Racing Fashion

The Racing Fashion Stakes: Cheltenham Festival vs Aintree Grand National

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Racing Fashion Stakes

Both Cheltenham’s Festival and Aintree’s Grand National Meeting are pinnacles to strive for in racing terms – but they are increasingly dominating the champion fashionista calendar as well.

Only one month separates these two Jump festivals but for fashion and attire they are worlds apart. Which one would you back? Cheltenham vs Aintree – let the fashion challenge begin!

Starter’s Orders – When to Shop

Cheltenham – Ideally, you need to get off to a flying start and shop well in advance especially if you are having something made to measure (see Cheltenham Tweed below).

Winter clothes arrive in the high street around September/October. You have a few months to plan and study the fashion form but don’t leave it to the New Year.

As we are now in late February you may be able to take advantage of some bargains in the sales, but choice is limited so next year plan ahead.

Aintree – Leave the shopping to the home stretch i.e. nearer the date so you can purchase the latest spring fashions. This is a short sharp shopping gallop to the fashion finishing line.


Form Guide – Fashion & Style

Cheltenham – Odds are the weather will be cold so keeping warm and stylish is the order of the Cheltenham Festival day.

Classic tweed is the favourite, but it doesn’t have to be conservative. Timothy Foxx has given tweed a quirky makeover and taken years off the old favourite.

The Grace jacket (pictured right and above) has a flash of bold block colour with a corduroy collar and back kick pleats.

The cuffs can be worn down or buttoned up to reveal the colourful corduroy found inside the sleeve. Buttons are of military style and eclectic design.

Shown here in pink and green check with bright fuchsia corduroy. Other colours are available. Price £325.

The matching Hazel Pencil Skirt has a flattering back kick pleat in the contrasting fuchsia corduroy. Price £110.

The image (above) shows off a bespoke pill box style hat created by milliner Beverley Emminson.

In conjunction with Timothy Foxx, Beverley designed the hat using the same tweed fabric as the Grace jacket. Similar headpieces can be made to order in any of the tweeds.

For other designs visit her website

The tweed suit has stamina and will last you for many seasons. Just change your accessories and top to update your look.



The Cheltenham Tweed

To truly feel at home at the Cheltenham Festival opt for the new Cheltenham Tweed.

Cheltenham Racecourse commissioned its own tweed, made by Norton and Townsend, which is dark green with darker green and gold undertones running through it.

Made from 100% wool, it is tailor-made into ladies coats and an array of men’s garments including suits, jackets, waistcoats, trousers and much more by Norton and Townsend.

Rachel Wyse, one of the Ambassadors of the season of Cheltenham models the Cheltenham Tweed coat right.

You can commission a bespoke piece (for next year!) here:

Depending on the weather on the day, team your tweed suit with a cool blouse or a warm polo neck.

Crisp white blouses give a classic look and lace blouses a vintage twist, but don’t rule out colour or patterns: these can inject a more youthful and trendy look to your tweeds.

Pastels and geometric prints are this summer’s trends so stay ahead of the fashion pack with Matalan triangle print blouse in pastel pink. Price £12.

Don’t forget the all important statement necklace which will glamorise the buttoned-up blouse and polo neck.

Konplott’s Pillow Kiss necklace in yellow and green is a great example. Price £126.50.

Aintree – The weather is not a consideration here. Come rain or shine, it’s all about the summer look and the Aintree lady does not want to conceal her gorgeous frock underneath a coat.

However she may be persuaded to wear a jacket if it is a must-have for the summer.

For dresses think light floaty fabrics and a style to show off her tanned legs and arms.

The pleated hi–low hemline dress from Diamond by Julien Macdonald is just the ticket. Price approx £75 soon to be available from Debenhams.

And if the Aintree lady does decide to take a jacket, the on-trend styles this season include the coloured biker jacket and the lightweight silky bomber jacket.

The bright blue suede biker jacket from Star by Julien Macdonald (approx price £250) will add a touch of biker chic whist still being feminine.

The bomber jacket has never looked so good and this lightweight Digi floral bomber jacket from Red Herring (approx £38) will give the jockeys’ silks a run for their money in the fashion stakes.

Both jackets will soon be available at Debenhams.

An Aintree outfit is not expected to enter in to the fashion race next year. Wear it all summer and to other events, but the name of the Aintree fashion game is to wear something new each time.


Turning Heads

Hats are the all-important accessory at most Ladies’ Day races.

Cheltenham – The Cheltenham hat has to have substance otherwise the elements can turn your crowning glory into a racing flop.

Colourful felts and faux furs will keep your head warm plus add a flamboyant glamour to your tweed suit.

This is the time the sales are on but you have to be quick.

This Fair Trade wool felt Cora hat in cranberry was available at time of writing but stocks are low. Handmade in Ecuador. Price was £74.50 now £37.25.

Aintree – No need for warmth here, it’s all about the show.

Extravagant fascinators are eye-catching without Royal Ascot connotations.

Available now is the navy and bright blue feather blossom crescent fascinator by Principles from Debenhams. Price £120.


Lighter but equally fascinating is the Sputnik-like fascinator by Top Hat designed by Stephen Jones for Debenhams.

Price approx £85 but not yet available.

Legs on Show

Cheltenham – keep your pins warm and looking good in block coloured or patterned tights.

Keep up the heritage look with Jonathan Aston Argyle tights. Price £13.45. Available in moss green or burgundy from

Aintree – No tights required here. Fake tan (or real) is the essential accessory.

Vita Liberata boasts of the longest lasting tan with their pHenomenal tanning range, lasting up to four times longer than any other tan in the world!

The new lotion formula includes Moisture Lock that draws water to the skin surface and locks it there for 72 hours leaving the skin plumped and hydrated.

Available in medium and dark from Boots and Price £37.50.


Lucky (Horse) Shoes

Cheltenham – best foot forward is the boot.

Heels on boots can be low or chunkier without losing style and are so much easier to walk over grass.

For choice, the best time to buy boots is October/November but if you leave it until the New Year you can bag a sale.

These La Redoute leather biker boots (for slim calves) in plum make a nice but subtle change from the usual black or brown. Price was £175, now £105.

Aintree – show off those legs in high heels. Again the Aintree lady is ready to suffer for fashion and wears stilettos.

But the savvy fashonista is literally not a stick in the mud and will wear high wedges instead.

Plus this season the high heel has turned chunky, great for unpaved terrain.

Office Jail Break shoe boots show off the new chunky high heel to perfection.

Available soon in a shiny hologram shade to go with any outfit. Price £60

And the winner is…

As the saying goes it’s really ‘horses for courses’, but for a true assessment of your show-stopping outfit(s) why not enter the Best Dressed Competitions as well?

For an overview of the Cheltenham Outfit please click here

For an overview of the Aintree Outfit please click here



Prices correct at time of writing but please be aware that offers, availability and discounts may be subject to change by the retailers.


Karen Grace is the Fashion & Beauty Editor of

She studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International. You can read more of Karen’s fashion advice at:

For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on [email protected]


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