What to Wear to York Racecourse, What to Wear to York, York Racecourse, York Races, York Ebor

What to Wear to York Racecourse

Close to the historical city of York in North Yorkshire, York Racecourse holds racing and music events from May to its October Finale. Its most famous racing festival is the York Ebor.

Official Dress Code

The County Stand (premier enclosure)

Gentlemen – formal dress code of collared shirt, jacket and tie. Short sleeved shirts, bow ties, cravats and dress shorts are also acceptable within the dress code.

Ladies – no formal dress code, but most choose to dress up. Think ‘wedding guest’ attire.

The Grandstand and Paddock

No formal dress code and feel free to dress as you wish and feel comfortable.

However, taking the lead from the County Stand dress code, many racegoers in this enclosure do like to use a day at the races as an excuse to get glammed up.

Fancy dress (within bounds of decency) is not unusual but please ensure it is family friendly.

The Clocktower Enclosure

This is a relaxed area in which to enjoy picnics with family and friends whist watching the racing.

It is their most relaxed enclosure and they suggest comfortable, practical, weather appropriate clothing and footwear, as the area is outside and therefore exposed to the elements.

What to Wear to York Ebor Festival.

The Festival runs over four days with the feature race on the final day – The York Ebor, the oldest, most famous race at York and Europe’s richest Flat handicap. Step up to the challenge and show off your summer fashion flair.

With prizes for the Best Dressed Racegoer, Smartest Headgear and Best Dressed Couple, this is a festival to go to town and show off your fashion style whether it be glamorously flamboyant or understated elegance.

For the Ladies, We Say…

Ebor Festival will be buzzing and filled with enthusiastic racegoers who love to strut their stuff. This is the place to show off your style, with plenty of accessories, fake tan, hair and make-up framing your designer or high-end dress and towering high heels.

The Hat

Top it all off with a show-stealing hat to enter one of the daily Best Dressed Racegoer competitions, which take place on the Ebor Fashion Lawn designed by Rebecca Marriott – complete with a catwalk. The winner on Ladies’ Day will also be crowned ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’.

The Handbag

For the ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’ competition, your hat is the main attraction so choose a small to medium sized handbag in a colour to complement your outfit rather than a statement oversized bag. Clutch bags are popular and chic.


The Ebor ladies are not afraid of heights and many wear towering heels. But be prepared and take a pair of foldable flats for when your feet really need a rest.

The Tan

Take your favourite feature and flaunt it fabulously – shoulders (like the glamorous lady in the above photo), legs, backs, midriffs – whichever bit of skin you are most proud of, apply fake tan and get it out on show.

Before the raceday, the York fashionista 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 Sunglasses

The York Ebor Festival is held in the height of summer so don’t forget to accessorise with a pair of cool sunglasses.

The Cover Up

Although held in August there is no guarantee of warm weather on the day. However the ladies up north are not afraid of a little chill in the air and don’t want to cover up their beautiful outfits.

Like the lady on the right in the above photo, opt for a simple wrap which you can drape over your arms to complement your outfit when warm and then cover your shoulders when the weather cools down. Or if you’re not as hardy and do feel the cold, take a tip from the lady in the background on the left – keep warm whilst still looking stylish with a light jacket in a summery colour.

Gentlemen We Say…

Collared shirts, jacket and tie are required in the County Stand and most gentlemen go all the sartorial way wearing a suit and tie. However don’t cloud you summer’s day with a dull dark suit. Go light or bright to stand out from the crowd – like the gentleman wearing a light blue suit in the centre of the above photo and the gentleman to the left of the centre wearing a light neutral colour.

If you do wear a dark suit, check out our How to Spice up your Suit – Part 1 – Eclipse Magazine article to  take the office look out of your style.

The Linen Suit

Hopefully the month of August will be sunny and warm so keep fabrics light. Linen is not just for Glorious Goodwood and Panama hats are not uncommon here.

The gentleman in the above photo (bottom left) with his hand raised has clearly picked the winner in this race, but also the winner in the sartorial stakes with his light linen suit and Panama hat.

And how suave does the gentleman in the above photo (on the left) look in his cream linen suit, crisp white shirt and pale yellow tie?

The Shirt

For the linen suit – pale linen suits look great paired with shirts in most hues: the crisp clean look of a white shirt; an elegant tonal look with creams, ivory and beiges; a cool chic look with pastels or the statement look with bold brights.

For the business suit – 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 it with a 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.

The Tie

Gentlemen do have to wear a tie (or bow tie, cravat) in the County Stand and if you are hoping to win the ‘Best Dressed Festival Racegoer’ or be part of the ‘Best Dressed Couple’ then the choice of tie will help pull your look together.

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.

Pin Badges

Wearing a subtle yet eye-catching custom pin on the chest not only attracts the eye but also enhances or detracts attention from a certain part of the appearance, so as to achieve the beauty of clothing and pin complement each other. If you want your clothes to be very stylish and unique. Delicate and unique accessories will make people shine and impress. Liven up your hats and outfits with custom pins. Every pin is unique and it’s a conversation starter.

The Pocket Square

Do not forget the pocket square. This is one accessory which 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.

This is the best place to go wild and show your off your personality – introduce a new clashing colour to your outfit or keep it tonal, your choice.

Tailored Shorts

Tailored shorts can be worn if the weather is particularly hot but remember to tan your legs and you still have to wear a collared shirt, jacket and tie in the County Stand.

Shoes and Socks

The leather loafer manages to look smart and relaxed at the same time which makes it the ideal formal summer shoe for a raceday.

The loafer also allows 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.

The Panama Hat

As we have already mentioned, Panama hats are not uncommon here. They obviously pair nicely with linen suits and blazer, but will also add a dash of personality to an ordinary business suit.

Plus, on the practical side, it will keep the sun off your face.

August is the month to wear sunglasses and is a popular accessory in all of the enclosures.

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 races

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