With the Horse Racing season galloping towards us, it’s a great opportunity to share some thoughts and ‘top tips’ on getting your fashion etiquette ‘on the money’ so you are able to enjoy the excitement of a Ladies Day at the races.

Dressing up for the races is unlike dressing for any other event in our social calendar and believe me, it can be confusing to those new to racing.

There are a number of important elements to consider when planning your outfit.  As always your chosen outfit should combine your individual colouring and clothing style to suit your body shape and personality making you look and feel fabulous whilst being perfectly comfortable.  It can be done I assure you!


Of course you are able to go racing without the need to dress in your finest however York’s Racing Season including the prestigious Dante and Ebor Festivals in May and August offer the perfect excuse to dress up.  Think classy sophistication and you won’t go far wrong.

Did you know that York Racecourse hosts the wonderful Ebor Fashion Lawn for the duration of August’s Ebor Festival where racegoers are invited to take part and showcase their fashion and style on the cat walk?  You may click on the link for further information https://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/ebor-fashion-lawn.html

  • The levels of formality vary between courses and enclosures, check with your course on the dress-code before you attend.  Some courses dictate  strap and brim width along with hem length.
  • Unless you are attending an evening meeting, the races are held during the day so exposed mid-riffs and eye- wateringly short skirts should probably be left behind
  • Don’t over-do your make-up. Keep it as natural and as well-blended as possible – the natural light will expose any over application
  • The weather can fool us here in the UK, remember a jacket or pashmina will protect you from a breeze to a heat-wave – a lobster coloured décolletage is never a good look


Hats are essential for the special race days  and Ladies Day whether a full head-piece or fascinator.  Always take your outfit with you when shopping for your head wear – the outfit dictates the style and scale of hat.  In Yorkshire, we are fortunate to live in a region rich in artisan and magnificent couture Milliners all offering beautiful and exquisite designs.

  • An elaborate hat is best paired with a simple outfit and similarly where the interest lies in a bolder, flowing or patterned outfit, a simpler and neater hat works best. Do not be tempted to do both.  It’s one or the other!
  • As a rule, hats are worn down to the right and up to the left and should flatter the shape of your face and your overall proportion
  • As a general rule, the brim should never be wider than your shoulder
  • The wider the brim, the taller the hat should be
  • Your hat does not always need to match your shoes and bag – a more balanced look is created with the hat matched to the same colour as the outfit


Considering that you will stand for long periods of time and occasionally on the grass, your choice of shoe is important if you wish to remain in comfortable elegance.

  • Wear shoes that have a thicker heel to avoid you sinking into the grass
  • You may regret wearing brand new shoes (unless you first break them in)
  • Wearing heels for the whole day may present a challenge so take a second pair (perhaps some flats) so you can make your journey’s to the parade ring and then home with your dignity intact.
  • Leaving the course bare-foot or with shoes held over your shoulder is an image ‘faux-pas’


Like a Bride on her wedding day, we should always be prepared for every eventuality so I suggest packing a few MUST-HAVES in your handbag.  It goes without question that your favourite lipstick is already included!

  • Sunglasses
  • Tancream
  • Plasters (in case you have worn new shoes that I suggested you didn’t wear!)
  • Party-Feet gel cushions – you may be standing for much of the day
  • Safety pins for any emergency repairs
  • Spare pair of tights/stockings – the only ‘runners’ should be the horses

So, there you have it, I hope you have a better idea on enjoying dressing for  Ladies Day and your day at the races….however if you are still at a loss and need guidance to put this or any special outfit together please visit my website https://www.jackiecrawford.co.uk


Colours . Clothes . Confidence

*Image courtesy of York Racecourse