Whether it’s the Kentucky Derby, the Melbourne Cup, the Cheltenham Festival, or any race day close to you, choosing what to wear to the races can be bewildering, especially when each race day, course and enclosure can have different dress codes.
But it can also be a fabulous opportunity to dress up and wear something you wouldn’t usually have the chance to wear. Take a look below if you’re looking for inspiration on what to wear to the races.
What to wear to the races
You’ll find some specific outfit ideas below. But first, what should you consider when choosing what to wear to the races?
Think about the dress code
Depending on which race you are attending, and which enclosure, there may be a dress code, so be sure to take a look. When in doubt, err on the side of being too dressy rather than too casual.
Choose your shoes carefully
Not only will you be on your feet for much of the day, but you may have to walk on grass. So if you are going to choose heels, you may want to choose block heels rather than risk your stilettos sinking into the turf.
Accessorize with headwear
While you may not wear a hat day-to-day, the races are the perfect chance to step out of your comfort zone (if a hat isn’t usually your thing) and wear a hat, a fascinator or a headband.
You can experiment with color
A day out at the races is a great opportunity to experiment with color in your closet. Choose brights or pastels, depending on what you feel most stylish in.
Above is another outfit from Souri @fabfemme_australia who adds drama to her outfit with her tall hat and puff ball skirt.
You can recycle your outfit
If you have a wedding to attend, your race day outfit could be perfect.
Judith @stylecrone above (read her style interview here) opts for a bridal inspired dress which you’d probably want to avoid wearing if you’re a wedding guest as you won’t want to wear white. But if your dress is a different color, you could easily wear your race day choice to a wedding. For more advice on weddings check our article on what to wear to casual wedding or what to wear when you are the mother of the bride.
what to wear to the races and race day outfits you could choose
Let’s move onto some specific options you could choose. I’ve kept to a race day capsule featuring bold black and whites with some pops of green. But there are no rules when it comes to what color to wear to the races, so just choose what makes you feel good.
Monochrome with a pop of coLoR
I like the bold stripes of the dress below, and the fact the stripes at the top and the bottom create different patterns. Team with an oversized black hat and add color with your shoes and handbag.
A Green dress and classic coat
If you think you might get a little chilly at your race event, then opt for a beautiful coat you can wear over your outfit. I think the combination of white and green is always a good one. Pair with a headband and matching shoes and bag.
There’s nothing to stop you wearing your favorite black dress to the races. I’ve teamed the dress from COS (below) with a white blazer and green fascinator to make it feel more summery and special for the races.
UrbanCoco Open Front Blazer – COS Maxi Jersey Dress – The Drop Avalon Small Tote Bag – DREAM PAIRS Chunk Heel Sandals – Amazon Collection Twist French Wire Earrings – Haojing Organza Fascinator – mecresh Crystal Dangle Earrings
A belted dress can look sophisticated and flattering. The sweetheart neckline of the white dress (below) adds a feminine touch. You can use a pashmina as a wrap if you need a little extra warmth (or color). The pashmina (below) comes in 40 colors so you’re sure to find one to suit your outfit.
A colorblock dress can look very modern, and is an easy way to decide what color your shoes and accessories should be, as you can simply incorporate the shades in your dress. Patricia @madamechicbcn above (read her style interview here) looks great in her one-shoulder dress.
Karen Millen Luxe Tailored Trench Coat – Karen Millen Linen Viscose Woven Midi Shirt Dress – DREAM PAIRS Chunk Heel Sandals – The Drop Avalon Small Tote Bag – Amazon Collection Twist French Wire Earrings – Etercycle Knotted Wide Headband
Karen Millen Soft Tailored Colourblock Strappy Back Dress – DREAM PAIRS Chunk Heel Sandals – The Drop Avalon Small Tote Bag – Amazon Collection Twist French Wire Earrings – Haojing Organza Fascinator – Achillea Soft Silky Pashmina Scarf
Black and white dress
Another monochrome option for you. The dress below looks both modern and timeless. You can wear with the green fascinator and shoes from above.
Another option if you know you will need a little warmth or coverage is to opt for a cardigan rather than a jacket or wrap. Choosing a cardigan that is structured will help to keep your outfit formal enough to race day.
Karen Millen Military Button and Pocket Cardigan – Karen Millen Soft Tailored Cross Over Neck High Low Dress – JOY IN LOVE Block Heel Pump – MagicLove Rhinestone Crystal Clutch – Coolwife Fascinator Hat – Karen Millen Gold Plated Statement Earrings
Of course, you don’t have to wear a dress for a race meet. You could opt for a pair of pants instead. Wide leg pants always look glamorour.
UrbanCoco Open Front Blazer – Wantschun Silk Satin Camisole – Reiss Malin Belted Wide Leg Trousers – JOY IN LOVE Block Heel Pump – MagicLove Rhinestone Crystal Clutch – mecresh Crystal Dangle Earrings
what to wear to the races – Print jumpsuit
If you prefer pants to dresses and skirts, another great option would be a jumpsuit that you can dress up with your wide-brim hat and clutch bag. The jumpsuit below would also look great dressed more casually with sandals for a vacation.
Your race day outfits together in one capsule
Below, you can see the race day choices from above together in one capsule. You can easily mix and match these choices. Do you have a favorite?
shop some of racing day outfits above here:
brands to look for when choosing race day outfits
If you’re shopping for your race day outfits, or other summer events, some good brands to try are:
Have you been to the races recently? Let me know what you wore or what you would want to wear to the races in the comments below.
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Feature image by Souri @fabfemme_australia
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