5 minutes read

What to wear to the Gold Cup Festival

Posted by Gemma Dillon on 06/05/2023 (Updated 06/27/2023), Category: Article
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Thinking about attending the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival 2024?

There are lots of things to consider when organising your Gold Cup experience, including what to wear for the races.

Photo credit: Visit Cheltenham

What to wear to the Gold Cup Festival:

The Gold Cup Festival is renowned for its guests’ distinctive fashion sense. However, Cheltenham Racecourse recently changed its dress code to increase accessibility to the sport, and you can now wear more casual clothing.

If you want to follow tradition though, below is what you can typically expect from attire at the races.

Men’s fashion:

Men’s wear at the races is typically formal but can be styled in different ways.

Men at the races will commonly wear well-fitting suits or a shirt with a blazer and trousers.

Tweed is a popular material and is commonly used in men’s suits, blazers, or overcoats, with long overcoats being a common style.

Outfits are finished off with accessories including hats, ties, and pocket squares. Shoes worn are also smart and typically worn in a brown or black colour.

House of Cavani is Jockey Club’s fashion partner and can give you an indication of the style.

Women’s fashion:

Women’s fashion at the races is also smart. Similar to men’s fashion, it often takes on a British Countryside-esque feel, with tweed being a popular choice of fabric. Some women delve more into this country style, wearing tweed blazers and tall brown boots, whereas other women opt for a smart dress and overcoat.

It is also popular for women to wear fascinators. These are often statement pieces, with some choosing a flamboyant style. Alternatively, women also wear hats.

Festival Wednesday is often known as Women’s Day, as it offers the chance for ladies to showcase their outfits. This is the day that women attendees tend to opt to go “all out” in their choice of outfits, and photographs are sometimes taken of attendees to showcase the fashion from the day.

Something to be aware of from a practical standpoint is that parking is mainly on grass with a bit of a walk and you are likely to be on your feet for a lot of the day. Take this into consideration in your footwear choice, or bring a spare change of shoes.

What not to wear:

Although the dress code has been relaxed there is still some clothing that is not permitted. This includes fancy dress, football shirts, and any offensive outfits.

Weather:

Due to the event being in mid-March, the weather is likely to either be cold or mild. We advise that racegoers bring scarves and gloves to keep themselves warm. You may also benefit from bringing an umbrella as you don’t want to potentially be stood outside in the rain all day.

There are covered viewing points at the Racecourse, but what is available depends on your ticket type.

Where to shop for Race Week fashion:

There are several places to shop for Race Week fashion. The Jockey Club recommends House of Cavani, but there are plenty of places to shop for race week fashion in the boutiques of Cheltenham. Depending on your ticket type, at Cheltenham Racecourse you will also have access to the shopping village/ pop-up market. This features all of the staple fashion items you may need for the races, from tweed jackets to eccentric fascinators.

How important is fashion at the races?

Race Week fashion is renowned across the UK as it’s quite distinctive, and those who picture the races may be more likely to picture racegoer fashion above the horse racing itself. For this reason, most racegoers will put time and consideration into what to wear to the races, sometimes buying a specific outfit for the event.

The formality and emphasis on fashion at the event, add to the cost of attending. In the past, this has dissuaded potential attendees from attending the event, but Cheltenham Racecourse has recently announced that they have relaxed the dress code so that those dressed less formally can also participate in the fun.

Although Race Week fashion is a fun aspect of the event, it isn’t an essential part of enjoying the races. Regardless of what you’re wearing, you’ll still enjoy the atmosphere of the races.

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