Traditionally, it’s more than just a sport that people like to bet on—premier horse racing events and racing festivals have a long history as fashion shows. Ladies Day, Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National, Ascot and other annual gatherings all attract fashionistas, demonstrating what’s hot and what’s not. 

So, what do experts recommend you wear if you are planning to attend one of these extravaganzas?

What to Wear–Women

You want to dress to impress. You need to channel your Sunday best and then jazz it up as if you were having a good old night on the town.  A horse race is a perfect way to showcase your inner fashion model. You might want to incorporate pastels, floral prints, and anything that makes you think of the perfect summer day.

If you are heading out to a more autumnal event, then you might want to go for the natural and nude shades, with maybe a pop of color to brighten it all up.

Although most prefer to go with heels–if this isn’t something you are comfortable with, then pumps are fine–bright and complementary to your outfit.  Never worry about being overdressed–you want to stand out from the crowd.  We’d probably steer away from black-tie dress, but other than that, anything goes.

The most important accessory of all, however, at any festive horse racing event is the hat. You need to pick one that suits your style, goes with your outfit and looks fabulous. Make it classic, adventurous or even crazy. The choice is yours.

What to Wear–Men

Go for a lightweight suit because the weather is normally quite warm in prime horse racing season.  Although there might be places with air conditioning or shelter, you don’t want to be stuck in the corner afraid you will melt.

Seersucker suits are always to be recommended as they are stylish, but also lightweight and breathable. However, whatever summer or spring outfit you choose should be great. You don’t even have to wear a jacket if you don’t want to (unless a jacket and tie is required to enter some venues at a racetrack). Think pastel shirts, ties and something with a bit of character. However, if you’re heading to the races in autumn, then a standard suit is just perfect.

If you fancy pushing the boat out, definitely go for a tie.  It could be a standard dress tie or a bow tie. This will really bring your whole outfit together and you will fit in with the rest of the racetrack bigwigs. Your tie doesn’t need to have a horse racing theme.  It can be whatever color or style that goes with your outfit.

Moreover, ladies don’t have to be the only ones to get in on the hat act. Men can have just as much fun with their hats as women.

What to Wear–Kids

If you are taking your children to the races, then your main job will be to dress them in outfits that suit the weather and conditions.  But don’t forget fashion completely: Why not coordinate them with you, but with a comfortable kiddie twist.  A day at the races might include a fair bit of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.  Also, remember to take any other accessories you might need, like sippy cups and snacks, as you don’t want an unhappy child.

Look Good But Be Sensible

A day at the races usually means spending a lot of time outside, so make sure you remember to pack that suntan lotion or umbrella, for you and your family. Another thing to consider if you don’t have an assigned seat is to bring a portable chair.  Last but certainly not least, bring your money.