If you’re getting suited and booted for a race day this year, you should make yourself aware of the different dress codes of each venue.
Cheltenham Races: 12th March – 15th March
Traditionally known for its British country influence, you can expect to see people dressed in tweed and sharp tailoring at Cheltenham Races. The event is thought to be a celebration of British clothing, and a lot of people go all out.
- Choose British classics such as corduroy, tweed and lambswool when deciding on your outfit.
- A covert coat is a popular choice for men who attend the races, an overcoat traditionally worn for hunting or horse riding.
- Fancy dress is permitted at the event as long as it doesn’t cause any offence.
Randox Health Grand National Festival Aintree: 4th April – 6th April
There is no official dress code at Aintree, but smart clothing is preferable by organisers. Fancy dress is not permitted for the Grand National, instead opt for formalwear or semi-formalwear. Although there is no official dress code for the Grand National, keep it smart and stylish if you can.
- Sports clothing is not permitted so avoid tracksuit bottoms and trainers. Instead choose smart shoes such as brogues or Oxford shoes.
- Take the opportunity to get suited and booted, or at least wear a suit and tie. Although some gents choose to wear a top hat and tail, it’s not required.
Scottish Grand National Festival Ayr: 12th April – 13th April
The dress code for the Grand National Festival depends on which enclosure you buy tickets for. In the Hospitality Facilities and Club Stand, smart dress is encouraged, but in the Grandstand, there is no formal dress code.
- A tie isn’t compulsory in the Hospitality Facilities, but you might want to wear one to look the part.
- In the Club Stand, avoid wearing ripped/torn denim or trainers or you face being refused entry to the main event, instead suits are encouraged.
- Although there’s no formal dress code in the Grandstand, don’t wear football colours or distasteful fancy dress as you risk bringing the tone down and will be asked to leave.
Boodles May Festival Chester: 8th May – 10th May
The prestigious three-day Boodles May Festival kicks off on Wednesday 8th May this year with City Day, followed by Ladies Day and Chester Cup Day. There are five enclosures at Chester, but how should you dress for each?
Winning Post Enclosure & County Enclosure
This is the course’s most premium enclosure and is for adults only. Gentlemen are required to wear a well-tailored suit or a men’s blazer/sports jacket with smart trousers and a shirt, collar and tie. There are no denim jeans, trainers, sportswear or fancy dress allowed here.
The venue has been known to relax the dress code on warmer days, so you may not need to wear a jacket if the weather suits.
In this part of the race course, smart casual dress is recommended for both men and women. Smart jeans, trousers and chinos are allowed but ripped jeans are not permitted. There are other rules to follow too as shorts, sportswear, t-shirts and fancy dress will lead to refused entry.
Dee Stand & Open Course
You are free to wear what you choose in this enclosure, but smart dress is still encouraged.
Investec Derby Festival: 31st May – 1st June
Many choose the Investec Derby Festival as an opportunity to bring out their favourite outfits and dress to impress, but are there any rules? There are a range of enclosures at Epsom Derby, this might determine your dress code.
- Avoid wearing sportswear or sleeveless vests In the Grandstand Enclosure on both Ladies Day and Derby Day.
- Smart denim is accepted in the Grandstand Enclosure unless it is frayed, torn or ripped, sports trainers are also not allowed.
- On Derby Day, in the Queen’s Stand Enclosure, men must wear a black or grey morning suit which includes a top hat, service dress or full national costume.
Royal Ascot: 18th June – 22nd June
People from around the world flock to the Royal Ascot racecourse. Dress code depends on each enclosure but there are also some general rules to follow, and some of them are quite strict!
- A black or grey morning dress is a requirement which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats or bow ties), a black or grey top hat and black shoes worn with socks.
- Hats should not be customised, and novelty waistcoats and ties are not allowed.
- Jackets, full-length trousers, collared shirts and ties are a must for every gentleman in the Village Enclosure.
- When it comes to your tie, the rules are more relaxed than in the Royal Enclosure. You’re allowed to wear bow ties or cravats in addition to a regular tie.
- Socks should cover the ankle and you should avoid wearing jeans and trainers.
- Gentleman must still wear jacket, collared shirt and full-length trousers in this section of Ascot.
Queen Anne Enclosure
- Make sure you’re coordinating if you get a ticket for this enclosure as jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern.
- Bow ties and cravats are not allowed in this enclosure.
This guide is in collaboration with QuizMan, however I full endorse the racing season and am happy to provide this guide!