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WHAT TO WEAR WHEN

WHAT TO WEAR TO THE RACES

By Steven Potter, 12 February 2020

It’s almost time for the races. You’ve bagged a ticket and got your mates together for the fanciest of fancy day sessions, and now the question is: what are you going to wear? If you didn’t know, the dress code can differ depending on which racecourse you’re going to, and even where on the track you’re watching from. Some of the stricter rules can even include dress lengths, strap widths and necklines. Generally, though, you can wear whatever you want, and before you pick your outfit, here are a few things to think about. Alternatively, head to the bottom of the page to get shopping right away.

 

A PRINTED DRESS IS ALWAYS A WIN

Yes, less is sometimes more, but going to the races is the absolute best time to go all out and experiment with wild prints. Florals are a classic springtime look (groundbreaking, really), and there are lots of fresh prints breathing new life into the vibe this season – see above for some premium examples. 
From very OTT tapestry designs to, well, very OTT animal prints, you’re only limited by how bold you're willing to be. For a no-holds-barred approach, try the psychedelic-star-print maxi dress on the right. Wear it with a chain-strap bag and some strappy bright heels and you're good to go.

 

SAY YES TO A BODYCON DRESS

With a more relaxed view on dress codes for the races, and the fact the whole day is pretty much one big party, it’s only fair we talk about the ultimate going out-out dress: the bodycon. Sophisticated enough for the races and equally at home in any bar or club, it’s the best race day plus-one.
If you’re a fan of the figure-loving look, but worried about the dress code, opt for a midi dress, because sometimes hem lengths are advised to be ‘just above or below’ the knee (eye roll). What type of bodycon beauty you go for is very much your choice, but broderie anglaise, ruffles and puff sleeves are a foolproof option this season. 

 

YOU DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A FROCK

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Yep, it’s true. If you’re really not the dress type, the good news is that suits and jumpsuits are very much OK for race day (which also comes in particularly handy if the weather isn’t looking too great). The best way to go? Sleek and tailored. Think sharp blazers and skinny trousers in bright hues and punchy prints.
There’s nothing quite like the energy given off by finding your perfect two-piece. You’ll be walking around like you own the track, waltzing into all the most VIP enclosures. Tailored looks are just that powerful. Bold pastel shades are always good, or go classic with checks, dogtooth and tweed patterns, because, well, it’s the races.

 

CHOOSE YOUR SHOES WISELY

Of course a go-to for any of the above looks is a barely-there high heel, but there are a few factors to consider before strapping yourself in for a whole day of four-inch stiletto heels. Most racetracks involve grassy, uneven ground, so wedges and flats are ideal for avoiding any sinking shenanigans or calling it early due to a twisted ankle. 
OK, we know this all sounds like occasionwear sacrilege, so if heels are the one for you, chunkier, block-heel styles will at least give you some more stability and comfort (you can thank us after the third prosecco). Black will go with everything, but race day is all about being seen, so we suggest you go wild with a bold shade.    

 

FASCINATOR OR HAT?

Apart from the odd wedding, chances to actually wear a fascinator are kinda slim – so, why not take every opportunity you can to wear such an extra-AF accessory? They're basically race-day uniform, and we have loads of options, ranging from ‘subtly chic’ to ‘look at this work of art on my head.

 

Pictures: ASOS

If you’re cringing at the thought of totally impractical (but always fabulous) headpieces, a smart wide-brim hat can be the more low-key option. Heck, you can even get away with a straw hat if you like. Is there a more summery look than a white broderie-anglaise dress with an oversized straw hat? No. There isn’t.

 

Skipped straight to the bottom? Fair enough. Here's are the key need-to-knows:

• Printed dresses are always a win – time to go loud, right?

• Say yes to a bodycon dress

• You don't have to wear a dress – suits and tailoring are a cool choice, too

• Choose your shoes wisely – block, platform and flat styles are your race-day BFFs•

• Definitely take this opportunity to wear a fantastic fascinator or a statement hat

 

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