the tone of the outfit smart and slick. If you’re going for a more colourful look with separate jacket and trousers or chinos, you could try a pair of brogues which can still be smart but inject some colour into your footwear, or a pair of smart suede shoes.

Smart Shirts To Wear To The Races

Shirts – Stick To Timeless Colours

If you’re going to inject some colour into your look with the suit/jacket/trousers, you’ll want to calm down the colour palette and neutralise your look with a shirt in a timeless colour which will keep you looking distinctive but not like you’re over doing it. Timeless colours include white, greys and blues, match these up with the rest of your outfit. A bright white shirt will go with almost anything, if you have any doubts, and it will set it up nicely for a tie.

Ties And Pocket Squares To Wear To The Races
Ties & Pocket Squares From TM Lewin – Link

Don’t Forget A Tie And Pocket Square

Being smart is all in the little details, so you should not neglect them. You’ll want a tie to go with your shirt and jacket combination, so make it a good one. Again, just because it’s quite a formal piece that doesn’t mean it has to be plain and boring. Go for something with a colour which compliments the shirt and jacket, inoffensive patterns and stripes are a really good idea and add more of an edge than a plain tie would. You’ll want a pocket square too, depending on the rest of the outfit you can go for the simple but classic square fold, which is as easy to do as it sounds.

Sunglasses And Watches To Wear At The Races
Watches from Uniform Wares, Daniel Wellington, BOSS and Armani. Sunglasses from Ray Ban.

Accessories – A Watch And Sunglasses

Watches are for men what a diamond ring or expensive handbag is to a woman. It’s one of the only pieces of jewellery or accessories we wear, and I think some investment should be made in getting a really good, man’s watch. Perhaps a lesser expense is a good pair of sunglasses, I personally like aviators and wayfarers. Both styles are timeless and so they can be considered an investment. I advise going with a classic brand such as Ray Ban.

What To Wear When It’s Cold Weather

There’s plenty going on in the horse racing world in both the Spring and Winter, and these months can get a bit chilly to say the least. It could be raining, windy or just freezing cold.  For example the Cheltenham festival takes place in March, which can have unpredictable and variable weather conditions. With that said, the dress code is more relaxed, and you’ll be able to wear something more appropriate, if the weather conditions are a bit on the cold side.

To maintain a smart look, you can go for an overcoat. This will keep your look smart while also keeping you warm. Go for an overcoat which compliments your suit colour, you could follow the camel overcoat trend, or choose something a bit darker such as black, grey or navy blue.

Verdict

Whether you choose to play it safe and elegant with a nice fitting blue suit, or you go down a more colourful look with separates, remember you’re there to have fun. Think about the outfit as a whole rather than single pieces, making sure the colours of different pieces work well with each other.

Men’s Race Day Outfit Ideas And Inspiration

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Above – A selection of suits from Hugo Boss

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Above – A selection of suits from Gucci

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Above – Blazers from Reiss

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The featured blazers above are from Tommy Hilfiger

The Major Horse Racing Events 2017

Now you know what to wear, here’s a rundown of the biggest horse racing events for 2017. Remember that different festivals, meetings and events may have different dress codes, so it’s better to check up before you go.

March 2017

Tuesday 14th March – Friday 17th March: The Cheltenham Festival. dress code

April

Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th – Grand National, Aintree. dress code

Friday 14th April – AW Championship Finals Day, Lingfield

Saturday 22nd April – Scottish National, Ayr

Saturday 29th April – Bet365 Gold Cup, Sandown

May

Saturday 6th May – 2,000 Guineas, Newmarket

Sunday 7th May – 1,500 Guineas, Newmarket

Wednesday 10th May – Friday 12th May – May Festival, Chester

Saturday 13th May – Victoria Cup, Ascot

Wednesday 17th May – Friday 19th May – May Meeting, York

Saturday 20th May – Lockinge, Newbury

June

Friday 2nd June – Saturday 3rd June – Investec Derby Festival, Epsom Downs. dress code

Tuesday 20th June – Saturday 24th June – Royal Ascot, Ascot. dress code

July

Saturday 1st July – Northumberland Plate Festival, Newcastle. dress code

Thursday 13th July – Saturday 15th July – July Festival, Newmarket

August

Tuesday 1st August – Saturday 5th August – Glorious Goodwood, Goodwood. dress code

Wednesday 23rd August – Saturday 26th August – Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival, York

September

Saturday 9th September – Sprint Cup Final, Haydock Park

Wednesday 13th September – Saturday 16th September – St. Leger Festival, Doncaster. dress code

Saturday 23rd September – Ayr Gold Cup, Ayr

October

Friday 13th October – Future Champions Day, Newmarket

Saturday 15th October – British Champions Day, Ascot – Dress Code

Saturday 28th October – Racing Post Trophy, Doncaster

November

Friday 17th November – Sunday 19th November – The Open, Cheltenham

Saturday 25th November – Betfair Chase, Haydock


  1. Nelson Said,

    Do you know where i can find the grey blazer in the right hand photo under the heading ‘Wearing a suit at the races’?

    Cheers

    posted on Thursday 14th July, 2016 at 12:55
  2. Michael Said,

    Hi Nelson,

    I am afraid I do not have information on that particular image, the other suit inspiration looks have their brands written under them.

    Michael

    posted on Thursday 14th July, 2016 at 15:08

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