The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated race events in the National Hunt racing calendar. The Festival spans four days of world-class racing (notably the final day Cheltenham Gold Cup). Not to mention a gilt-edged opportunity to flaunt your sartorial elegance, thanks to a far more relaxed dress code than at most other major race events. Read on for Huntsman’s form guide on what to wear to Cheltenham Races.
After the 2021 Cheltenham Festival was held behind closed doors, anticipation will be sky-high this year as racegoers eagerly anticipate its reopening to the public. With The Festival coinciding with St Patrick’s Day, expect the normally boisterous atmosphere and the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ for the opening race to be more exuberant than ever. Now, allow us to impart some Cheltenham Festival sartorial tips to get you race-ready.
The dress code for the Cheltenham Festival is more open to interpretation than, say, at Royal Ascot. In fact, there is no strict dress code. However, some rules do still apply. For instance, gentlemen must wear suits or similar in the Club Enclosure, restaurants and hospitality facilities. There are also some noteworthy Cheltenham Festival trends to bear in mind, not to mention the unpredictable March weather, to ensure the going is good.
The main takeaway here is that tweed and flannels are the perfect race day companions. A tweed hacking jacket teamed with moleskin trousers or corduroys are a popular choice at Cheltenham. But here are some more Cheltenham Festival fashion mainstays, from head to toe, that you’d be well-advised to add to your pre-race wardrobe. These must-have items will ensure you enjoy the best possible experience at this year’s festival.
Swap that cumbersome umbrella for a good quality hat on race day. A brown snap-brim fedora or felt trilby are traditional racing options, but a woollen flat cap or Baker Boy cap offers a warmer, more versatile alternative.
Given how changeable the weather can be in March, a reliable overcoat is essential. Although a classic Crombie or Chesterfield is most popular, a raglan sleeve overcoat, for comfortable wear over a sports coat, in wool or cashmere and a neutral tweed is a winning choice.
Keep warm and add a pop of colour to your outfit with a high-quality cashmere scarf that complements your choice of tweed. A pair of leather gloves will also keep your hands warm for counting your winnings.
A dapper tweed jacket is practically mandatory at Cheltenham Festival. Not only will it provide much-needed warmth, but a tweed sport coat is a perfect opportunity to infuse texture, pattern and personality.
For maximum impact, with minimal effort, a pocket square is certain to add some extra verve and flair to your race day outfit. Be bold, be daring, but whatever you do, be sure it doesn’t match your tie.
A high-quality cashmerillo or flannel shirt in a subtle, muted tone is likely to be your best bet on race day. Not only are they softer, but they’re also warmer than a standard cotton shirt; perfect for a full day of trackside entertainment.
Whilst a tie or bowtie isn’t obligatory, the addition of one will certainly round off your statement look. A knitted wool or silk tie is sure to add colour, texture, and style to your Cheltenham Festival ensemble.
If the mercury really plummets, an extra layer of warming yet breathable knitwear would be well-advised. A fine cashmere or merino jumper provides insulation and is lightweight enough to fit beneath your jacket.
If you haven’t opted for a full suit for your visit to The Festival, you’ll need a smart, well-fitted pair of trousers to contrast your tweed jacket. A moleskin, flannel or cord trouser offers a practical and sophisticated solution.
Find the perfect race day attire at Huntsman.