What to Wear to Doncaster Racecourse.
One of the oldest racecourses for horseracing in Britain, Doncaster hosts around 36 race fixtures a year including two of the world’s oldest races: The Doncaster Cup and the St Leger Stakes – both held in September as part of the St Leger Festival.
Read our comprehensive specialist Guide on What to Wear to Doncaster below.
“What to Wear to Doncaster Racecourse?”
Official Dress Code
Premier Enclosure and Mallard/Lincoln Restaurant
Jacket and tie is required for gentlemen and smart attire for ladies.
Strictly no jeans, sportswear or trainers.
The dress code also applies to children
County, Conduit Restaurant, Boxes, Press and Owners & Trainers
Collared shirt for gentlemen is required and smart attire for ladies.
Strictly no jeans, sportswear or trainers.
This dress code also applies to children.
Grandstand & Family Enclosures
No dress code applies for these enclosures.
Fancy dress is fine within the Grandstand Enclosure.
For the County Enclosure – you need to call and check with Doncaster Racecourse first if you wish to come in fancy dress.
What to Wear to St Leger Festival
Held mid September, Doncaster’s St Leger Festival is still considered part of the summer racing season so no matter what the weather, most ladies are not ready to hang up their summer outfits for warmer autumnal clothing.
For the Ladies, We Say…
Going back as far as 1776, Doncaster’s St Leger is the oldest Classic in the world. It may be a Classic race, but the racegoers’ fashion style is bang up to date, so when considering what to wear to Doncaster, bear in mind those hardy northern ladies are still betting on summer outfits as favourite.
This may be their last chance of the year to strike a pose in that summer dress.
Hats are popular but do consider creations that won’t be ruined by a downpour. These glamorous ladies were lucky and the sun shone on the day they attended. However sunny days are not guaranteed in late summer and ethereal feathers tend to droop in rain whilst silk will lose its flawless sheen with water spot stains.
If you don’t want to take the risk, a compact felt pillbox will weather wind and rain better whilst adding colour to your outfit.
The TanTake your favourite feature and flaunt it fabulously. The ladies up north don’t seem to feel the cold and this may be the last racing event they have the opportunity to flaunt their tanned shoulders, legs, or backs before covering up for the autumn.
Before the raceday, she 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.
The weather can be unpredictable this time of year, so the practical solution would be to take a large or medium sized handbag in a summery shade in order to carry all your racing essentials – scarf and brolly if the weather turns plus plus a pair of foldable flat shoes for when those stilettos start to hurt.
However, most racegoers (remember those northern ladies are hardy, and they know exactly what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse) take a chance on the weather and opt for small handbags such as clutches to complement their summery outfits.
Sandals or Shoes?
High heeled strappy sandals are still popular for this festival but high heeled shoes may be a better choice, then you can wear a pair of tights if it gets chilly. Stand out and choose a bold colour to match or contrast with your outfit.
This is the type of occasion where there is no such thing as OTT so pile on that bling. Statement jewellery adds a generous amount of bling with style. Necklace, earrings, bracelets and even the anklet to complement the tanned bare ankle.
A sunny optimist, the northern lady expects the sun to shine so sunglasses are essential. Plus this may be the last festival of the year where you can don those sunglasses, so make the most of it.
The Cover Up
If you fear you will feel the cold, a jacket in a summery colour would provide some warmth without spoiling your overall look. Above, the lady in red wears her fitted white jacket open to frame and emphasise her slim waist.
Not ready to wear a jacket just yet? Then a pashmina shawl is the answer.
Gentlemen, We Say…
You may be tempted to don your tweed jacket, but the ladies are not ready to swap their summer clothing for autumn wear and the men shouldn’t be either. But do avoid linen as it is too late in the season.
Most gentlemen opt for the sartorial suit. The three snappy dressers above show off what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse, with their different styles – double breasted, single breasted and pinstripe.
Check out our How to Spice up your Suit – Part 1 – Eclipse Magazine article to take the office look out of your style.
