A gentleman’s guide to dressing for the races

A gentleman’s guide to dressing for the races – words Alexa Wang

dressing for the races

A true gent knows that the races is one of the biggest opportunities on the calendar for dressing to impress, with the additions of pocket squares, waistcoats and cufflinks setting you apart from the rest of the pack.

But how do you incorporate modern-day trends while still looking your gentlemanly best? We know that it can be difficult to know what’s worth investing in and what’s not, so we’ve created this dressing for the races guide to ensure you’re looking dapper.

Shirts – simple vs statement

If there’s anything that defines a real gent, it’s a great shirt. When searching for the perfect shirt, the key is to enquire about the ‘fold’, as two-fold cotton fabric is more durable, getting you more bang for your buck. It also has a good level of opacity so, unlike cheap shirts, it won’t end up revealing too much! Don’t be afraid to play with colour as well. We love Joseph Turner for a selection of plain and patterned two-fold shirts — there’s even an optional sleeve alteration service, so you can get the perfect fit.

dressing for men

Suit up

A suit is a must when heading to the race ground. We suggest a full three-piece number to make sure you really look the part!

As we creep into the height of summer, you can get more creative with materials. Linen is one of our favourites: not only will it prevent you from overheating, but it also comes in a larger range of colours to encourage you to experiment — just be careful they don’t clash with your shirt!

Alternatively, you may want to opt for a classy windowpane check pattern — that’ll ensure that you’re unmissable amongst the sea of people! — and your style reflects the fun-loving atmosphere within the grounds.

Still unsure what to look for? Brush up on your knowledge with our expert guide to buying suits.

dressing for the races

Be smart with your footwear choices

Smart shoes are a must, whether or not you’re getting suited and booted and can range from a suit shoe to boat shoes and brogues. Regardless of the type of shoes you wear, ensure they are freshly buffed to keep them looking presentable. Avoid trainers and the like — no matter how expensive or fashionable — to keep up the smart appearance and tie together your gentlemanly look. If you’re planning on purchasing new shoes for the occasion, make sure you break them in well in advance: after all, there can’t be many things worse than losing bets and having two blistered feet at the same time!


Brace yourself

With plenty of cash being splashed around you, teaming your outfit with some high-end (or high-end-inspired!) accessories can take your look to the next level. Wearing a detailed pair of vintage cufflinks, like these ones from Etsy, or a statement watch can add a couple of extra zeroes to your outfit’s value, so you can fake it till you make it. Braces continue to make a return year on year, with the quirkier gent rocking them to the races, so don’t be afraid to break the status quo and experiment with accessory options.


Just like you wouldn’t turn up to work channelling Stig of the Dump, don’t show up to the races having not set aside some time to groom your facial hair. With longer hair and the return of the moustache defining this year’s trends, make sure your hair is always kept clean and in check, just as you would for any other formal occasion.

With many race venues hosting fixtures in the coming months, this guide will have you well-prepped for any meeting. Don’t be afraid to stray from the standard gentlemanly uniform and experiment with new outfit components to give you an extra style boost. We’re dressing to impress this race season; are you?

A gentleman’s guide to dressing for the races – words Alexa Wang


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