Opportunities to get glammed up have been thin on the ground in recent years, but a day at the races is always a great time to dig out that killer dress you’ve been waiting for a chance to wear. From the Cheltenham Festival in March to the Epsom Derby in June, the UK and Irish horse racing calendar is stacked with different options to dress up and enjoy the on-site hospitality.
One of the best-attended meetings on the schedule is the Grand National at Aintree in Merseyside. Held each April, an estimated 70,000 will be on hand to watch the main race in 2022, for which the Cheltenham Festival winner Delta Work is the 8/1 favorite, according to the Grand National odds. Rachael Blackmore, who has become the first woman to win this race and the Gold Cup, rides 16/1 shot Minella Times.
A beautiful display of fashion at Ladies’ Day at Grand National pic.twitter.com/ThYB5GcTZ6
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) April 7, 2017
There is no formal dress code at Aintree, however, patrons are encouraged to glow up for race day and plenty take the opportunity. Other festivals, such as Royal Ascot, have a very formal approach – there’s even a page dedicated to what you can and can’t wear at the summer extravaganza.
So, here’s your guide on how to dress to impress at the races.
Remember the Weather
Generally speaking, if you attend a flat racing festival the action will take place in the British summertime and so your options are far greater, with dresses of any length welcomed along with a pair of ‘sensible’ (you are likely to be on your feet for hours on end) shoes.
However, the National Hunt meetings, like the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival, and the Christmas Festival, all take place in the winter or early spring. We know what that means as far as the weather is concerned!
Suit trousers are en vogue right now, and you will have seen plenty of stars wear full-length trousers with either a jacket or blouse on top to the Oscars. Given the inclement weather at many horse racing meetings in the UK and Ireland, this could be the smart – in all senses of the word – way to go.
A dress with tights or even a jumpsuit are other options, and you may just be thankful you chose to wear a long coat too, another must-have item for winter racing.
Be under no illusions: live horse racing is not a sit-down affair.
While there is hospitality at most leading racecourses, it is still usually standing only and if you have to walk to a train station or to the car park, you will be thankful that you went for a comfy pair of shoes rather than six-inch heels.
We all have a different pain threshold when it comes to the shoes we find comfortable, but a small heel or even mules might be the practical option. Wedges are also popular choices too because, while we all want to win best-dressed awards, we also don’t want to be hobbling around and nursing blisters for days, either!
A day at the races is a fantastic opportunity to glam up and dig your Sunday best out of the back of the wardrobe or, best still, acquire a whole new outfit to wear.