For more than a hundred years the races have given women the opportunity to show off their most beautiful dresses and impressive hats and fascinators. Trends have changed but many of the traditions remain the same, especially within the most famous and formal racing arenas like the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. But where did these traditions come from and why is dressing your best such an important part of a day at the races?
Hats and fascinators are undoubtedly a huge part of dressing for a day at the races, but have you ever wondered why they are such a big deal? “Racing was called the sport of kings and for good reason,” as Australian milliner Richard Nylon explains. “It is an expensive sport, so people who could afford to stable, look after horses and pay for people to ride them had a lot of money. With money goes prestige, with prestige goes fashion and, back then, with fashion went hats. It became a way for a lady to display her status and fashionability.”
What is etiquette and why is it important? Debrett’s, the famous coaching company and authority on how to conduct yourself during social occasions, defines etiquette as ‘a set of guidelines that have evolved to make everyone feel welcomed and valued, to make everyday life easier, removing anxiety and awkwardness.’ Following the correct etiquette allows everyone, from guests to hosts to staff, to feel relaxed and able to enjoy themselves at formal occasions.
Everyone has heard of the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but they aren’t the only important horse races that happen each year in the UK. There are countless meetings of varying size and importance in the calendar, so if you’re a fan of a flutter and a day at the races you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here are 20 of the biggest UK horse racing events divided into 10 jump and 10 flat races.
Whether you’re dressing up for Ascot, Newmarket, Cheltenham or Aintree, the race season offers a great excuse to show off your finest attire. Whilst dress codes aren’t always mandatory, it’s a fun and traditional part of the race day experience, and you’ll feel underdressed if you don’t make an effort. These tips will help you look great and feel comfortable at the races this season.
The Season is the name given to the annual period during the spring and summer when the best known and most quintessentially British events are held. The Season has an illustrious history, which evolved during the 17th and 18th century when the British elite was dominated by landowning aristocracy and gentry families. It peaked during the 19th century and up until World War I the Season was the appropriate time to be resident in the city rather than the country in order to attend the events.
Dress codes can cause a lot of confusion. You should be looking forward to that upcoming wedding or big bash, but instead you’re fretting about what to wear. Everyone worries about getting it wrong and looking out of place, but with a little bit of preparation there’s no need to worry.
Here’s our guide to the 10 rules of social dress codes (of course, in some exceptional circumstances – rules were made to be broken)…
Dressing for the races can be a tricky one, for both men and women. As it’s not the kind of event you attend every day, and the dress code for racecourse events tends to be more formal than other occasions, it can be difficult to know quite what to wear.
How formal should you go when dressing for the races? Will you end up buying something that you don’t really feel comfortable in and that you may not wear much again?
Below are our essential tips for choosing an outfit for the races, to help you feel and look amazing. Let’s start by looking at what to avoid.
Since the Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne and the first race, “Her Majesty’s Plate” was run, the annual day of thoroughbred horse racing at the prestigious Berkshire racecourse has been an occasion devoted to dressing up to the maximum. Almost as much as the horse racing itself, Royal Ascot has always been about turning heads through unabashed fashion flamboyance.