SHARE
Karen Millen x Royal Ascot

Ladies all over the UK adore heading to the races. But do you know what you’re going to wear yet?

Whether you’re excited for getting glammed up for the event but want to make your outfit really stand out, or you’re unsure about how you’re going to dress for an outdoor occasion that has a very special dress code, this guide is for you.

From royal-inspired looks and classic-races ensembles to comfort-focused styles and uber-glam outfits; dress in style and confidence with our guide to five sensational races-ready outfits…

The flawlessly feminine look

Attending the races is a longstanding and well-loved tradition in the UK — so why not embrace classic women’s fashion to complement the tone of the event?

Tara Print Jacquard Dress
Tara Print Jacquard Dress £169 from Coast. Strike a chic silhouette in the Tara Print Jacquard Dress. Cut to flatter in a floral jacquard with a fitted bodice and statement frill skirt, it’s a head-turning look that’s sure to make you stand out. This ruffle dress measures 94.5cm from side neck point to hem.

Opt for timeless prints that evoke a feminine appeal — floral, chintz and polka dot are perfect — and look for these patterns in elegant dress styles with modest hems and necklines. Midi, empire and sun dresses are particularly well-suited to this type of event and will allow you to exude elegance while feeling all-day comfort. Sweetheart necklines can infuse any dress with an air of feminine sophistication, while capped-sleeve shoulders, and even long-sleeves, allow you to keep your shoulders elegantly covered — a dress code requirement at some races.

Why not opt for a block colour bandeau dress or strapless maxi dress and pair your choice with a printed jacket? Polish your look by adding simple jewellery pieces and neutral-shade heels for a beautiful outfit, then finish the ensemble with a flower-trim hat to clinch a classic look fit for the UK’s finest racing events.

High glamour at every race

For many ladies, a day at the races is their opportunity to glamourize their look. If you want to channel a knock-out style that oozes female glamour, consider every aspect of your outfit and make sure they all work towards the same goal.

Alicia Knife-Pleat Midi Dress
Alicia Knife-Pleat Midi Dress £195 from Reiss – The aquamarine Alicia midi dress is cut from high-shine satin with a sleeveless crossover top and a knife-pleat skirt that will move beautifully as you walk. The ideal plus-one come event season and the kind of dress that works best with a simple pair of nude heels and a dash of jewellery.

Anything that takes your ensemble ‘up a level’ and makes it different from the standard day-dress will earn you points in the glamour department. Go for one-shoulder styles, ruche embellishments, figure-hugging fabrics, and asymmetric hemlines — these are all popular dress designs worn by stars on the red carpet. Bright and bold block colours are on-trend for SS18 so bear this in mind when opting for a dress shade — scarlets, violets, fuchsias, and tangerines are good calls. Offering elegantly bare shoulders and stunningly feminine silhouettes, Bardot’s and bodycons make excellent glamour-focused dress options, while bodices with lace or diamante embellishments create an aura of luxury.

Finalise your glamourous races look with a gorgeous fascinator, clutch bag and stiletto heels with a pointed toe to elongate your legs.

An alternative take

Just because attending the races is a tradition, doesn’t mean you have no creativity when it comes to preparing an outfit.

Once, the rules around race-day dress codes were so strict. However, attendees in 2018 have a lot more scope to bring their own style to the day. If you want an alternative but equally on-trend look for this year’s race season, try a jumpsuit. Go for a bold, block colour and make sure to accessorise it with statement jewellery, platform heels and extravagant headwear to make sure it fits in with the races crowd. Jacquard fabrics, peplum designs and asymmetric necks help to elevate the mainstream-fashion jumpsuit into races-ready ranks, while a flamboyant feather-bow hat will act as your outfit’s seal of race-day approval.

Harlem Bandeau Jumpsuit
Harlem Bandeau Jumpsuit £99 from Coast – Channel effortless chic in the Harlem Bandeau Jumpsuit. Cut to fit and flatter with a bardot neckline, it’s the perfect piece to dress up or down for any occasion

Of course, you could also brush off the traditional races dress custom for a gorgeous skirt and top outfit. High-waisted pencil skirts offer an enviable outline and formal appeal that blends beautifully with the tone of the racing season. Go for white or black and pair it with a ruche-sleeve fitted blouse in magenta or wrap-around top with frill embellishments in cobalt to get on board with the colour-blocking trend for a flawless races-ready palette.

Stamped with royal approval

Lace fabrics, voluminous skirts and midi styles all help you take the royal route when dressing for the races in 2018.

Karen Millen x Royal Ascot

Look for high-neck, long-sleeve designs in beautiful pastel shades, and make sure the hemline falls on your knee or below. Subtle and intricate floral embellishments are also popular choices to capture the royal look, while tulle skirts and modest headwear that matches your dress perfectly are essential to harnessing the style. A chemise dress with a simple short jacket also works wonderfully, as does a plain A-line skirt with a three-quarter sleeve blouse.

Court shoes with a medium sized heel in suede and a small, over-the-shoulder bag will add to the elegant luxury vibe you’re going for, and don’t forget your head accessories — anything from an oversized bow hat to a floral organza headband will perfectly conclude your royal races outfit.

The comfort-first trend

Perhaps you attend races often and wish to strike the perfect balance between comfort and elegance. If so, take into account every part of your look to make sure you don’t miss anything that is going to cause you discomfort and taint your day.

Massey Lace V-neck Dress
Massey Lace V-neck Dress £150 from French Connection – Searching for the perfect dress for dancing? Your hunt ends with the Massey Lace V Neck Dress. A brightly coloured crochet lace mini dress, the Massey has a flattering form-fitting skirt and a cold-shoulder balloon sleeve.

Firstly, layers will allow you the opportunity to remove and add clothing throughout the event without jeopardising the appeal of your outfit. Wear a sleeveless swing dress — a famously comfortable fit — and throw over a three-quarter sleeve cropped jacket in a complementary shade. If the day calls for it, you can add a formal, tailored tweed coat with faux-fur detailing for extra warmth without looking and feeling dressed-down.

There’s no need to wear a fascinator or tight-fit hat all day either. Either go hatless — many women do now — or opt for a looser beret or fedora, instead. It’s also common to wear boots, too, which is excellent news if you fear foot pain from wearing heels or platform wedges all day. Make sure yours are smart and chic — tan and black or ideal colours, while suede is synonymous with luxe-fashion.

Going to the races is a popular pastime for many ladies across the UK — so keep this advice in mind to help you dress for the occasion in 2018.

Glitter Room Boxing Day Masquerade Glitterball at the Tropicana Beach Club - Tickets on sale now from Glitterroom.co.uk

Agree or Disagree? Leave your comments here and join the conversation