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What to Wear to a Horse Race


Whilst a day at the races has always been considered to be a black-tie event, autumn/winter racing can vary its dress code a little. That’s not to say you can rock up in joggers and muddy boots though! Formalwear with us is all about finding the perfect outfit for the biggest occasions but equally, making it wearable for the rest of the year. Suits can be worn as a three-piece or separately, smart shoes for the office can be worn for dressier events and collared shirts look smart all year long!

It may well depend on the type of racing too. Traditionally, flat racing dress is considered to be more formal than that of jump races, where it is more appropriate to dress to the weather conditions. With meetings taking place in mostly the winter months, it’s more practical to be dressed for any kind of weather. However, you might be expected to wear anything for a top hat and tails or a fancy hat and fitted dress to smart-casual tweed outfits!

Whilst we always recommend checking on the racecourse’s website for your event, we’ve come up with a few of our styling tips from experience. This guide will show you what to wear to a horse race in that smart-casual mould. Expect lots of tweed, leather shoes and accessories to boot!

Ladies Horse Race Outfit

A tweed suit

We couldn’t start with anything else! Whilst the colour schemes and fits might be different for men and women, the golden rule still applies: match up your tweed pieces! Whether you’re wearing a three-piece suit or ditching the waistcoat, keeping your outfit within the same tweed family is a must. You can wear three pieces separately too if you prefer and don’t forget that you don’t have to just preserve a tweed suit for race days! Stick the blazer on for family gatherings and wear the trousers or skirt to work. Three pieces of the same tweed can feel a bit too much for many so consider wearing just two pieces to complete an outfit.

For country gentlemen, matching your waistcoat and blazer is a favourite way to do this. Tweed trousers can not only be uncomfortable but also can be a little harder to wear. Of course, you can just opt for the blazer or waistcoat but we love the way it looks with both items together! Whether you go for a quieter herringbone pattern or opt for a colourful thread throughout, you can easily dress it up or down. Our tailored blazers are designed to be fitted and you will definitely look the part. Tweed blazers are the epitome of classic British countryside fashion.

For the ladies, you can also go subtle with darker hues, such as brown and grey, or add a pop of colour with a light green-blue choice instead. Our tweed skirts and blazers, both short and long fits, match together to make a complete suit. We love to wear them together on race days because they look so classic and put-together, like the sophisticated country lady you are! We also have a range of waistcoats that look perfect paired with a plain, fitted skirt. They also look amazing paired with skinny jeans and a fleece gilet, ideal for casual days in the countryside or running errands in town.

Men's Brogue Shoes

A collared shirt

It wouldn’t be a country fashion checklist without a collared shirt. As you probably know by now, a fitted, collared shirt sees you through so many occasions: office working, casual weekend outings, nights out with family and friends and dressier events, such as weddings and race days of course! Here at Rydale, we all have a collection of collared shirts in our own wardrobes and often add one a season when new styles, colours and patterns get released.

With autumn well and truly here, we like to switch our brighter tones for more muted shades of brown, khaki and navy. However, if you’re a fan of colour, wear your colourful shirts all year long! Classic country checks are a must here. try to match up the thread on your tweed with the colours of your checked shirt to really tie in the look. Stick with long sleeves for a more formal look. Remember that you can buy a shirt for a special occasion but you can most definitely wear it elsewhere too. Our men’s and women’s collared shirts have such a large range so you really are spoilt for choice!

Ladies Tweed Suit

Leather footwear

Whilst wearing your snazziest shoes for a race day will look amazing, you also need to remain practical. A pair of leather shoes or boots are a must for outdoor events. because race days tend to be a little more formal, we’d recommend going for sleek-looking boots, rather than clumpy styles, or brogue-style shoes/boots.

Chelsea boots are a solid choice for men and women because they’re a countryside staple that can easily be dressed up or down. Sticking with a neutral colour ensures that they’ll go with any outfit and you don’t have to spend time wondering if your shoes will colour clash. Darker shades of brown feel a little dressier but we love hues of cognac and tan as well.

The other smart shoe option is brogues. Many men have a pair they wear solely for the office but we’re a big fan of wearing them for any smart-casual occasion. Again, a tan pair is perfect for going with any colours and you also know they’ll never go out of fashion. For country ladies, we love a brogue boot, either a slide-on style or lace-ups.

Ladies Suede Boots

A waterproof jacket

Whilst you can have the nicest outfit on and have checked the weather multiple times before a race day, you should always expect the unexpected when it comes to British weather. Taking a waterproof jacket might seem like a ridiculous idea but if you’re going to be outdoors all day, you might be grateful for planning ahead. If you’ve got a layered outfit on already, a jacket in a packet might be enough to keep the worst of the rain off. Our men’s and women’s styles have been designed to pack up as small as possible so it won’t take up much space in a bag.

If it’s colder out or you prefer a thicker jacket in general, you can choose anything from a wax jacket to a quilted style or a full waterproof coat. The options for both men and women are endless!

Choosing what to wear to a horse race doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. Pick countryside fashion staples of tweed and leather and you’re set for any race day. We love to get pieces that mix and match, like a tweed suit, for a multitude of occasions. Invest in pieces you love so you’ll wear them over and over again.


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