Located in the heart of the historic city of Chester, this racecourse known as the Roodee is the oldest racecourse still in use in the UK, if not the world! It is one of the most prestigious Flat racecourses in the country with racing events running from May to September and is also the smallest racecourse.
Official Dress Code
Winning Post Enclosure, County Long Room and County Concourse
Ladies are required to wear a smart dress. Gentlemen are required to wear a suit jacket, collar and tie. No denim or sportswear permitted.
Ladies are encouraged to wear smart casual dresses. Gentlemen are permitted to wear smart (not ripped) jeans, trousers or chinos with polo shirts or collared shirts,.
Shorts, sportswear, t-shirts and fancy dress are not permitted.
Dee Stand and Open Course
There is no strict dress code for these enclosures but it is advisable to dress for the elements.
It may be the oldest and smallest racecourse in England, but the Roodee is young at heart and big on the fashion trends.
A neighbour of Aintree, chances are the Chester ladies already started their racing fashion season at the Grand National and are ‘chomping at the bit’ to carry on the trend at the May Festival with glamour and a party atmosphere.
Chester May Festival in early May
Chester Racecourse’s most famous and popular event is the three day May Festival which kicks off their season with style.
For the Ladies, We Say…
Expect oodles of excitement, fun and of course an excuse to strut your designer label style. This is one event where you can really go to town!
Forget spring and dive straight into summer wear – whatever the weather the summer dress, bare tanned legs and sky scraper heels are out in force. Make sure you are bang on trend and oozing as much style as you can strut.
Most ladies do wear a hat or fascinator but like the Grand National lady, the hat is not the main focus, the whole outfit is.
However, don’t let that tone things down: your headwear is the finishing touch on a very highly styled ensemble!
The handbag does not have to be functional, just on trend and preferably designer. Depending on the trend for that year, the handbag style can range from the micro handbag that can only fit in a lipstick to the macro handbag that can accommodate all the racing essentials.
Like at the Grand National, the tan (fake or real) is an essential accessory. Before the raceday, the Chester lady will visit the tanning salon or use a self tanning product to ensure she has the perfect tan. This can range from a light healthy glow to a deep bronze depending on her preference.
Like the Aintree lady, The Chester lady loves her high heels and is willing to suffer for the fashion stakes. It is the smallest racecourse in the UK so there won’t be long distance walking which is good news to the stiletto wearer.
Go big on bling – real or paste – but keep it tasteful, and if the budget allows, go designer.
A sunny optimist, the Chester lady expects the sun to shine so sunglasses are essential. And she loves her designer labels.
For Men – What to Wear
A sharp suit, collar and tie are the sartorial choice for many dapper gents at this race. Linen suits, or blazer and chinos also go down well but still wear with a shirt and tie in the top enclosures.
See How to Spice up Your Suit for ideas on how to stand out from the crowd.
A crisp white shirt will set off your sharp suit. But if you have decided to wear your grey or navy business suit, then maybe team with a bold coloured or patterned shirt to give interest and ensure you don’t look like you’ve just come from the office. Go for colourful stripes, Geo prints or for a softer look, floral patterns.
Gents do have to wear a tie in the Winning Post, County Long Room and County Concourse Enclosures. A safe bet when wearing a patterned shirt is to wear a plain tie. If you are feeling daring then team with a patterned tie – just don’t choose the same pattern, vary the size of the print and pick out a less dominant colour from your shirt to be the dominant colour for the tie.
The Pocket Square
Do not forget the pocket square. This is one accessory that always adds a dashing touch with no effort at all– the only rule to remember is that it should never exactly match the tie. When wearing a block colour pocket square with a patterned tie or shirt, don’t always choose the main colour. Choosing the least dominant colour will bring a sharper look and show that you know your style.
With the pocket square you can really go wild and show your off your daring sartorial flair – introduce a new clashing colour to your outfit or keep it tonal, your choice.
Shoes and Socks
Ditch the trainers for the smarter leather loafer or monk shoe. These allow the wearer to go sockless for a relaxed formal style. But if you do decide to wear socks, then jazz up your style with colourful or patterned ones.
Whether dull or sunny, look celebrity cool in designer sunglasses. Go for the classic styles of aviator or wayfarers. This is an easy way to update your outfit and create that designer look without robbing the bank.
Another way to add that designer touch is with a watch. A bit more expensive than a pair of sunglasses but see it as an all year round investment. From understated chic to a bold statement, the watch can show off your personality.
A must have for the modern man is the bracelet, ranging from simple leather straps or metal bangles to colourful chunky beads, from the high street to designer labels. The man’s bracelet/bangle adds a contemporary rebellious feel to your suit.
Sport a trilby with your suit to add character and also to keep the sun off your face if it does shine. The Panama is also a popular choice.