Fashion at the Races

Katie Bowen – fashion writer and Cambridge-based personal stylist – offers fashion advice for the racing season and gives style guidelines on perfect Ladies Day outfits.

Going to the races is not just about the horses of course, it is also about getting dresses up and having a glass of champagne or two. Ladies Days at Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom, Ascot and Goodwood are all big dates in the British racing calendar. If you are lucky enough to be attending you will want a stylish Ladies Day outfit to wear.

Etiquette and Dress Codes

There will be different dress codes and etiquette for each event, race course and type of ticket that you have. When picking an outfit, ignore trends and go with what suits you. If you are going to go for a particular trend in terms of your outfit, it needs to be worn in a classic way.

Generally Ladies Day Outfits and dress codes for bigger events call for a more formal style of dress. Some tickets allow for a casual dress although you definitely won’t look out of place if you want to get dressed up. To be sure, you should check the race course website well in advance of the day, therefore giving you plenty of time to plan your outfit. Some race courses don’t allow bare legs, anything above the knee or uncovered shoulders. So do look into what the dress code is.

Race Day Dresses

This beautiful necklace halter neck dress from Warehouse highlights a slim waist, with wrap effect at the bottom adding a touch of glamour.

The dress is made from lightweight yellow silk and the floaty hem sits just above the knee. Accessorize with matching heels and a clutch bag.

For a simple and bold statement, this neutral bravo dress from Coast is a perfect choice but is not for the shy and retiring.

The a-line ivory spot dress is a stylish 1950’s inspired piece. Beautiful silk taffeta is cinched in at the waist to create a flattering silhouette. Fully lined and with a concealed side zip detail, the dress is 50% silk 50% polyester.

If you would prefer to wear more than one colour then a maxi dress is a good choice, whilst keeping your accessories simple. For inspiration, see below for the maxi dress that Coleen Rooney wore to the races in 2009. She teamed her colourful maxi dress with matching gold accessories.

Hat or Fascinator?

Generally for a more formal racing event, a hat is required but a fascinator is also acceptable. Structured fascinators are increasing in popularity. For a timeless look opt for a classic wide brimmed dress hat.

Race Day Accessories

Generally speaking a ladies day outfit will not require very much in the way of accessories as you will already have one statement accessory with your hat or fascinator. Usually it is best to keep with simple with perhaps just a necklace.

Finally, a good deal of walking is done on any racecourse, so you maybe it’s best to avoid the new popular trend of wearing sky high heels. After all, no-one looks good when they are unable to walk properly!

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About Katie Bowen

Katie Bowen is a Personal Stylist to predominantly business women, through her company Styko, based in Cambridge. She works with individuals and companies ensuring that they maximise their image potential in alignment with the overall companies branding. This is customised to each clients individuals own fashion personality, body shape and colouring and relationship history with clothes. She is a lifelong lover of fashion and had previously worked for the luxury designer brand ‘Joseph’, with private clients of more than 7 years. To book a consultation or for more information please contact Katie at or on 07855 754487
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