Racing Fashion

Racing Fashion - Credit Charlotte Stone The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.

Racing Fashion

Racing Fashion – Here we take a look at the latest in race day fashion

If you’re lucky enough to be going to the races this summer it’s time to think about what you’re going to be wearing.

It doesn’t matter if you choose your clothes first and then a hat and, or vice versa, but it does take some thought and planning to bring a whole outfit together. The colour of the hat should match or tone with your clothing, but the shoes and handbag can match, tone or contrast.

First of all it’s a good idea to check the dress codes for the racecourse you are attending as they do vary. For example the Royal enclosure at Ascot only permits fascinators of at least 10cm diameter!

Another piece of good advice is to dress for the weather. Our lovely UK weather can be variable to say the least so have several layers with you. An umbrella or statement coat is also advisable. have a great range of clothes that keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Make sure the colour of your outfit suits your skin tone. Seek professional advice on colours from a stylist or personal shopper – or simply take an honest friend with you when you shop! If you are unsure of a dress length, just below the knee is flattering on most.

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Becky Barnes, style adviser ( gives some general advice on choosing an outfit to suit you if you’re struggling:

“Don’t panic! The key is to understand your shape and then the rest is easy. What we want to try and achieve is a balanced silhouette, for example, if your hips and thighs are wider than your chest and shoulders, you want to try and even out the top half. You would do this by wearing darker colours from the waist down and brighter colours and embellishments on the top half. Just try things on and assess the overall look in a full length mirror. Just remember that fit is everything. Even the most expensive outfit can look cheap if it is ill -fitting. There is a great quote from Marilyn Monroe which lends itself well to styling yourself for the races. She said ‘You should wear clothes that are tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.’”

Budget will of course be key to choosing your outfit. There are some great high street options or an alternative is to visit a designer outlet shopping centre. Becky has some money-saving tips:

“There are always alternative ways of buying Ascot appropriate clothes. In my home city of Bristol I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to second hand designer clothes boutiques. You can pick up some fabulous bargains in them and no-one will ever know they are pre-loved. You can always check out designer outlet centres too such as Gloucester Quays or Swindon where you will find an abundance of beautiful clothes that are heavily discounted. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for special offers. For example, Grazia magazine currently have a deal with L.K. Bennett which entitles you to a 25% discount.”

High street choices include John Lewis (and their many concession departments within), Coast, Phase Eight, Karen Millen and Coast. There were some stunning examples of perfect race day outfits at the recent Mall Fashion Show at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol.

Racing Fashion - Credit Charlotte Stone The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
Racing Fashion – Credit Charlotte Stone The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.

Shoes are extremely important – you will be standing up most of the day and comfort is key! Don’t wear new shoes, make sure they are worn in and comfy. Wedges are a good option for all day elegance (Kate Middleton’s preferred choice!) However if you really must wear heels there are some products available to prevent you sinking in to the grass. have heel protectors starting at £4.99.

So how do you go about choosing a suitable hat? If you are new to wearing one it can all seem a little daunting.

Tricia Hamilton of Tricia Designs ( knows from first-hand experience how nervous new hat wearers can be. Follow Tricia’s tips to be sure of success:

“Most people don’t give a hat enough time and just plonk it on their head and then are upset when it looks awful! Take some time to get used to the look of a hat on your body. The majority of us need to wear a hat at an angle – asymmetrically – in order to make a hat ‘work’. Think of a hat as an extension of your head, the aim is to create a new and interesting silhouette.”

When you are choosing a hat for the races Tricia points out that often a hat suitable for the races may not be good for other occasions such as weddings as it may be too big, but if you are on a budget and need to use one hat for more than one occasion then upcycling is fun and easy.

“Try adding embellishments to an old hat and have some fun creating a masterpiece for the races. Feathers, ribbons, beads and jewellery can all be used”

 Caryl from Ezza Boutique ( gives some good advice on bags:

“Keep bags small and neat. Grab bags or cross body styles look best. Shoulder bags do not work as well and pull on clothing. Bright colours can be fun and if you have a bright bag, match shoes to dress and hat and use the bag as a pop of colour. Try before you buy – does your phone fit in your bag?! This year’s colours include powder – a pale pink/nude and bright red poppy. A mustard yellow/taupe is always stylish if you are unsure.”