Gentleman's style guide to dressing for York races
Want to look good at the races but not sure what to wear? Christopher Legard, from quality menswear makers Joseph Turner, offers his advice for men who are looking to dress to impress at York Racecourse.
York Races are about more than just horses: they also provide the perfect excuse to go all out with your formal attire. Ladies typically don high heels and fascinators that wouldn't look out of place at a wedding so, for most men, that means dusting off their trusty suit jacket — but can you do better?
Here, I've come up with some fashion tips to help you look the part for your day at York Racecourse.
How to figure out the dress code
Although lots of people like to dress up for the races, there's actually only one area that has a dress code and that is the County Stand. In this premier enclosure, men must wear a collared shirt, jacket, and tie. Make sure you adhere to the dress code if you have a County Stand ticket and complete the look with smart trousers and formal shoes. In general, stay away from jeans and trainers as these can look too relaxed.
Although there's no official guidelines for other enclosures, most people like to get dressed up anyway so it's worth making an effort with your clothing even if you have a standard ticket. If a suit feels too formal for your style, a shirt or plain t-shirt teamed with a pair of smart chinos is a suitably casual option.
How to find a suit that fits
If you really want to look the part then you should, at the very least, wear a suit jacket. Almost every kind of suit jacket is flattering if you get the right fit, so visit a tailor or shop specialising in men's formalwear and ask to be measured. Alternatively, you can buy a jacket off the rack but make sure you buy the right size, as a suit jacket that is too big or too small can look sloppy. The same goes for pulling something old out of the wardrobe. Here are some things to look out for when it comes to fit:
· The jacket shoulders should end where your shoulders end and have no overhang.
· There should be no pull around the buttons, which lie flat against your body.
· The bottom hem of your jacket should just touch your trouser pockets.
· Your sleeve should end where your thumb meets your wrist when your arms are relaxed.
· The bottom of your trouser should just skim the top of your shoe.
When it comes to colour and style, those are entirely personal preferences but for summer I would recommend a linen suit as these can help you keep cool while looking sharp. The only colour I would suggest avoiding is black, as it can look too formal and make you look out of place. The current trend is to wear your suit jacket and trousers slim and slightly shorter than usual but wearing what you feel most comfortable in is more important.
How to accessorise your attire
Accessorising shows attention to detail that a lot of fashion-conscious attendees will appreciate. Plus, switching up your accessories is easier and more cost effective than buying a new outfit each time you attend an event. So, it's worth building up a collection of different accessories to ensure you have plenty to choose from come race day.
Popular accessories to wear to the races are ties (including bow ties) and handkerchiefs. Try to find them in colours that are complementary to your suit, but they don't necessarily have to match. For example, a royal blue suit will look good with a mulberry tie and lemon-yellow handkerchief — they aren't identical, but they are harmonious. One thing to remember though, is don't wear too many patterns. If your suit is patterned, for example, then your tie and handkerchief should be plain.
For this event, it's a good idea to include some metallic accessories for a hint of luxury. Cufflinks, tie pins and clips, and a silver or gold watch will really add a sense of occasion and give your whole outfit polish. If jewellery isn't your thing, stick to a smart silk tie instead.
These are just some of the ways you can look your best for your day at York Racecourse. Dress as formally as you can but, as there's no real dress code in most areas, make sure you're comfortable in your outfit so you can enjoy your day.