What to Wear to the Races

June 26, 2009

Daily Digest

What to Wear to the Races

It’s that time of year again ladies. Confused with what’s in your wardrobe between Festivals, Wimbledon and the Races, Ascot 2009 has come and gone already so it’s time to find out what to wear to the Races.

Knee length dresses

Cocktail, knee length or just below the knee length dresses are the etiquette for Race Day. Don’t commit a races faux pas by wearing a full length dress – save your long dresses for black tie events please. WAG Coleen McLoughlin wore a full length, silk maxi dress to Aintree this year which probably had the horsey set tut-tutting into their G&T’s.

There are so many cocktail dresses out there to choose from this season. And it’s perfect timing to shop for them too as the summer sales have just started.

Take this turquoise blue dress from Oasis  (€12 in the sale, size 12 and upwards) which has a removable black feather on the shoulder and is cinched in at the waist. Wear it with this statement peacock themed hat from Chica, black shoes and a black clutch.

To give you more inspiration for what to wear to the Races check out model and Britain’s Next Top Model presenter Lisa Snowden pictured here (left) attending Ascot 2009 in a pink coloured dress and purple hat. Also see the winner of the ” Best Dressed Person” competition at Galway Races 2007, Sinead Donneely, who wore a cream Temperley dress with gold stud embellished neckline and a vintage hat. She is pictured here (centre of the centre image) with the 2007 Best Hat winner (left) and runner up, Best Dressed Person (they are very politically correct in Galway you know!).


Peacock Twirl Headpiece, Chica €175

This unusual peacock themed hat from Chica is hand crafted by designer Ronnie Ryan and made with authentic peacock feather hackle and schlappen beaded feathers. If a hat is your statement piece, keep your dress in a block (mono) colour to keep all eyes on the hat.

Accessorise your bags and shoes in line with the colours in the rest of your outfit. For example, you could wear a purple dress and shoes paired with a mustard coloured hat and mustard oversized clutch.

Hat hire in Ireland is limited though. Two such hat hire shops that are on our radar are Foxrock Fillies and Mad Hatter.


A fascinator is a headpiece worn on the hair and commonly made with feathers, flowers and/or beads.  They came back into fashion in 2008 when Sarah Jessica Parker wore a green Philip Treacy design to the Sex and the City world premiere in London.

We’ve also seen them a lot at weddings in recent years, worn by younger women who like to leave wearing hats to the older female wedding guests.

To find your perfect fascinator try Debenhams which has a great selection, as has EBay.

For those of you who don’t want to go down the hat or fascinator route, opt for beautifully coiffed hair or an elegant up-do.

What we have to look forward to in the racing calendar:

Irish Derby Festival

Saturday 27 June: Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare Most Stylish Hat competition – Win €2000 to spend at Kildare Village.

Sunday 28 June: Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare Most Stylish Lady competition –Judged by Amber Le Bon. Win €5000 to spend at Kildare Village.

Galway Races Monday 27 July – Sunday 2 August

Ladies Day at Galway Races 2009 is on Thursday August 30 which is when the Best Dressed Person competition is held. To the rest of us it’s the Best Dressed Lady competition.

Related articles

Race Day Dresses – any tips ?

Style City Galway – eating out, going out and shopping in Galway

Related posts:

  1. Matthew Williamson Peacock dress
  2. Launch of Matthew Williamson for H&M
  3. How to Wear the Nautical Look
  4. How to wear rolled up jeans
  5. Muse of the Month: Lily Allen
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10 Responses to “What to Wear to the Races”

  1. Angela Says:

    You’re obviously getting into the mood!

  2. Editor Says:

    Check out photos of our visit to the Irish Derby Races http://url.ie/1xmr incl pic of Clive Owen!

  3. whisty Says:

    Loving that dress.. feather shoulders are so right now! Can you imagine that with statement heels?! Delish!

  4. Tara Says:

    i love the clothes i wouldnt have come up with those combinations myself!


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