What to wear to the Races
What to wear to the Races

Parkers or Peep toes? Your one-stop guide to suitable styling at Plumpton Racecourse!

You’ve got your tickets, you’ve looked at the runners, you know where you’re going to place your bets, but what on earth are you going to wear to Plumpton Racecourse?

Actually, at Plumpton Racecourse, there is no official or formal dress code, but that doesn’t mean racegoers should shy away from style. After all, there’s only room for one Tracksuit Dave!

The Plumpton philosophy is dress for the weather. We race from September through to May, so although we can have some glorious days either end of the season, much of the racedays may be on the cold or wet side.

When the weather is less favourable, Plumpton Racecourse Marketing Executive, Harriet Brown, recommends layers, with a good waterproof on top. “There’s nothing worse than getting wet or cold early on during a raceday,” she comments. “Welligogs do some lovely wax jackets which are long and slightly flared, meaning the rain runs clear of your legs!” Under that waterproof layer, Harriet recommends a fitted roll neck with a Baleno gillet over the top. “They are warm and flattering, so if the rain stops, you have something smart underneath, should you need to remove your coat. When it’s a dry day, my Baleno poncho looks really smart with white jeans and long boots.”

Jockey and racing correspondent, Hayley Moore, has a particular fashion item favourite: “For me it’s all about the hat. A good hat is not only fun and stylish but quite often a necessity for wet days and for added warmth! I’m a big fan of Yvette Jelf’s hats, they always add a bit of fun to practicality!”

“Jump racing is also a great excuse to invest in some stylish boots. There are so many to choose from nowadays, from long boots with high heels or flat boots with some funky tassels on, like Fairfax and Favour. Knee high boots are also a good idea on the colder days, “she adds.

Finally, warm colourful gloves keep you that bit warmer on the chilly days and you can even buy ones that open your phone without having to get a cold hand, very useful for posting updates on the raceday on social media!

Fast forward to warmer weather and longer days and you land on Ladies Day. With best dressed competitions offering a staggering amount of prizes these days, it really is the time to shine. Remember where you are, however, racecourses are not night clubs. One girl was spotted falling off her shoe on Ladies Day last year, who exclaimed “I didn’t know there’d be so much grass!”

Perhaps swap the stilettos for wedges, and if wearing a dress, knee length or longer is more tasteful. Plumpton Hospitality Executive and regular Ascot racegoer, Allison Blake, opts for a three quarter or full length A-line dress. “The skirt floats a little if there’s a breeze,” she explains. “But is also long enough to avoid any Marilyn Monroe moments!” For Allison, it’s all about the matching hat. Milliners can make bespoke designs to match your outfit or can stock up on a few in staple colours which can be mixed with nearly any dress.

The budget needn’t be broken either! Last year, third place Best Dressed Lady went to a young woman who teamed a white and turquoise maxi dress from River Island with a simple turquoise fascinator and matching turquoise plastic wine glass from her picnic! “We loved the colour scheme, and the matching wine glass was the icing on the cake,” said Lisa Allen from The Pink Ribbon Foundation, who formed part of the judging panel.

Whenever you choose to come racing at Plumpton, be sure to check the website for the day’s entertainment – and the weather forecast. At the end of the day, it’s not about what you wear, but that you have a great day out!