What to Wear to Newmarket Racecourse

Newmarket boasts two racecourses: The Rowley Mile and the July Course.

The Rowley Mile is dubbed the ‘Course of Champions’ and the ‘most historic stretch of turf in the entire world of sport’. Here is where the British Champions Series begins starting with the prestigious Guineas Festival at the end of April/beginning of May.

The July Course has more of a garden atmosphere with its picturesque flowers and thatched roofs, and is used in the middle of the summer season.

Newmarket’s racing season starts with The Craven Meeting in March and ends with The Dubai Future Champions meeting in October.

General Official Dress Code

Newmarket Racecourses reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone deemed to be dressed inappropriately.

Premier Enclosure & Champions Lawn

Ladies and gentlemen are encouraged to dress up smartly. A tip is to imagine you are going to a smart wedding. Most gentlemen choose to wear smart trousers, shirt and formal shoes, however if you would like to wear jeans, ensure they are dark denim only. Wearing jeans is not permitted in the hospitality areas.

Hats are not compulsory but many ladies opt to wear one.

Smart tailored shorts are acceptable in warm weather. Not permitted is fancy dress, sportswear, trainers, t-shirts, cargo shorts, ripped or torn denim or extreme attire.

Grandstand & Paddock/Garden Enclosures

Dress code is more relaxed; jeans, t-shirts and trainers are acceptable. Fancy dress is permitted but must be in good taste so as not to cause offence.

Children

The dress code also applies to children aged 16 or above. Scroll down for more detailed guides on What to Wear to Newmarket’s Main Festivals:

  • Guineas Festival
  • July Festival
  • Future Champions Meeting

What to Wear to the Guineas Festival

First off the starting post for the British Champions Series is Guineas Festival in early May.

This Festival hosts two of the five Classics of the British Flat racing season – the 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas.

Official Dress Code

Premier Enclosure

Smart occasion wear. No fancy dress, sportswear or swimwear.

For the Ladies, We Say…

Match this Classic meeting with classic dressing but add a fashionista twist of contemporary styling.

As the weather is unlikely to be roasting you have the opportunity to wear a well cut coat dress, tailored trouser/skirt suit or dress with longer sleeves.

Use interesting accessories to spice up a more classic ensemble and to soften the cut of formal tailoring.

The Headpiece

Most racegoers tend not to wear a hat at the Guineas Festival so do not plan your headwear as the centrepiece of your outfit. Instead of a hat, add a sprinkle of colour to your hair with bejewelled and stylish hair decorations.

If you do love a hat, keep it toned down and aim for elegant but understated, carrying through the brighter velvets or felt from the winter season or making an early foray into the more summery sinamay and silk. Avoid furs, feathers and flamboyancy!

The Handbag

The weather can be unpredictable this time of year, so take an oversized handbag in a summery shade to carry all your racing essentials such as scarf, gloves, umbrella and sunglasses.

Shoes & Tights

Forget about bare legs – the wind can be bitter at this time of year still and it’s too early for a tan to look natural (unless you are at Aintree)! Flesh-coloured tights are your friend, and pop a spare pair in your bag in case you ladder them.

Unless you’re happy to endure a day on heels, avoid stilettos. Although most of your walking will not be on grass, the parts that you do encounter are likely to be soft at this time of year, so chunkier heels or wedges will help you avoid that sinking feeling.

Colourful ankle boots are a great transitional piece and do not look out of place in the cold or warmer weather. Wear with a pair of socks or thick tights if the day turns out to be during a cold spell and with thin tights (or bare legs) if the weather warms up. They always add an edginess to a tailored or floaty dress.

Men – What to Wear to the Guineas Festival

This is an occasion where the grey or navy suit is frequently seen.

We Say…

If you want to sartorially stand out in the sea of greys and blues, go for a light tweed jacket/suit if the weather is chilly or an early season blazer if the weather is warmer.

The Shirt and Tie

If you do decide on the grey or navy suit, brighten it up with a coloured or pattern shirt and/or tie.

A tie is not obligatory for the Guineas Festival but always finishes a sartorial look.

Wearing a tie or not, add a pocket square for a flamboyant touch. Remember it should never exactly match the tie.

See our article on How to Spice Up Your Suit for further ideas.

The Trilby Hat

Although some may be in evidence, the Guineas Festival is considered by most too early to sport a traditional white Panama. Opt instead for a camel or navy coloured straw or felt trilby, even if the day is a scorcher. Save the Panama for later in the season.

Shoes and Socks

For a classic look, black Oxford shoes are worn with the navy or grey suit, but for a modern bolder look opt for brown in either Oxford or Derby style.

