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In March of each year as spring breaks through the frosty English ground and the tulips, narcissi, crocuses, and daffodils appear, the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire hosts the four-day Cheltenham Festival. The festival culminates into the Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse—four days of horse jumping and racing. So, if you’re off to the races next month, here’s what to wear to the Cheltenham races.

What to wear

Unlike at Royal Ascot, there is no official dress code at Cheltenham; however, the weather—and past fashions—dictate dress. Since the weather is colder, guests often wear their best coats in shades of English country tweed. Earth tones are ever popular—think rich country greens, burgundies, yellows, navy blues, teals, browns, burnt ambers, and the like.

The racecourse’s official line is that guests should dress for the weather, but many ladies still wear their best hats (fascinators—although maybe not quite as large as those worn to other horse races) and men usually wear a warm suit to impress.

For those who are going to the hospitality suites or the Club Enclosure, smart dress is absolutely recommended and fancy dress is banned from the Club Enclosure on Gold Cup Day and during the festival itself. (So, no March hen and stag dos, unfortunately.)

Champions Day (12 March 2019)

Day one of the festival is Champions Day. You can hear the famous Cheltenham roar as the event kicks off. Last year trainer Nicky Henderson’s prize horse Buveur D’Air won the Unibet Champion Hurdle, the first horse since Hardy Eustace took the title in 2004 and 2005. Don’t miss what this horse is doing this season.

Ladies Day (13 March 2019)

Last year at the Ladies Day races on the 14 March, the organisers used the hashtag #ColourMeMarch to encourage ladies to wear brighter colours. The lady who impressed the most won a slew of prizes. Last year the prizes included a spa break, a £500 free bet, a cultch bag from Fairfax Favor, a hats and headdresses workshop, a diamond necklace, a car and others.

This year ladies day is on the 13th March, so get ready! The prizes include a brand new mini one car, a Boodles necklace, and a spa break for two at The Lygon Arms, and more.

St Patrick’s Day (14 March 2019)

St Patrick’s Day is the third day of the race. On this Irish day, the Guinness Village is the main event. If you’re up for a more spirited day, this Wednesday is one not to miss.

Gold Cup Day (15 March 2019)

The final day of the races features the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Owners, racers, and jockeys compete for the sought after titles on this day and the day ends with top entertainment. On this day, everyone’s spirits are high and, hopefully, your bets will pay off.

Past guest outfits

Check out what past guests have worn to the races to see the sorts of outfits you should wear.

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We can help make your perfect outfit

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets before they run out! If you’d like the perfect custom men’s or ladies’ outfit made just for you for the races, contact our tailoring team today. We know just how to dress to impress for the Cheltenham races—and for any occasion.

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Elaine Frieman

Elaine Frieman

Writer and editor from both sides of the pond with a Master's degree in British Victorian Literature and a love of fashion. Elaine Frieman is a dual British and American citizen (with a generic American accent); she has a love of people, travel, reading, writing, food, ballet, theatre, and cultures. And who doesn't love a good suit? She spent her childhood near the rolling green Pennines in the North of England; then she relocated to sunny palm-tree-laden Florida and moved further north to the deep-South Bible belt of Georgia. She currently lives in Todmorden, England with her boyfriend Michael, after having lived in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Weiden in der Oberpfalz, Germany, and in Oldham, England. No plans to relocate any time soon.

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