Dressing for the horse races, how to back a winning race day outfit

1 Oct 2019

Floral dress with flounce

Wondering what you should wear to the horse races? Whether it’s Standardbred or Thoroughbred races you’re attending this season, you’ll want to enjoy all the glamour and fun of race day events while looking your best. For both men and women horse racing events are a chance to dress up in formal shoes, accessories and for women, eye-catching headpieces. Race days are a tradition that spans more than a century and are a highlight of the social calendar. If you can back a winning outfit and get the etiquette right, race days offer a fun and lively day out with a touch of glamour.

Floral dress with dark background

The horse racing calendar really kicks off from September to November. The New Zealand Trotting Cup or New Zealand Cup, Show Day Races, Livamol Spring Classic and the Melbourne Cup are the most awaited racing events of the year. 

Racing Etiquette

Race day is not just about the actual race taking place, it is a time to be seen looking your fashionable best. Men wear suits and ties, and ladies wear dresses and hats with matching accessories. You may have dressed to impress, but make sure you don’t make any social faux pas during this important event. Here is a short list of racing day etiquette:

  • Always follow the dress code; there are strict guidelines one must follow when attending.
  • Cheer but avoid being too enthusiastic; seeing your horse cross the others or reach the finish line first can be exciting, but do tone down your cheering.
  • Use your phone sparingly, enjoy the company, clap and cheer during the race.
  • Avoid selfies and live streaming the event, be in the moment.

Appropriate Racewear Outfits 

A dress code applies to certain areas of the course and you might be denied entry if this is not followed. Be it a Cup Day or Derby Day, your attire should meet horse race dress standards.

Race day is the perfect time to dress to impress, regardless of where you choose to spend your day on course. Mostly people opt for colourful and fun dresses on Cup Day and formal black and white attire on a Derby Day. 

Bag and Shoe Pairings

Your bag and shoes do not have to match, but the era or look has to work. Choose a race day outfit that is simple yet elegant, and highlights your body’s best features. A polished look allows you to stand out but blend in. Choose a bag carefully; keep in mind that it should have room for your phone, a small race book and lipstick for touch ups. Wear shoes that are comfortable throughout the day as it gets hot in the afternoon and cold in the stands. Racegoers should also have a fine pashmina on hand and a pen to record their picks.

Fascinators or Hats that Match

Choose the most prominent fascinator or hat that blends with your outfit’s colour. Once you find a colour, it will be easier to choose the right headpiece. Go for a simple one if your race day dress is eye-catching already; the same rule applies vice-versa. Some colours in the outfit are difficult to match so racegoers can choose the colour of the shoes and clutch as the base colour for the headpiece. Then have it modified by adding some colours from the dress like flowers, petals, feathers or fabric.

Modes can modify fascinators and introduce the colour or fabric from your dress into the fascinator or hatinator. We have a huge range of dresses for the Races and a good selection of accessories like hats, fascinators, clutches and jewellery to complete your look. Some of our dresses are from Spain and exclusive to Modes in Australasia. We can also customises fascinators to match your dress.

Check out our racewear collections, or contact us using the details below.

Call us on 09-520-6070 for more information, or pop in and visit our store 2/160 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland.