What to Wear to the Races: Dress Code Guides

Smart fashion and race day have been intertwined since the beginning of formalized horse racing. 

And with spring in the air, it means that another season of race day dresses is nearly upon us. 

While this time may find you gleefully flinging open the warm-wear section of your closet in search of your best floral gown or patterned pocket square, this time may also find you deflated by your options of what to wear to the races

If you find yourself in the latter half of the situation depicted above, don’t panic. 

You’ve got plenty of time to find the right outfit(s) that will stun this season and the next. 

Read on to learn more about what to wear to the races

History of Race Day Dresses

While the Romans and Greeks were no strangers to chariot racing, the modern institution of high-end race day attire originated with the royalty of Great Britain

Since then, the sport has been synonymous with breath-taking hats, dresses, and suits, all cut to leave an impression. 

This reputation was solidified in 1962 with the debut of Fashions on the Field at the Victoria Racing Field, an event at which contestants don their best and are judged by an elite panel of judges. 

Year in and year out, this event brought Australia’s fashionistas flocking to Melbourne. 

Today, this adherence to fashion is maintained across the country. 

Whether this is your first race season or your fortieth, you want to be sure to dress to impress. 

What to Wear to the Races: Women

Ladies, you know that you’re the star of this fashion show. Here are three tips to help you shine even brighter:

Race Day Dresses

When it comes to race day, you want to look cool while staying cool, which is why race day dresses are the natural go-to for most women. 

Big Hats

How often do you get to wear a hat that truly makes a statement? Take advantage of this race day style hallmark and find a hair accessory that complements your look. 


Your jewellery, clutch, boleros and shoes are the final pieces of your race day look. Make sure they work cohesively with your dress and hat to tell a fashion narrative. 

What to Wear to the Races: Men

While men may feel left out of the style excitement, there’s no reason you can’t wow just as much as your female counterpart. From statement socks to well-curated footwear, men have every opportunity to make a statement. 

Below we share five must-know tips for men when it comes to what to wear to the races. 

Wear a Jacket

While jackets aren’t a requirement at all race tracks, they effortlessly let you accomplish a put-together, debonair look.

Experiment with Colour Schemes

Don’t shy away from colour. If you’re attending a match with a companion, consider wearing complimentary clothing that compliments their attire. 

Bring Sunglasses

In addition to the face that race day can be blinding, your choice in sunglasses can add an extra statement to your already-stylish look. 

Accessorise Thoughtfully

Your socks, cufflinks, tie and bowtie, all offer additional opportunities to make a bold statement. View every part of your outfit as a piece that contributes to an overall stylistic message. 

What to Wear to the Races: Dress Code Guides Conclusion

Regardless of your personal style, you can find a race day look that complements your aesthetic expression. 

Shop our race day edit and be inspired by our range of race day dresses from bold structured style to sheer floaty fabrics and oh so pretty prints, we have a dress for every race day.

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