Essential items for a day at the races

September 24, 2015

Photo by  rogerblake2 

As the start of jump racing season draws closer, you might be wondering what to wear for an autumn or winter racing event. The races often call for a black tie dress code (sharp tailoring and smart suits are de rigueur) but it’s the finer details that make all the difference. Do you have the right essentials to help you stand out from the crowd? Here are some wardrobe items you might want to consider this season.

Before you go racing

Before you head off to invest in your racing essentials, make sure you do the following:

  • Check the weather forecast to make sure you’re well prepared
  • Look up the dress code for the event you’re attending – some events, like Ascot, have specific regulations
  • Familiarise yourself with horse racing and betting in general. You can do this by looking at betfair’s horse racing pages or by watching some races on television before the big day. For example, in October there are big meetings at Ascot with the British Champions Sprints Stakes. The Charles Hill-trained Muhaarar is the early leader in the odds as you look for ways to pay for your clothes shopping

Once you’ve ticked off the above, it’s time to invest in the following items.


by  the_steve_cox 


Hats aren’t compulsory for men at the races, but they can certainly add character to your ensemble. Baseball caps are out, but you could pep up your outfit with a Fedora, flat cap or Trilby. Shop around for something that compliments the rest of your look and fits the shape of your face. Paul Smith and Rag & Bone are two of the many men’s labels that do decent hats. Those with round faces should choose a hat with a generous brim and a high crown to balance out the face. Those with prominent foreheads should choose a medium or short crown height and, where possible, a brim that is lower at the front than the back. Longer face shapes should opt for short crowned hats with wide brims.


If you don’t have a pair of sturdy, polished brogues in your wardrobe, a trip to the races is the perfect excuse to invest in a pair. Brogues not only look and feel expensive, they also look great with everything from suit trousers to chinos. Match the colour of your brogues to your suit or go for a contrasting colour, but make sure they are genuine leather with a comfortable cushioned sole – you’ll be standing for most of the day and your feet need the support. Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - A Plumpish Proportion

by  familymwr 

Gentlemen’s umbrella

Sine we’re coming into autumn, no self-respecting gentleman should be without their man-size umbrella. This is not only to shield their fedora from the rain but also to shelter the ladies that might be accompanying them. Choose something luxe which will withstand the wind. If you want to stand out there is the option of a silver plated or duck’s head handle.


Nothing adds a touch of flair like a buttonhole (or “boutonniere”) flower. It does not have to be anything too flamboyant, just a small decoration to compliment your suit and tie. Rather than looking feminine, a small flower can add a dash of old world charm to your racing outfit and makes a style statement if worn with confidence. Try websites like Mr Porter for a selection or simply opt for a real flower instead. Try to avoid the pin options and go for something that utilises the buttonhole instead.

Pocket square

If you’re going to wear a boutonniere, you should really wear it in conjunction with a pocket square of a similar colour that also compliments the colour of your suit and tie. Try to keep other accessories to a minimum if you’re going down this route, or you’ll end up looking over the top. Avoid cardboard pocket squares and go for the real thing instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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