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Show off your sense of style at the races in 2017

ladies at the horse racing

Fashion is a huge part of the race day tradition in the UK, with men and women wearing their finery and, of course, best hats for the occasion.

Most courses have a dress code for race-goers to adhere to during a festival or day of racing, but with the British weather being suitably unpredictable at any time of the year, it’s advisable to combine style with comfort for the best experience.

How to choose your outfit

It can sometimes be difficult to pick your race day dress for events such as the Breeders’ Cup, Royal Ascot or Ladies Day Cheltenham Festival – fantastic horse racing experience…, but if you’re conscious of the latest trends from hem lengths to hot colours, you’ll find the perfect garment.

According to style magazine Marie Claire, you need to consider whether the dresses you’ve already got are “either inappropriately short, impractically long or unfashionably in between” before deciding whether to splash out on something new. Think about the spring/summer 2017 trends when choosing what to sport and never go for something with a hemline that is more The Only Way is Essex than sophisticated class.

Consider shoes too, as you could be on your feet for a lot of the day unless you’re in one of the boxes. If you’re going to be walking on grass, avoid stilettos at all costs – there’s nothing worse than trying to drag your heel out of the mud all day! A mid-height wedge is a good way to go; practical, yet still stylish. Or even a nice pair of smart flats will suffice.

And do you want to go for a hat? A fascinator could be a good option if you’re not confident enough to sport a Princess Eugenie-style creation on your head. Going to a milliner such as Bundle MacLaren is the most luxurious way of picking up a tailor-made hat, but there are plenty of department stores which produce lower-quality, but still stylish, ensembles.

Where to buy your outfit

Unsurprisingly, this is largely dictated by the budget you have in mind. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a nice high-street outfit to wear, but do remember that if you think it’s stylish and on trend, there’s every chance a few other women will too.

If you’ve got a little extra cash to flash, consider going for a slightly higher-end brand like Diane von Furstenberg or even a reasonably priced designer label (think Rachel Comey), as you’ll be more likely to be the only one sporting your favourite dress.

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Most courses have a dress code for race-goers to adhere to during a festival or day of racing

Last-minute prep for the races

Your outfit is sorted, you’ve got your tickets and you’re all ready to go. So how else can you get ready for a great race day experience?

Make sure you’re up to speed with the best betting etiquette, so you can have a flutter on a horse with good form. Read this 14 top tips for Cheltenham Festival 2016 article and decide how to bet on Cheltenham 2017 before you go, so you know what you’re looking for when it comes to perusing the form guide you’ll get given on your way in. Make sure you know where you’ll be placing your bet too; there’s nothing worse than missing out because the queue’s too long and you haven’t got enough time before the race.

The most important thing of all is to enjoy it. It’s not all about the winning, but it’d definitely be fun if you win even a little bit, so choose your bets well!

All images used in this article credit: Jaguar Style Stakes | 2014 Dubai World C” (CC BY 2.0) by jaguarmena