423 days ago . by Krystian Szastok

Dresses For The Races - The Ultimate Guide

423 days ago . by Krystian Szastok
Dresses For The Races - The Ultimate Guide

So you’ve been invited to the races - exciting! Horse racing events are some of the most glamorous days of the year. 

With many people using it as a fun excuse to put on a gorgeous dress for the races. 

However, there is a fairly strict dress code when attending the races, and you’ll need to adhere to it, if you want to look the part. This can make looking for dresses for the horse races stressful.

Luckily, we’re here to help with a complete and comprehensive guide to dressing for the races.

This guide will help you understand the do’s and don'ts for choosing a dress for the races, whether you’re attending the Ascot, Cheltenham, York or any other race event. 

The Importance of Following Dress Codes at Horse Racing Events 

Dress codes have been a thing at horse races forever, stemming from the types of people who would be able to go to these events in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wealthy, upper class people who could afford to dress a little more lavishly. 

Due to this luxurious origin, most horse racing events have turned into a mini met-gala, with both men and women being expected to dress to impress.  

But if you’re feeling like you won’t have the perfect dress, don’t panic! It is highly unlikely that security is going to escort you off the premises if you aren’t carrying a 6-figure custom-made handbag. 

Different Dress Codes at Different Events

 Different racing events will have slightly different dress codes and levels of strictness. Though most will be almost identical, with smart clothes and dresses required for entry, and no ‘novelty’ items allowed, e.g., a hen party tiara.

If you have any queries about the precise dress code for a specific event, you can typically find it on the official website for the given event.

Rules to Follow for the Perfect Race Day Dress

We’ve compiled everything you need to choose the perfect dress for race day, from the colour, pattern, fabric to the weather suitability - we’ve got you covered. 

Style Of Dress

 Most styles of dresses will be absolutely fine for a day at the races, just keep in mind that horse racing has traditional roots, so it's usually advisable to wear a dress that isn’t too short, with anywhere below the knee probably being fine. 

Different events will require different dresses for the horse races, so it’s worth googling the event you’re going to and checking out what people have worn in the previous years.

We’re in the 21st century, so try to compromise as little as possible on your style, while still keeping in-line with the dress code. 

Make it your own!



Most horse racing events don’t have a rule for the colour of dresses. So long as you’re not sticking out too much, i.e. wearing a neon dress when everyone else is in dark navy, you should be good to go. 

Find a colour that you feel great in! Remember, it's about being stylish and expressing yourself as much as possible. 

Weather Suitability

This is an important one. If you’re going to a racing event in the UK, it's important to balance your stylish outfit with some pragmatic expectations of what the British weather will bring. 

Most horse racing events take place in the summertime, so there is often little need to worry about poor weather. 

However, at a winter horse racing event it’s probably advisable to forego the dress and wear a smart jumpsuit, that will both look great and keep your legs a little warmer!

Always bring an umbrella if it's looking like it might rain, there is nothing worse than getting soaked in a beautiful new dress.


There is likely to be a long line while you make your way into the horse racing venue, so it's worth wearing a dress and a pair of shoes that aren’t too uncomfortable to wear for a whole day.

Once you’re in the venue, it will be fairly busy and cramped so if you’re going in the summer try to wear something you can keep cool in.

Accessories to wear at a Horse Racing Event

Your race day style choices shouldn’t just end with the perfect dress. Pairing your dress with an appropriate accessory can be a great way of upgrading the entire look into something met-gala ready!

Choosing The Right Hat

One of the most eye-catching and versatile accessories you can see on race day is the hat.

Most events allow for a wide variety of different hat styles and colours. From beautifully regal wide brim hats to stylish headpieces. 


Finding the perfect jewellery match for your dress can be difficult, but once it is done you can be sure that it will help create a perfectly complete look. 

A simple necklace or broach can be a beautiful accompaniment to a more complex dress. Or if you’re going for a more simple, traditional dress, you can go with a bolder necklace that really catches the eye.

Hair and Makeup

No race day outfit is complete without the perfect makeup and hairstyle to match. These two obvious things can greatly enhance your overall look, making you stand out in the crowd. 

Since you'll probably be spending most of the day outdoors, make sure to use a high-quality primer and choose a weather-resistant foundation. 

Adding a little touch of blush for a healthy glow is a great option, and you can always finish with a setting spray to ensure your makeup stays pristine all day.  

In terms of deciding on a hairstyle, it's important to keep in mind that your hairstyle should work in harmony with your hat or fascinator. 

If you're wearing something more elaborate, consider a simple hairstyle like a sleek ponytail. 

Always remember, your hair should complement your headpiece, not compete with it.


While we've gone over a comprehensive guide to selecting the perfect dress for ladies day at the races, which accessories to go for, and how to put them all together for a stunning race day look, there's one element that we haven’t talked about - confidence. 

Embrace the race day spirit. Undoubtedly, the most important rule of race day fashion is to have fun with it. This is your chance to express yourself, so wear what makes you feel fabulous.

Confidence is always the ultimate accessory. 

If you feel stunning, you'll look stunning. And there's nothing more attractive than a person who's comfortable and happy in their own skin. 

Looking for a beautiful dress or day at the races outfits? Check out our stunning range of dresses here, and find the perfect look for you.


What is the Cheltenham races dress code?

The Cheltenham races dress code requires both men and women to wear smart attire to the event. This can mean a dress or jumpsuit for ladies, and a smart suit for men. 

What is the York races dress code?

Ladies are expected to dress smartly, either in a dress or any smart outfit. 

gentlemen are required to wear a jacket, collared shirt and tie, many racegoers like to dress up and step out in style for a day at York Racecourse.

How to dress for a day at the races?

Use common sense when choosing your outfit, ensuring that you're wearing something that can be considered traditional, I.E. a smart dress or jumpsuit.