A crisp white shirt will set off a sharp suit. But if you have decided to wear your grey or navy business suit, then maybe team with a coloured or patterned shirt to give interest and ensure you don’t look like you’ve just come from the office. This stylish gentlemen isn’t scared to mix his patterns – gingham check shirt with pinstripe suit. Although he will need to wear a tie if he wants to be enter the Premier Enclosure or Mallard/Lincoln Restaurant.
Golfer Lee Westwood pictured above with Frankie Dettori looks suave in a pale pink shirt with a deeper pink and blue striped tie.
If the sun comes out, then don a pair of cool sunglasses.
Click here How to Spice up Your Suit – Part 2 – Eclipse Magazine to see our article on what style of sunglasses to wear for your face shape.
What to Wear to the Vertem Futurity Trophy (aka Racing Post Trophy)
Held in October this is Doncaster’s second most famous racing event after St Leger.
For the Ladies, We Say…
When considering what to wear to Doncaster, go for layering to keep warm.
Long sleeved dresses will allow for a thermal T-shirt to be worn underneath.
A trouser or skirt suit allows you to make a last minute choice on wearing a jumper, blouse or camisole underneath depending on the weather that day. Again depending on the weather, the trouser suit looks stylish with most types of footwear – sandals, flats, stilettos and ankle boots. Wear tights underneath for added warmth.
However, opt for the summer bright colours rather than autumnal shades.
Hats are optional and most racegoers tend not to wear one. If you do decide to – aim for something neat such as a pill box, cloche or beret in felt, wool or tightly woven straw.
Opt for ankle boots with tights to offer some warmth and glamour or simply full shoes with tights.
Be prepared for all types of weather as October can be unpredictable. Take an oversized handbag in a summery shade to carry all your racing essentials such as scarf, gloves, umbrella and sunglasses.
Don’t let your umbrella let you down in the fashion stakes, if it’s raining this will be on view for all to see. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just in good condition and complement your outfit with its colour or print. A compact umbrella is a good choice so you can keep it in your bag when the sun shines.
For the Men, We Say…
Gentlemen who understand what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse, will be wearing dark suits but we say a three piece tweed suit is a great investment for the autumn/winter festivals.
The Tweed Suit
Not only will you stay warm and strike a sartorial pose when worn all together, it can look equally dapper when worn separately. For a quirky look wear the trousers and waistcoat together but add a different coloured tweed jacket, or wear the jacket and trousers and change the waistcoat to another tweed or a block colour woollen waistcoat.
Tweed adds colour, texture and patterns that a normal business suit can’t.
Smaller guys (short or in weight) should avoid the larger checks as these will just drown their frame. Go for the smaller checks.
The more textured tweeds are heavier so will add bulk – good for the skinnier guy. The heavier or more rounded guys should go for the less textured tweeds and the less structured soft tweed jackets.
Tweed traditionally comes in muted earthy and autumnal colours which suit men with warm and muted colouring. Keep the warm muted colouring with shirts and jumpers to complement the look such as a cream shirt or orange jumper.
But don’t worry if your colouring is not warm and muted, there are some tweeds out there in bolder brights and cooler colours such as blues. Or if you already have a tweed jacket in a warm colour, just team it with cooler shades of pinks and blues to add more contrast and brightness.
The Everyday Suit
If you decide on your normal dark suit, here are some tips on how to keep warm in your suit:
A tie is optional but this time you may want to consider one as it will provide some warmth around your neck. Just wearing a scarf with your suit can also take the chill off, plus it can look debonair.
Layering is key – wear a vest under your shirt and consider a waistcoat or a fine cashmere wool sleeveless jumper under your jacket.
Accessorise with leather gloves and a felt trilby hat to keep those hands and head warm.
And if the weather is really set for lower temperatures, wear a light coloured coat or trench coat.
Check out our How to Spice up your Suit – Part 1 – Eclipse Magazine article for tips on how to take the office look out of your style.
Shoes and socks
Traditionally brogues are worn with tweed but can equally look good with the everyday suit. Plus they are great for walking on soggy grass, after all this hardy shoe came from soggy origins.
Originating in Scotland and Ireland, it started as a heavy untanned leather with perforations which were not for decoration but to allow water to drain from the shoes whilst walking through bogs and other wetlands. It became a country walking and sports shoe when the gentry saw the benefits.
