How to Dress for a Day Betting on the Races
A day at the races is one of the most exuberant days you can dress for. People flock to the race venues – York and Thirsk, Ascot and Aintree, Cheltenham and Epsom – from around the country, sipping Pimm’s on the train as they pile on in their finery for a day of excitement, tension, and fun. Choosing a name, betting on the horses, and backing a winner might be the highlight of the day, but it doesn’t hurt to look good while you’re doing it. So, what does one wear for a day at the races?
Dress to Impress
The main rule to think of when dressing for the races is to dress to impress. You should be planning to go all out and opt for floral or summery designs that would be as suitable for a swanky bar after the betting is over. The outdoor nature of the event means you can play around with some casual versions of glamourous gowns that you might choose for cocktail receptions or fancy parties, while the excitement of seeing the horses run means something lightweight is essential.
The first rule of footwear for the races is to choose something sensible that works with the outfit. You’ll be on your feet all day and may have to stand on uneven ground, so high heels wouldn’t be practical. You could always bring a change of footwear in your bag, but most people choose something reasonable enough to last the day. Ascot is known for ladies attending in wedges.
Follow the Rules
Some racecourses, such as Royal Ascot, actually have dress codes in place. For instance, shorts and crop tops are banned and, while trouser suits are permitted, they’re less common to see than the standard dresses. Fascinators are almost always encouraged.
White dresses – befitting summer too – are also encouraged. Most occasions would suggest you can’t wear a white dress (especially your friend’s wedding!) but the races actively encourage the bright summery look of wearing white. With the fashion rule that you can’t wear white after the end of August or the American Labour Day Weekend, it makes the races seem even more seasonal as you embrace summer. As long as you follow these rules, a fashion faux pas won’t get in the way of the actual horse races.
Place Your Bet on Pretty Woman
Some women lump for the classic Pretty Woman outfit worn by Julia Roberts in the film. This has become so popular that polka dots are commonly worn to the races. This fits not only the venue but also makes sense for a summer party outside. As watching the races and betting on them is a theme for the scene in the film, it makes sense the replicate her style for when you place your own bets.
While looking the part is critical for the Insta snaps and Facebook check-ins to commemorate the day, you’re also there to have a flutter. Choosing a horse to carry you across the finish line to victory can be difficult. Some people choose their favourite colour, the name of the horse, or even who the owner or jockey is. As the tips for the Cheltenham races show, there are more logical ways of choosing a winning horse, such as statistics in their previous races and whether they are suited to the type of terrain or not.
There are many ways to dress for the races. The latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK featured the contestants dressing for the races on the runway, with each contestant giving a different spin on a day at the races – with one even dressing as a jockey and another as a horse. Choosing the look that you think suits you is important, but a lot of inspiration can be gained online and looking at what other influential women have been wearing to the races.