What to Wear at the Races This Season

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

Going to the races is a chance for men to dress up as much as the women and show off some of their personality with their outfit. Whether you want to go full on with a patterned three-piece suit or keep things sleek with a plain two-piece number, we’ll show you some of the best racing day outfits to look your best, even if your horse comes last.

How to Wear a Tweed Suit

Tweed suits are often worn by men at the races, and although they’re typically seen as an outfit for the older gentleman, if styled correctly they can be stylish and maintain a contemporary edge. Don’t just think of the typical tweed jacket with the patterned squares and green colouring, as tweed can come in a mix of shades, colours and patterns. If green isn’t your thing, then why not try a grey tweed jacket instead?

It’s ideal racing wear and something you can easily throw over a number of different outfits. One look that’s fail-safe, summery and ideal for a classic yet eye-catching look is to pair your grey tweed jacket with a white button-down shirt and a pair of white or lighter coloured trousers to finish off the look.

How to Wear a Patterned Suit

When it comes to finding outfits for the races, you want something that will help you stand out from the crowd. A patterned suit has a sleek and classic style to it, along with a vibrant edge, making it perfect for the formal yet energetic vibe of the races.

The trick with a patterned suit is to keep the main focus on the suit and to not overload the look with colour and clashing prints. Pairing your suit with a simple white shirt won’t take away the intensity of the look, but will ensure that you’re not dealing with a jarring mix of colours or patterns. Fashion at the races is meant to be bold, but you don’t want to go too overboard. 

How to Wear a Plain Suit

If tweed or patterned suits aren’t for you, then there’s no reason you can’t stick to something simpler. After all, there’s no strict dress code for Ascot or any other racing events, so you can keep your outfit as minimalist or bold as you like.

If you’re looking for a suit that has the flattering look of a black suit as well as the vibrant look of a colourful one, then a blue or navy suit is the best answer. Its versatile shade, clean finish and bright colouring mean that it can be dressed up and down depending on your mood, giving you a look that’s both bold but not overpowering.

Navy and blue suits are great for creating sleek and uniformed outfits, but their colour can be a little dark, especially for summer set race day suits. If you’re looking for something lighter and more appropriate for the warmer weather then choosing a brighter colour is a good option. 

A light grey, sand or beige suit is the perfect day for the races outfit, allowing you to accessorise it without much difficulty while maintaining a cool, sleek look. 

How to Wear a Three Piece Suit

If you’re looking for some quality horse racing attire, and you really want to go all out with your look, then why not go for the classic three-piece suit? It’s not every day that you get to wear something so formal, so the races are the perfect time to go for it.

A three-piece suit consists of a suit jacket, trousers and waistcoat, and if you’re going for a uniformed look then all the pieces should match in colour and pattern. You can go as bold or simplistic as you want, opting for a busily patterned suit or a plain coloured one.

Whatever you go for, it’s important to make sure your waistcoat is as well fitted as your suit, that it is long enough to cover your waist, and that you always leave the last button undone.

Accessories to Wear at the Races

Accessories can be a big part of racing wear, and even if you’ve got a slick suit, there’s no reason that it can’t be improved with a few well-chosen pieces. Typically, men at the races like to go traditional with their accessories and complement their outfits with pieces like pocket squares, bow ties and lapel pins.

If you’ve got a plain suit you can go bolder with the colour or print of your accessories, opting for a vibrant bow tie or an eye-catching lapel pin to add some character to your outfit. If your suit has enough character already, however, and you don’t want your outfit to be too over the top, then keep your accessories simple and in neutral colours so as not to cause any clashes.

What Shoes to Wear to the Races

There’s no point getting your suit and accessories right if your shoes aren’t going to match with them. When it comes to racing clothes, the correct shoes are vital. As you’ll most likely be dealing with the heat of the summer, as well as a lot of grass, it’s important that your footwear is both cool and comfortable.

Loafers are great for summer suits and you can change up the style of them depending on how formal you want to go. Clean, penny loafers are great for more structured, simplistic looks, while tassel loafers are ideal for more smart casual style suits where a little more personality can be added to the look.

Suit and Shoe Colour Combinations

  • Black suit: black shoes
  • Navy suit: brown or burgundy shoes
  • Beige suit: brown shoes
  • Grey suit: black or brown shoes

What to Wear to the Races

  • Always go for a suit and keep the styling classic. You can mix up this suit however much you like, as long as you keep the look interesting.
  • Try a different pattern or colour to brighten your look up a little bit. If you can’t go fancy at the races, when can you?
  • If you’re not confident with colour or pattern, then stick to classic colours such as black, navy, grey or beige.
  • Accessorise with pieces like lapel pins, bow ties or pocket squares.
  • Always make sure your shoes are formal, and that they match your suit. You could wear with loafers, Oxfords, brogues or even a pair of monk straps.

On That Note

Getting the right Ascot outfit doesn’t have to be a challenge, and you can easily show off your personality and style as much as the women at the races. Whether you go for a classic tweed suit or a modern patterned design, there are ways you can keep your look sharp yet vibrant. You should make the most out of this opportunity to go for something really fun, so look into patterned suits and shirts you can pair with them, or even go for a pair of burgundy loafers instead of black ones. If you play your cards right, you will be able to re-wear this suit for many other occasions, so it’s not a waste of money at all. Now you’re ready to bring your best style game to the races – let’s hope your best betting game is there too.

Feature image from Pinterest

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