A Day at the Races – Style Guide for Men

There are many different forms of ‘horse-racing’ across the world these days but in the UK, race meetings fall under the auspices of the BHA – British Horseracing Authority & essentially fall into two categories:

horse jump

Flat racing – where thoroughbreds race over short distances on the ‘flat’ i.e. there are no jumps or fences
Jump racing – where horses race over greater distances and ‘jump’ brush or hurdle fences.

The Flat racing season runs over our summer months from April through to October & therefore offers the opportunity for ladies & gentlemen to dress in their summer finery – traditional morning suits & top hats for men, whilst women can embrace bright colours & prints from the latest catwalk collections, ‘topped off’ by an amazing variety of designer hats, fascinators & other headgear.

However, at this time of year, we are coming to the end of the ‘jump season’ – meetings are held over the winter months November through to April and with probably the coldest-ever weather predicted this week for the Cheltenham Festival dressing for ‘jump-racing’ is a whole different game – & protection from the weather is strongly advised!

The Cheltenham Festival is home to the Irish – St Patrick’s Day falling on Thursday 14th March and culminates with the Gold Cup on Friday 15th – the next big meeting in the ‘jump’ calendar being Aintree, hosting  the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday, 6th April.

For those of us not able to have a day (or few days for that matter!) watching the professionals at either Cheltenham or Aintree, amateur ‘jump’ race meetings in the form of point-to-points take place across the country at local venues .  Our local race meeting traditionally takes place on Flagg Moor, five miles south of Buxton, Derbyshire every Easter Tuesday.

Dressing for the races is unlike dressing for any other event.  For ease, men can quite easily fall into just wearing the same old suit as they would to the office but the ‘best-dressed’ take a more inspired approach to race-wear, always bearing in mind the unpredictability of the British weather! Key factors to success are warmth & comfort whilst cutting a dash amongst the crowds & celebs.

So if you want to join the racing style set but don’t know how … here are a few pointers:

Experiment with colours & patterns. Select a bold, bright coloured tie, mixing & matching with handkerchief  & the check or stripe in your shirt. A linking colour helps to bring the look together & don’t be afraid to ‘clash’ your patterns – spots with stripes & paisleys etc. – this can set your ‘look’ apart from the others and help you stand out in the crowd – great for getting spotted by the Fashion Scouts & maybe for even winning the ‘Best-Dressed’ Fashion Awards.

Co-ordinate with a traditional pair of classic moleskins or heavyweight corduroys – perfect for that smart, country look whilst still offering comfort & warmth.

Dress for the season by matching with a co-ordinating waistcoat, tweed jacket from Harris Tweed & the ultimate for class & style in racing attire – the covert coat.


Amazing Accessories – the correct accessories always lift an outfit, showing you have put effort & thought into your appearance & make you look ‘sharp’ and well-turned out for the occasion – attributes the ‘ladies’ love.

Think cufflinks, tie clips, belts & even sunglasses (you could always be lucky with the weather?!) Don’t forget hats – a traditional racing Newmarket hat  or trilby can only augment that classic outfit. Shooting sticks & binoculars will turn heads if ‘fine fillies’ are in your ‘sights’.


Footwear – Make sure these are not unearthed from the back of the wardrobe at the last minute.  They should be stylish yet waterproof & comfortable – you could be on your feet all day but above all they should be clean & polished and match your outfit. Brogues or ‘dealer’ boots are ‘de rigeur’.


Going to the races is great fun, so whatever the weather & whatever your chosen outfit … ENJOY …. and hopefully you’ll come home a winner!


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