How to Dress for the Cheltenham Festival

Would you like some guidelines for what to wear at the Cheltenham racecourse? Top hats and feather boas may seem like a thing of the past, but even in today's informal world, dress-up is not limited to dressage. Read on to see tips and guidelines on choosing your outfit for a great day at the races at the Cheltenham Festival!


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    Know Cheltenham. Take a moment to savour the rich history of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. Started in 1860, this annual four-day celebration of steeplechase, hurdle and flat racing is one of the most prestigious sporting events on the UK calendar. The best horses and jockeys from Ireland and Britain compete for upwards of £4 million in prize money. Steeped in tradition, the Cheltenham Festival combines time-honoured events such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Gold cup, with more recent additions such as the Ladies Charity Flat Race, an important fund raiser for cancer research. Attendance at the four-day event was more than 230,000 in 2012.
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    Dress for the Weather. Watch the weather report. March tends to be on the chilly side, so warm outfits and several layers work best. Avoid synthetic fabrics. Instead go for tweeds and light woollens, which "breathe" and both provide warmth and are soft on the skin. And don't forget that light sweater or scarf to protect against the well-known unpredictability of the British climate.
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    Dress for Comfort. Remember that in addition to cheering on your horse, you'll be walking around quite a bit, and perhaps standing under the sun or in a breeze. For women it's footwear, and for men it's a comfortable hat that tops the list of clothing for maximum comfort at the races. Ladies, it's always a choice between high fashion and sensible shoes (see Step 4 below), so you'll have to decide whether to wear flats or heels to the show. Gents, dress for your comfort zone – comfy trousers for sitting at the bar, or maybe trainers for those long walks to check out the horses and chat with the jockeys before the race.
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    Dress for Fashion. Be a blue blood – or just look like one. Check out your favourite Royal to see how they're dressing this year. For men, this could mean a snazzy top hat or perhaps a day cravat Ascot tie. And lassies, don't forget that Wednesday is Ladies Day at Cheltenham. Dress to see and be seen with fashionable hats and your smartest shoes and accessories. Plus you can wear those chic gloves to ward off the nippy weather and maybe draw the attention of one of the fashion photographers that are always present on Ladies Day. Enjoy your own paparazzi for a day!
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    Be of Good Cheer! Have a great day at the races. Cheer on your favourite steed, raise a glass, perhaps make a wager or two – and have a great time at Cheltenham!

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Categories: Fashion