Fashion | |

Race Day Dresses: A Style Guide

Get your glam on! Here are several race day dresses for different body types and ages! Plus, pointers on what to wear and what not to wear during race day!

Getting your glam on, laughs with friends and family and the height of entertainment – what’s not to love about a day at the races?  We can almost hear the hustle and bustle of an event-packed day.  From culture to comedy and music to fashion, it’s not only about the races themselves!  There’s something for everyone.  The Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown is one of those events that take the breath away!  One thing we think of when we hear race day is the fabulous fashion.  There’s no casual attire here!  We’re thinking glam, glam and more glam.

Why do people dress up for horse racing?

Well, it’s simple, isn’t it? It’s a nice little affair to show off your frock! Racing events are also associated with nobility, who made it into a fashion show of sorts throughout the centuries. Basically, they were the equivalent of modern-day award ceremonies and galas!

While us common folks can attend these sporting events now, it has always been an event where one can glam up and dress up! Now, what kind of dresses should you wear to the races? Here are some suggestions… 

What should I wear on the day of the races?

When it comes to race day outfits, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. When you’re figuring out what to wear for the races, you have to consider not just your body type, but the weather too! Here are some of our pointers for races outfits: 

Race day dresses for plus size women

Flaunt those curves with silhouettes that flatter your figure such as sheath dresses or peplum tops paired with pencil skirts. Really, there are so many options to choose from! You can try maxi dresses, pleated dresses, and A-line dresses. 

Pro-tip: Choose dresses made from sturdier fabrics such as cotton or rayon because they retain the shape of the dress, making it more flattering for your body type. (Pack your flowy, silk or satin dress for another occasion.)

Race day dresses for over 50 or mature ladies 

An outfit for races should suit the queen that she is! The thing is, no one should really restrict you about what you should and should not wear. Your main consideration should be your body type and what feels comfortable for you. 

However, it may be for the best to stay away from “juvenile” fashion like ripped jeans. Go for classic pieces and not trendy ones. 

Race day dresses for autumn and winter

What’s a race day outfit for colder weather? Wool, wool-blend fabric or tweed gives you that extra warmth. Try on a wool dress that always looks chic, paired with boots. Faux fur and jumpsuits are also acceptable during this time of the year. 

In terms of colours, winter hues include emerald green, sparkling blue, and raspberry… but don’t be afraid to accentuate your attire with a pop of pastel colour!

What do you wear to the races in the rain?

It goes without saying that you should check the weather forecast for the day before putting together your race day ensemble. And if unfortunately, the rain will make an appearance, don’t let it stop you from looking fab! 

Instead of full-length dresses that could easily get wet at the seams, choose short dresses. Ditch your suede and strappy heels and reach for those sturdy leather shoes.

Oh, and of course, don’t forget to wear protective rain gear, such as fashionable wrap coats and hats. 

What do guys wear to the races?

A suit is preferred but during warmer months, a blazer with trousers is also acceptable. Most would wear suits in light neutral tones such as beige or navy blue. Complement your dashing attire with colourful ties or pocket squares. For shoes, your safest bet are Oxfords or derby shoes. 

Race day fashion do’s and don’ts 

Because these events are classy affairs, let’s make sure you don’t become the main attraction by being a fashion nightmare, shall we? 

Can you wear trainers to the races?

Check your ticket. Private boxes do not usually allow sportswear or trainers. Premier or County Enclosures can be a bit strict about the dress code too. If you’re feeling unsure about this, you can call up the organiser or have another look at your invitation. 

Can ladies wear pants or trousers to the races?

First and foremost, check the invitation to the event. What does the dress code say? If it’s a formal event, then it’s strictly dresses for the ladies. If it’s not saying anything specific, you can also call the organisers or take a look at the photos of guests from past events.

That said, pants, trousers, and even jeans are now accepted at most racing events. 

Can you wear black to horse races?

Yes, you can wear black. You can never go wrong with neutrals too. However, do not be afraid of wearing pastels. Pinks and baby blues look elegant, especially on a nice summer day at the races. 

Can you wear jeans to the races?

Most races are considered formal events so jeans are usually frowned upon. However, restrictions have eased throughout the years.

If you insist on wearing jeans, plain and darker-coloured ones are advised. You may pair it with a slouch dress, a wrap-up, or a dressy top.

Can you wear wedges to the races?

Yes, you can wear wedge heels to a racing event. They may look a tad bit informal compared to the usual strappy heels but you can also do more with them. If you anticipate moving around and entertaining people, wedged heels are more comfortable. They also look great with a summer dress, paired with a formal blazer.

Can you wear a jumpsuit to the races?

Nowadays, jumpsuits and formal trousers are perfectly acceptable at racing events. Just make sure to check the dress code as it usually says what kind of outfit is preferred for the event.

Race day outfit ideas

Still can’t think of your race day outfit? Here are a few inspirational pieces to get you going… 

Race day dresses: sweet & simple

You can’t go wrong with a simple, yet elegant dress.  A timeless classic!  It’s also a great option for any last-minute ladies out there.  To vamp up your style, add eye-catching accessories and the most fabulous shoes.

Offshoulder dresses makes an instant statement, while still simple and stylish.  Pick one that can accentuate your curves or one with a beautiful flow that can stay stylish for years to come.

Race day dress blue

AX Paris Off The Shoulder Ruched Dress €52

This fabulous floral lace number is an elegant pick for any occasion, including christenings.  Pair it with your most loved jewellery pieces and a fabulous fascinator to style it up.  Not only is it flattering to any form, its sweeping asymmetrical hem is also a showstopper!

Race day dress asymmetrical

Little Mistress Lace Maxi Dress – Blush €97

Race day dresses: ultimate prints

Stand out from the crowd with fabulous prints and patterns.  Nothing says Spring/Summer like a gorgeous, bright print.

This floral midi dress, for example, has a fitted waistband for a flattering finish. You can easily wear it with white trainers (for your next date night!) for a more casual look.

Race day midi dress floral

Chi Chi London Darcia Printed Midi Dress – Multi €75

If flowers isn’t your thing, then how about these animal prints on a glossy, draping blue satin piece? Another elegant choice for a race or evening occassions.

Race day dress printed blue

Monsoon Animal Print Satin Midi Dress – Blue €85

Enchanting and whimsical, this midi dress with batwing sleeves features pops of bold blooms from collar to hem. Aside from the races, you can basically wear this all spring and summer long!

Race dress printed floral

Quiz Floral Batwing Midi Dress – Mauve €32

Race day fashion accessories

What would be a day at the races without a fabulous fascinator?  Find your favourite from our most elegant pieces.  Timeless style with all the right details!

For example, this statement fascinator with elegant detailing looks feminine and fashionable! It also comes in different colours!

Race day black headband

Rhea Large Fascinator – Navy €48

Race day headband

Rhea Large Crin Fascinator – Black €48

And if you don’t fancy dark hues, try this bright pink fascinator made from crin fabric. That swirls design definitely adds a feminine touch!

Race day pink headband

Mia Mini Crin Fascinator – Pink €38

We hope this guide inspired you to dress up and be your glamorous self at the races! We’re too excited to see all the fabulous fashion!


NEXT: Dress Codes Decoded, From Casual to Black Tie >>>

Amie Edmonds

Amie is a beauty fanatic, tan addict, clothes wearer, candle lighter and a tea & coffee drinker who strongly believes in the ‘treat yourself’ motto. Hobbies include endless Instagram scrolling, adding way too many items to her online basket and laughing at dog memes.

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