White trainers do give a youthful edge but remember trainers are NOT permitted in the hospitality areas, Premier Enclosure and Champions Lawn.

If you decide to wear a tweed jacket or suit, go for smart brogues.

Flash a pop of colour and personality with a pair of colourful or patterned socks.

What to Wear to the Moet & Chandon July Festival

Hosted at the picturesque July Course with its setting of thatched roofs, flowers, lawns and hopefully glorious sunshine, Newmarket’s July Festival brings out a romantic garden party atmosphere with many racegoers enjoying picnics in the car park before and after the racing (please note it is not permitted to take food and drink into the Premier, Grandstand or paddock Enclosures).

Official Dress Code for the July Festival

Premier Enclosure:

Guests are encouraged to dress smartly.

Male racegoers often wear smart trousers, collared shirt and formal shoes.

Ladies are encouraged to wear a hat.

There is no formal restriction on wearing jeans, however they are rarely seen. If you do wear jeans please ensure they are dark denim only and should not be frayed, torn or ripped.

No sportswear or sleeveless vests should be worn. Sports shorts or trainers are not acceptable.

Smart tailored shorts are acceptable in particularly hot weather.

Children should be dressed smartly.

Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosure:

Guests are encouraged to dress smartly.

No sportswear or sleeveless vests should be worm.

Smart denim is acceptable but should not be frayed, torn or ripped.

Guests must not wear sports trainers.

Smart tailored shorts are acceptable in particularly hot weather.

Common sense restrictions would be those of taste and appropriateness.

Children should be dressed smartly.

Fancy Dress is permitted in the Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosure areas only. Fancy dress must be in good taste so as not to cause offence.

Newmarket Racecourses reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone deemed to be dressed inappropriately.

For the Ladies, We Say…

Used in the height of summer, Newmarket’s July Course has more of a quintessential garden atmosphere than its sibling course the Rowley Mile. However the dress guideline for this garden party is less boho chic and more formal summer wedding.

The Hat

Although headwear is not compulsory, many ladies embrace the racing atmosphere and sport a beautiful hat or fascinator. Plus it will increase your chances of winning The Style Awards Best Dressed Lady competition!

The Sandal

July is the season for sandals, but we are not talking about beach sandals, remember you are dressing as though you are going to a formal summer wedding.

The course has many grassy areas so not always good for the stiletto; wedge or chunky heels would be better.

If you do go for the stiletto, don’t forget to bring along the racegoer’s essential foldable flats for when you want to rest your feet.

The Pedicure

Ensure your feet are in tip top condition, as they will be exposed in sandals. A pedicure can give them a freshly groomed look and complete your flawless outfit.

Choose a nail polish colour to match the mood of your outfit: soft pastel shades for romance; reds, purple and burgundy for the classic sexy style; and bright colours for a bold look.

Men – What to Wear

Gentlemen are expected to wear a collared shirt with smart trousers and formal shoes for the Premier Enclosure, to complete the look.

We Say…

It is the middle of summer, so wear light coloured trousers with a light coloured shirt. If is it too hot to wear a jacket, add dapperness with a pair of braces or a waistcoat.

Tailored shorts can be worn if the weather is particularly hot, but keep the look smart with a collared shirt tucked in, especially if you are in the Premier Enclosure. Remember trainers are not allowed so wear smart loafers or desert shoes instead. Up the dapper look with a tie or jacket.

Jeans also can be worn but they must be made of dark denim and not ripped, torn or frayed. Again they must be worn with a collared shirt and NO trainers. Tuck the shirt in for a more formal look.

 

The Shirt

Your shirt will be the most on display so here’s your chance to show off your fashion flair with something different to the white or pale blue shirt. Go wild with pattern and bold with colour.

Maybe wild patterns and bold colours are not your sartorial taste, you can still stand out from the crowd of white and pale blue shirts with more subtle patterns and softer colours.

Gentlemen’s Day Style Awards

Jacket and tie is optional but will complete a polished look, especially if you are going to enter the Gentlemen’s Day Style Awards.

Keep cool in a linen suit in neutral shades, bright white or pastel colours of blue and pink. Wear with a crisp white shirt for a classic look or a patterned shirt for a more contemporary style.

If wearing a navy or grey suit, choose a colourful and patterned shirt to jazz it up.

Suits are not compulsory, so dare to dazzle in a colourful summer blazer. Don’t dim the dapper light with a white shirt, keep it shining with a bold contrasting colour or a tonal shade. Wear with chinos. Dark blue or brown chinos always looks great with colourful blazers, but you can also wear chinos in a lighter shade to the blazer, the same colour as the shirt, or another contrasting colour – depending how bold you are.

