Race Day Attire: Fashion Rules For Men & Women

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Everyone loves attending a race day, it’s one excuse to pull out our favourite outfits and pop open a bottle of bubbly in the sun. The spring/summer events kicks off with Cheltenham in March and it’s worth noting that each venue has its own dress code — so what should you wear for each?

Attending The Randox Health Grand National Festival Aintree: 4th April – 6th April

If you’re attending Aintree for the first time, know that smart clothing is preferred by the event officials. Fancy dress is not permitted for the Grand National, instead opt for formalwear or semi-formalwear.


Everyone will tell you to go bright and bold for Aintree Grand National. So, start shopping for those dresses now!

• Statement headpieces are part of many women’s Aintree outfits, including oversized hats and fascinators of weird but wonderful shapes.

• Long dresses, short dresses, jumpsuits and trouser suits are all acceptable at the Grand National — you’re encouraged to dress to impress and “show off your personality through style”.


You need to be on top form if you’re attending this race day event, but what should you be wearing?

• 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 choose to wear a top hat and tail, it’s not required.

Attending The Scottish Grand National Festival Ayr: 12th April – 13th April

There are different enclosures at the race day in Ayr, so your outfit will depend on your ticket type. In the Hospitality Facilities and Club Stand, smart dress is encouraged, but in the Grandstand, there is no formal dress code.


You need to sport your favourite frock at this event, as you’ll be captured in plenty of pics on social media!

• The official website states that “hats and fascinators are optional, but on display in abundance” so you might feel out of place without one.


• 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.

Attending The Boodles May Festival Chester: 8th May – 10th May

At this three day festival, you’ll need to have a look that continues to impress. There are five enclosures at Chester, but how should you dress for each?

1. Entering The Winning Post Enclosure & County Enclosure

If you’re all about that lux-life, this enclosure is for adults only. Ladies are required to wear a smart dress and blazers for men are a must with smart trousers and a shirt, collar and tie. There are no denim jeans, trainers, sportswear or fancy dress allowed.

2. Entering The Tattersalls Enclosure

If you’re entering this enclosure, smart-casual wear should be your inspiration. 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.

3. Dee Stand & Open Course

You can really become creative in this enclosure, as there is no official dress code. Although dressing smart is encouraged!

Attending The Investec Derby Festival: 31st May – 1st June

You probably remember a few iconic outfits from this event from previous years, but is there an actual dress code that should be followed?


You need to look good at this venue, as you’ll be able to be able to enter the Style Awards!

• Fascinators and hats are strongly advised on Ladies Day, especially if you’re in the Queen’s Stand Enclosure where this is a strong recommendation.

• On Derby Day, women are required to wear formal day wear in the Queen’s Stand Enclosure which can be a formal day dress, tailored trouser suit, with a hat or “substantial fascinator”.


As there are various enclosures at this race course, you’ll need to know the following when it comes to choosing what to wear:

• 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.

Attending The Royal Ascot: 18th June – 22nd June

If you’ve never been the Royal Ascot before, what are you waiting for? Dress code depends on each enclosure but there are also some general rules to follow, and some of them are quite strict!


Royal Enclosure

• Dresses are required to fall just above the knee or longer but must be of modest length.

• All dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater and strapless, off the shoulder or halter neck dresses are not allowed.

• Trouser suits and jumpsuits are accepted, and hats are a must. Fascinators on the other hand are not welcomed in this enclosure.

Village Enclosure

• A hat or headpiece is a must.

• Avoid wearing strapless dresses and tops.

• If you’re wearing a trouser suit, it should be full-length and jumpsuits should sit below the knee.

• Avoid cropped wear as midriffs are required to be covered.

• No shorts are allowed.

Windsor Enclosure

• The dress code is more relaxed in this enclosure, with visitors recommended only to dress in smart day wear.

• Other recommendations include a hat or fascinator for women.

Queen Anne Enclosure

• A hat, headpiece or fascinator is a must.

• Avoid strapless necklines for dresses and tops, this includes off-the-shoulder, Bardot and one shoulder outfits.


Royal Enclosure

• 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.

Village Enclosure

• 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.

Windsor Enclosure

• 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.