Again another way to add personality and brighten your outfit is with a pair of colourful/patterned socks.
What to Wear to the Winter Festivals
The main winter festivals are:
The Great Yorkshire Chase held in January
Lincoln Handicap held in March
For the Ladies, we Say…
Chances are, the weather will be cold and chilly (definitely for the Great Yorkshire Chase in January) and most of the time you’ll be keeping snug and warm in a coat or jacket whilst watching the races. So it will be your coat attracting all the attention and for style your outerwear becomes the fashion priority.
If you reckon you’ve figured out the perfect style combination of what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse, then you’ll be sure to choose a cheerful colour such as reds/oranges for your coat, or for a more subtle style, go for bold colours in accessories to brighten up a neutral coat.
Keep warm and stylish in the favourite fabric of any winter racing event – TWEED. Tweed doesn’t have to be conservative as many fashion brands have picked up the tweed baton and created colourful and fashionable suits, dresses and coats.
Other fabric favourites are tartan, houndstooth and block colour wool, along with leather, suede and faux fur.
Accessories are key in dressing up an outfit; they add a touch of individuality and will pull the whole outfit together. Plus it’s a great way to update an existing wardrobe or add colour to a neutral coloured winter coat.
Although hats are not required, they can help to keep you warm. Choose colourful berets, felt fedoras and faux furs.
This is where you should splash out on colour but choose wisely. The right colour will lift your complexion giving a more youthful glow whilst the wrong colour can drain and age you. Luckily scarves come in an array of hues so it should be easy to find a shade to suit your colouring.
Don’t be afraid to add another print in to the mix, it creates interest, and prevents your outfit from becoming too matchy matchy. After all we don’t want to look as though we tried too hard to look this good.
Your handbag has to be of course stylish but also practical; after all it has to carry all your racing essentials. The best styles are those which will free your hands to hold that glass of champagne and to wave your horse past the finishing line. Shoulder bags are ideal and can be worn on the shoulder or across the body if you really mean business. A large size bag is very handy to carry gloves, scarves and even sunglasses if the sun does decide to shine. The bag is another way you can add a flash of colour to an outfit.
Boots are a great option for the winter weather. They keep feet and legs warm on a chilly racing day (plus you could even sneak on a pair of socks and no one will know). Plus heels on boots can be lower and chunkier without losing points on style – great when you are standing on your feet all day.
Ankle boots are perfect for both cold and milder days. Just add thicker tights and a pair of socks if the weather is cold. Also it gives you an opportunity to wear block coloured or patterned tights to brighten up your outfit.
Colourful leather gloves are an elegant accessory to an outfit and also will provide warmth. Match or contrast the colour with your handbag, hat or shoes; it doesn’t matter as the colours will make an impact.
For the Men, We Say…
The weather will be chilly so go for a tweed suit (as seen above) and a smart overcoat.
Experienced winter racegoers will emphasise how cold it can get when you spend the day outdoors, and this is where a warm overcoat will pay dividends. Go for thick wool or a technical fabric that will withstand rain and wind. This is a good alternative to keep warm for those who know what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse, preferring to wear a normal everyday suit rather than tweed. But if you like tweed and want to be extra cosy then make sure it is large enough to fit comfortably over your tweed suit.
A bright colour will make a statement for big occasions, while more neutral tones will blend in with any occasion and match most suits.
A hat will keep your head warm and add a dapper touch to your style. Go for the flat cap/bakers boy cap or a felt trilby hat. Flat caps complement a tweed suit and trilby an overcoat, but this isn’t a set rule.
Keep warm but also add a pop of colour to your outfit with a wool scarf. If you are wearing a plain neutral coat then this is a way to introduce a pattern and a bright colour. If you are wearing tweed or a patterned coat, then bring out one of the colours in the pattern. It doesn’t have to be the same shade and it doesn’t have to be the dominant colour in the pattern.
An alternative shoe to consider when deciding what to wear to Doncaster Racecourse, is the brogue, a smart boot providing more warmth and also more protection if you encounter any muddy puddles.
Karen Grace studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is Eclipse Magazine’s Fashion & Beauty Editor.
You can read more of Karen’s fashion advice at: www.frumpytofunky.com
For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on [email protected]