July can be hot, possibly even too hot for a jacket. A sartorial alternative would be to just wear a waistcoat.

Accessory tips: add individuality with a Panama or raffia hat, sunglasses and/or a pocket square; and if you wear glasses, get a pair with colourful rims that match your jacket.

The Slip On Shoe

Slip into comfort and style with a pair of smart soft loafers or other slip on styles such as the smart monk shoe. These are ideal for the summer suits and easy to wear with or without socks.

Going for Gold and at the end of the Flat racing season is The Newmarket Gold Season which includes two of their biggest Festivals – The Cambridgeshire Meeting at the end of September and Future Champions Day in early October.

What to Wear to The Cambridgeshire Meeting

Dress Code – as per the General Dress Code at the top of this article

The weather could still be warm at the end of September but probably won’t be sweltering.

For the Ladies, We Say…

You could still wear that summer dress but definitely don’t make your jacket or cardigan an afterthought.

Make sure it complements your dress, as you may end up wearing it all day.

Take a pair of tights just in case the weather turns chilly.

A trouser suit allows you to make a last minute choice on wearing a jumper, blouse or camisole underneath, depending on the weather that day.

The Headpiece

Hats are optional and most racegoers tend not to wear one to this festival. If you do opt for headwear, go for a headband, fascinator or a plain hat such as the fedora.

For the Men, We Say…

The dress code for the Premier Enclosure is collared shirt and smart trousers, but you probably are going to need a jacket for this time of the year.

Opt for a suit or blazer although avoid linen, as it is too late in the season. A waistcoat not only adds style but also an extra layer of warmth.

How to win the Guineas, Newmarket Guineas Festival 2016

What to Wear to Future Champions Day.

Although this event is in October, it is still a main flat racing meeting and the highlight of the Gold Season with many racegoers wearing showstopping outfits, especially for Autumn Ladies Day.

Official Dress Code for Dubai Future Champions Day

Premier Enclosure:
  • Guests are encouraged to dress smartly.
  • Male racegoers often wear smart trousers, collared shirt and formal shoes.
  • Ladies are encouraged to wear a hat.
  • There is no formal restriction on wearing jeans, however they are rarely seen. If you do wear jeans please ensure they are dark denim only and should not be frayed, torn or ripped.
  • Sports shorts or trainers are not acceptable.
  • Children should be dressed smartly.
Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosure:
  • Guests are encouraged to dress smartly.
  • No sportswear or sleeveless vests should be worn.
  • Smart denim is acceptable but should not be frayed, torn or ripped.
  • Guests must not wear sports trainers.
  • Common sense restrictions would be those of taste and appropriateness.
  • Children should be dressed smartly.

Fancy Dress is permitted in the Grandstand & Paddock and Garden Enclosure areas only. Fancy dress must be in good taste so as not to cause offence.

Newmarket Racecourses reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone deemed to be dressed inappropriately.

For the Ladies, We Say…

Go for a layering to keep warm. Still opt for the summer bright colours rather than the autumnal shades.

A trouser suit is a good bet as it allows you to make a last minute choice on either 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.

 

The Hat

Hats are optional and most racegoers tend not to wear one (except on Autumn Ladies Day). If you do decide to go for it, aim for something neat such as a pill box, cloche or beret in felt, wool or tightly woven straw. It is too early for fur.

Autumn Ladies Day Style Awards

At the Ladies Style Awards most entrants do wear hats, as they complete a raceday look. They are not the flimsy and delicate style of hats worn in the summer, but they can still make a statement through the bold choice of colour and/or design.

The Shoes

For shoes, unless you’re happy to endure a day on heels, avoid stilettos. Although most of your walking will not be on grass, the parts that you do encounter are likely to be soft at this time of year, so chunkier heels and wedges will help you avoid that sinking feeling.

Opt for full shoes rather than sandals or peep toes, as this time of year could be wet and cold.

Heeled ankle boots and shoe boots are a great transitional piece and do not look out of place in the cold or warmer weather. Wear with a pair of socks or thick tights if the day turns out to be during a cold spell and with thin tights if the weather warms up. They always add an edgy glamour to an outfit.

The Leather Glove

Colourful leather gloves are an elegant accessory to an outfit whether you are wearing a coat, jacket or just an autumn dress. Match or contrast the colour with your handbag, hat or shoes; it doesn’t matter, as the colours will make an impact.

Men – What to Wear at Future Champions Day

Mainly gentlemen will be wearing dark suits but autumn blazers will also fit the bill for this time of year.

We Say…

Blazers allow you to be more sartorially daring with bright colours and bolder patterns. Even though it is October, it is really too early to be wearing those heavy winter coats and jackets. Instead 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.

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