What to wear to the races – for men

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Sallie Belton is Suit the City’s technical expert. Developing the measuring and design capability has been a critical success factor when building Suit the City. Sallie’s top tips for men dressing for the races are:


Racetracks do operate a dress code, which varies depending on the enclosure you wish to enter; you may need to wear a morning suit if you are in the Royal enclosure during Royal Ascot for example. If you are unsure of what the dress code might be, call the course in advance, they are usually more than happy to help, or see the racecourse’s website – you can often find guidelines there.


The races are a fun event, so you should avoid wearing a formal business suit if possible. Pinstripes should be avoided at all costs as they spell corporate. Business shades of grey, charcoal or navy are acceptable, but a suit in a lighter shade of blue or even brown will show real panache. Otherwise don’t be afraid to add a splash of colour to your outfit with your shirt, tie and handkerchief.

It is a wonderful opportunity to dress up, but it is equally vital to wear comfortable shoes and clothes as most of your day will be spent walking from one place to another. Make sure you whole outfit fits properly or you will not be able to relax.

Consider that you may be alternating between going out in the open and going indoors, so opt for crisp cotton shirts. As the weather becomes hotter, you should not only consider the colour of your suit but also the fabric. Why not opt for a lightweight cool wool, linen, wool or silk mix instead of heavier wools and tweeds? The perfect material is light, airy and allows great movement whilst looking smart and stylish.

If it is appropriate, a navy blazer goes well with lighter coloured trousers particularly corduroys, moleskin or chinos. Pair with a crisp white or colour co-ordinated cotton shirt and tie – mix co-ordinating rather than clashing colours.

Give yourself style kudos with a wonderful bright or flamboyant lining in your suits. It is not just the ladies who can wear colour!

If you are wearing a formal shirt, cufflinks don’t go unnoticed but avoid the ones you wear to the office and try a fun or colourful pair to get noticed!

Whatever happens, get fitted  for your suit early, you need to plan ahead: made-to-measure takes at least six weeks (four weeks if we express) and you may need final adjustments to get the perfect fit.



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