From Runway to Racetrack: The Intersection of Fashion and Horse Racing

When it comes to horse racing, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Well, most people would say the adrenaline rush of the races and the exciting betting, but all of this is wrapped into a fashion package that comes with the sport.

Horse racing started as a sport reserved for the elite (wealthy people) and most of them turned up at events wearing their most special attire just to impress the public. This got well embedded into the roots of the sport, and nowadays it is the only sport where big racing events have tight dress codes, and you cannot turn up with trainers or casual hoodies.

Fashion and horse racing always go together. It is just like horse racing and betting. You cannot go to a prestigious horse racing event without looking stylish and classy, just like you cannot place a horse racing bet without observing the best horse racing odds.

Still, we are interested more about why the Sport of Kings and the fashion industry share such a tight connection, and in this article, we will dive deeper into the fashion part of the sport.

How Did Fashion Come to Horse Racing?

When most forms of horse racing activities required an aura of respectability in the early days, venues would have required spectators to maintain a level of decorum. Keep in mind that gambling was not previously regarded as a respectable pastime. Of course, we now have rules and safeguards in place to protect bettors, making it a risk-free form of entertainment.

However, there was a period when gaming drew a shadier crowd. Horse racing was given a prestige that made it more acceptable to attend horse racing events by establishing dress rules and ethical norms. 

Furthermore, as competition increased, it became increasingly difficult to obtain a decent racehorse. This meant that owners would be able to afford to buy one. Owning a racehorse, especially a winner, came with a certain amount of status. 

Modern racing enclosures are occupied by the industry’s elite, and viewers at major events will pay a premium to get admission to these areas. Part of the pleasure is getting dressed up for the event.

Haute Couture and Horse Racing

Haute couture and horses just seem to go together. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which are more practical than you may think. 

A variety of factors have influenced racetrack dress standards. In certain circumstances, venues may have imposed a dress rule on their visitors, whilst in others, it is more a question of peer pressure. The prestige of belonging to the select few who have access to the VIP sections has also played a key impact. 

Because fashion is so important in horse racing, most individuals opt to wear their particular attire to the races. The idea is to be a member of an affluent society and to flaunt your affluence via your clothing.

What to Wear at the Races?

With so much competition on the racetracks both for horses and who has the best outfit, most people wonder what to wear at the races.

It is like going to a party where you don’t want to look over or underdressed, just to avoid weird eye contact and go with the masses. Well, choosing your outfit for the races isn’t that difficult, and you only need to follow certain rules.


Anyone planning to attend a horse racing event in the near future should be aware of the appropriate apparel to wear ahead of the big day, as well as the history surrounding such a unique ritual and all the newest trends.

All male participants are asked to dress smartly, which might include a complete suit in navy, black, or white hues with matching trousers, nice shoes, and even suitable jewelry.

Wearing more casual apparel, such as shorts and trainers, is sometimes regarded as undesirable, regardless of the ticket you have for a horse event.

As a personal decision and possibly depending on the weather, some gentlemen may complete their dress with a tie or blazer. One of the previous customs was that male participants had to wear tweed, but that has since been modified to an optional choice.

Those resigning in the upper VIP sections are usually required to dress smartly, which can often include tuxedos or even top hats for those in corporate, which is certainly one of the more traditional methods for those aiming to go for a look that is truly retro fit and a nod to the classic horse racing competitions from previous centuries.


The annual Ladies’ Day at the races, which encourages female attendees to don a glamorous getup that includes a vivid costume and a headpiece that may generally be a ribbon, hat, or a flower of some form, is one of the longest traditions that has remained a favorite among racing enthusiasts.

This is one of the sport’s most distinguished and well-loved traditions among racing fans because it allows the women to get creative with their outfits and dress to impress, with this annual event being one of the many unique aspects that make attending horse racing competitions such a memorable attraction.


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