In the world of horseracing it has been a custom to dress up for major events, this is true in the UK, USA, the rest of Europe and some parts of Asia like Japan. Racecourses are a place for sports betting, but this sport has always been considered of a higher standard than any other, there is just some sense of style at the races, and it isn´t just about dressing nicely, fancy dresses steal the show with Belle Epoch styles.
The Cheltenham Festival stands as one of the three main events in the horseracing world of the UK. 3 days of continuous jump races with millions of pounds in prices, magnificent specimens from around the world (mostly Europe) and lots of glamour.
The entity that organizes the Cheltenham Festival is the Jockey Club. In present days no demands on the type of attire is made to attend the festival, it usually happens during the winter months and the climate is expected to be chilly and unpredictable (rain). That is why comfortable and cozy clothes are advised for the general public.
But there are certain sections (stands) of the event that require proper attire like the Turf Club, restaurants and VIP seating.
How to Choose your Outfit
According to style magazine Marie Claire, you must decide if what you´ve got in the wardrobe are inappropriately short, impractically long or unfashionably in between.
Consider shoes, as you will be expected to walk a lot around the track just to find seats, food or place a bet at the shops. Even a trip to the bathroom can be a journey and the event isn´t just about watching horses circling around, during Ladies Day festival festive tents are laid out around the track to serve fine wine and food with plenty of souvenirs and attractions.
If you are going to be on the grass (Infield) avoid stilettos, you will end up removing them to your purse soon enough after getting buried in mud at every step. A mid-height wedge is a good and practical shoe. Take in mind the inside Infield section tends to the “the peoples area”, it will be a college crowd mess with lots of alcohol and messing around. The stands are a more lady like area, although Ladies Day tends to keep the peace.
If you plan to dress up, do it only during Ladies Day.
Hats and more Hats!
Hats are the key element in a racecourse and events like the Cheltenham Festival. 1920’s style, large and flashy with an ornamental decoration. Depending on your fashion expression you can decide to go for the stylish vintage hat, 1800’s London style, Golden Age Hollywood or the modern expressionist with flashy colors and large plume. Everything goes as long as you wear a fashionable hat that does more than to keep the sun out.
A fascinator a great option if you want to go for the classic style and avoid attracting eyes with a Princess Eugenie-style.
The luxurious option would be the Bundle MacLaren style, a tailor made hat. You can purchase one on stores near the event or online. Prices are low and still stylish enough for specific wears. Some even rent for the occasion.
Where to Buy
For the highly stylish you can try Diane von Furstenberg or Rachel Comey.
But if this will be a onetime wear we suggest to try your best outfit from your own drawer and rent out or buy key elements like the hat and hand gloves with a nice purse. These garments can also be easily purchased inside or nearby the event, especially during Ladies Day.
So our fashion suggestion would be just that, buy your hat at the event, you will enjoy the shopping.
While at the races do not forget to visit the shops to place a bet, no matter how small it is there is true experience without a bet. A top suggestion would be to place the bet online at William Hill sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/betting/t/19/Tom/Cheltenham.html – with complete coverage of horses and jockeys to compete for this festival. They are the preferred betting site during Ladies Day and the Cheltenham Festival.