Dressing for the races can be one of the most arduous tasks. How formal should you dress, or should you opt for comfort over style? You don’t want to end up on any worst-dressed lists!
When it comes to country dressing, you will already be a pro. Think of dressing for the races as a formal country wear or wedding attire. You don’t have to dress for a ball but looking put-together is never a bad thing. As you read this blog post, you’ll find that you probably own several, if not all of the pieces mentioned. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing which pieces fit well together to make a complete outfit or knowing how to style certain pieces.
If you’re unsure of whether you think an item in your wardrobe would be suitable for a day at the races, read on for some of our styling tips and advice on which items work best for the races. We’ve split our post into women’s and men’s race day attire and added some of our favourite products and collections for you to browse over.
As a country lady, to look classy & sophisticated is always a first thought when considering a look for the races. Embody your inner lady of the manor personality and you’re all set.
Tweed is one of the most versatile materials out there and looks perfect for race day. How about a tweed suit, comprising of a matching blazer and skirt? Classic and stylish yet still comfortable. With our tweed skirts, they are perfect for all weathers. Just add a pair of thick black tights underneath for autumn and winter races.
When it comes to jackets, a blazer is the smartest option. Other styles can look too casual whereas a fitted blazer would look in place for a work meeting so works just as well for a day at the races. Make sure your blazer is fitted enough to be buttoned up but so not too tight that you can barely breathe!
A checked shirt is your new best friend, offering some colour to darker ensembles. Lilacs, pinks and baby blues complement many different threads of tweed as well as plain-coloured blazers. We also offer a range of animal-print shirts, from horses to hares. These are a classic country style so you really can’t go wrong. Make sure it’s fitted but not tight so you can move freely and cheer when hopefully your horse is a winner!
If you prefer trousers to skirts, a smart pair of trousers can be an alternative. It is preferred that you don’t wear jeans to the races, but a slim-fitting pair of work trousers would work just as well. You could go for a clashing tweed or checked-print pair that complements your blazer if you want to!
When it comes to ladies footwear, this can be the trickiest part. Heels and grass are never a good combination, but you equally need a pair of shoes that are smart. Knee-high boots or brogues often work well for the races as again, they are comfortable but still stylish.
You’re best opting for leather too as suede when it gets muddy can be a nightmare to clean. Wearing dark coloured footwear can also prevent your shoes from looking too grubby if they do get a little dirty!
Of course, you’ll want to rock some accessories on race day and our Danby Wool Felt Hat is a perfect addition to your outfit for a winters day at the races! Take a small handbag with you, ideally the same shades as your hat, keeping just the essentials inside.
If it’s particularly chilly, add a complimentary scarf over the top of your outfit to give it a sophisticated touch. You might want to add some leather gloves if it’s really cold too!
When it comes to gents dressing for the races, think formal office wear with a countryside twist. Lots of tweeds, possibly a waistcoat and smart shoes. This classic look will have you up for best-dressed man, we’d put a bet on it!
Just like the ladies, a tweed blazer is a great starting point. You might even already own one but make sure it’s in pristine condition before wearing it for race day.
If you want to go even more formal, a matching waistcoat always ramps up the style factor. Gone are the days when tweed was a stiff, unfashionable fabric. Now it has been in every high street store and on every men’s fashion catwalk, having a fashion resurgence!
You should already be the owner of a smart shirt, whether that’s plain coloured or checked. A crisp oxford cotton always looks smarter than a brushed cotton shirt for these types of occasions. Match up the colour of your shirt with the thread of your tweed to look even more stylish or be a rebel and pick contrasting colours!
Smart trousers are an item that most men have in their wardrobe, that could be ideal for race day. Whether they’re plain or checked, a straight-fit pair of trousers will take you from casual to formal in no time! Ideally matching tweed trousers will make you really look the part.
Smart footwear for race days is the quintessential item you need to have on. You can’t complete a country gentleman look with casual trainers. Your best bet is to opt for leather shoes, such as brogues or slim-fitting ankle boots. You need to look office-appropriate but also comfortable.
Opting for a dark pair of shoes is ideal to not show up any mud from the grass but be sure to clean them when you get home.
Many of the items named above are what we consider to be country clothing staples, meaning you probably already own many, if not all of them. With formal dressing, it’s getting the right styling techniques down, so you look smart but also feel comfortable. A day at the races is not 100% formal but it’s equally not a jean and a T-shirt kind of day. It’s all about finding the right spot of the smart-casual spectrum for you.
Make sure to check out our formal wear collections under our men’s and women’s menus where you can find a whole range of products, hand-picked for events such as a day at the races.