Struggling to plan your race day outfit? We help you create the perfect look for the summer and winter seasons, and show you how to stylishly abide by race day dress codes at the best UK racing venues.

When planning what to wear to the races, it can be tricky to find the perfect embodiment of glamour and style, and with racecourses implementing strict dress codes and traditions, the task of finding the outfit is made all the more difficult.

As the premium ticketing marketplace, Seat Unique knows a thing or two about attending luxury events. That’s why we are here to help you on your quest for the ideal race day outfit. Let us guide you through our favourite looks that abide by racecourse dress codes.

Read on to discover our top race day outfit tips for ladies for the summer and winter months, and to find out about dress codes at Ascot Racecourse, York Racecourse, Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.

What to wear at the races: Ladies Outfits

Our top tip for planning your race day outfit is to follow the same rules as you would for weddings and christenings. Think chic and classy with an added pop of personality and you’re on the right track!

While racecourses differ in their dress codes (more on that later), there are some simple yet effective steps to follow to ensure that you look the part.


Dresses in a shop
Image: Dresses (Photo by Alexander Kovacs)

Most female racegoers tend to opt for a dress as the main body of their outfit, but if you’re more of a skirt or trousers kind of girl, then follow whatever makes you feel comfortable.

If you do choose to rock a race day dress, we recommend choosing a classy mid-length number. Floral or patterned summer dresses and tea dresses are a perfect choice for keeping cool in the warmer months and guarantee that you will look beautifully elegant.

While black can look great, why not make the most of the opportunity to dress-up and go for a bold summery colour?

Hats and Fascinators

Pink fascinator
Image: Fascinator (Photo by Brett Jordan)

Headwear is an absolute must-have accessory at the races and can really elevate your outfit.

It is difficult to find the perfect balance between stylish headwear and overdoing it, so we suggest choosing a piece that complements the colours of your outfit and feels comfortable to wear all day. If you are feeling brave, opt for a larger hat or fascinator with fun textures and colours!

Top tip: Many charity shops sell second-hand hats and fascinators and can be a great way to get your hands on cheaper headwear while contributing to a good cause!


Hand holding a pair of dark green heels
Image: High heels (Photo by Andrew Tanglao)

Ladies race day footwear is important to creating the perfect race day outfit, and should complete the whole look.

We suggest picking a simple heel that compliments your dress and other accessories in colour and style. If you buy new heels for your day at the races, make sure to wear them beforehand to avoid any pesky blisters!

While many racegoers choose to wear sky-high heels, we recommend choosing a comfortable shoe as you will spend much of your day standing (but if you do want to wear super high heels, take a spare pair of flats with you as a back-up).

What to wear for Ladies Day at the races

Madeleine Robinson Office Manager at Seat Unique with friends at Royal Ascot
Image: Madeleine Robinson Office Manager at Seat Unique with friends at Royal Ascot

Deciding what to wear to Ladies Day at the races is not too different to other race days. However, Ladies Day usually offers the opportunity to take your outfit to the next level especially with the title for ‘Best Dressed’ up for grabs.

Ladies Day outfits usually see female guests select bolder pieces and accessories that will spark the attention of the judges- think bigger hats and unique dress styles and you could be in with the chance of winning!

What to wear to the races in winter

Attending the races in the winter does not mean that you have to opt for a boring layered-up outfit. Of course, you will need to prepare for colder weather and British winter conditions, but style can still prevail!

For ladies, we recommend taking a shawl or smart coat, choosing a closed-toe heel, and selecting a midi dress of a thicker material with long sleeves to keep you toasty in the cold.

Racecourse dress code rules

Group of ladies at the races
Image: Ladies at the races 

What to wear to Royal Ascot

  • Royal Enclosure - For ladies, large headwear must be worn and dresses should fall just above the knee or longer. Thin strapped, halter neck and strapless dresses should not be worn while midriffs should not be shown.
  • Village Enclosure - Ladies should dress formally and follow the same guidelines as those in the Royal Enclosure, but should select smaller hats or fascinators.
  • Windsor Enclosure - While there is no formal dress code in the Windsor Enclosure, smart daywear is encouraged.

What to wear to York Races

  • County Stand - There is no formal dress code for ladies but most choose to dress up for the day.
    The Grandstand and Paddock - There is no formal dress code but most guests choose to make the most of the opportunity to dress up.
  • The Clocktower Enclosure - This is the most relaxed area at York Races and there is no dress code. Outfits should be comfortable and practical.

What to wear to Cheltenham Races

There is no official dress code at Cheltenham Festival. However, most guests do dress smartly and make the most of the occasion by following traditional race day attire.

You should note that a dress code is sometimes implemented; for example, The Queen’s Stand on Derby Day.

What to wear to the Grand National

The Grand National does not have an official dress code but like at Cheltenham, guests do like to show up in smart and glamorous attire to fit with the social occasion.

Interested in premium horse racing experiences? Check out all of our race day VIP tickets and hospitality packages now!

Explore horseracing hospitality packages