Ready for the Races This Spring and Summer? Here’s What You Should be Wearing

Horse racing is one of the most ancient sports, dating back to 4500 BC. Today it is one of the most popular sports throughout the world. It’s more than just a chance to place a bet, however. For years, horse racing has been an event where ladies and gentlemen come together to socialise and show off their elegant ways. While many people tend to focus on the glamour of the women attending these events and the outlandish hats they choose to wear, your men’s style is just as important.

The QIPCO Guineas Festival, Boodles May Festival and Royal Ascot are fast approaching. If you’re heading off to the races this spring, make sure you know what to wear to these social and fashionable events.

Horse Race Dress Code

Before you even think about what colours, patterns and styles to wear to this type of event, you need to first check the rules of the race for what you’re expected to wear. The dress code for each race will vary, depending on where the race is, the enclosure or even the day you attend. Many of these events have their own websites where the dress code will be revealed. Some may be casual, letting you don a tweed jacket and some chinos for a comfortable and simple day. Others may be more formal, requiring men’s suits and morning coats.

Check out the dress code for the race you are attending, paying special attention to any differences that may occur because of the day you’re going to be at the race. If no website is available, make a few calls and find out what is required. You’ll be glad you did.

Wearing Men’s Suits

When the dress code is formal, men’s suits are the most obvious options for the race. However, you don’t have to look as professional as you do in the office. This is a time when you can really strut out your personal style and choose brighter, bolder colours. Some excellent options when it comes to colour are beige, cream, light blues and plum. Men’s suits in these colours still appear formal, but much lighter and more fun than your traditional black power suit.

In addition to the colours being fun, these options may also be more comfortable to wear at an outdoor event. A dark blue or black men’s suit may attract too much sunlight, stifling you and keeping you from enjoying the race. While spring may be a time of fickle weather, the sun’s rays can make the day appear more humid than it is when you’re wearing dark clothing.

Some other things to keep in mind when wearing suits to the races are:


  • Mix and Match- As long as you do it carefully, you can create some very unique and fun colour combinations that will help you stand out in a sea of style. Wearing a plum coloured jacket with a pair of beige trousers and matching shirt, for instance, can take your wardrobe to the next level. Just make sure everything matches the way it should. For instance, if you’re wearing a grey jacket, pair the jacket with white or navy trousers and a white or light blue shirt.


  • Go for Timeless- While you do have a chance to have fun with your ensemble, your colour palette should be calm when it comes to your shirt. By choosing timeless colours like whites, greys and blues, you neutralise the look you’re trying to achieve and let the focus fall on your suit. If you’re not sure which way to go with the shirt, try white.


  • Keep Your Feet Looking Sharp- When wearing suits to the races, always carefully consider your footwear. This isn’t he time for trainers or even loafers. Keep the smart and formal look of your attire going with a pair of Oxfords, brogues or Derbies.


  • Make the Details a Priority- The details of your ensemble are just as vital as the big finishes, so make sure to pay attention to them. Compliment your shirt and jacket with a tie and pocket square in a similar colour and pattern. If the rest of your ensemble is already making quite a statement, choose simple, solid colours for these accessories and a classic square fold for the pocket square.


  • Accessories- Maintain the traditional type of accessories you’d normally wear with a suit, like a watch and a wedding ring. Don’t go overboard in this department. There’s no need for cuff links at a horse race; they may get lost in the grass if they accidentally come out. You can add one new accessory to your ensemble, however: sunglasses. Choose a timeless style like wayfarers or aviators.

A Casual Day at the Races

Some races are much more casual and don’t require men’s suits. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put as much effort into selecting your attire. This is the time when you can easily wear that brilliant blue polo shirt or light green tweed jacket you love.

The same rules apply for your casual outfit when it comes to colours and patterns as apply to the suits. Have some fun, but make sure everything matches and the combinations aren’t too out there. Remember, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Whether you pair some knitwear with a pair of chinos or suit trousers, consider a men’s tweed jacket to complete the look. Not only does this type of jacket give you a smart appearance, but it is also an ideal choice to wear in spring weather. The fabric is breathable so you can stay comfortable, but also warm in case the race is on a chilly or windy spring day.

Are you ready for the races? Consider more than just which horse you think is going to win. Think carefully about what you’re going to wear to this elegant and social event. Whether it has a casual or formal dress code, a horse race is the perfect chance for you to show off your personal style.

By Brook Taverner 25 April 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments