Fashion: 10 Things You’ll See At The Cheltenham Festival

It’s almost time for the Cheltenham Festival, and you know what that means: the first significant horse racing occasion of the year, and all of the whimsical, spectacular fashion that comes with it. No one knows just yet what specific looks we’ll see from the reliably stylish crowd at the Cheltenham Racecourse this March, but we may as well guess in the meantime! Here are 10 things you can expect to see in Cheltenham fashion in 2015.

Chilli, £280,


1. Fur Hats

Hats are always prominent accessories at horse races, but at Cheltenham they can look quite different from the typical costume-like hats that traditionally adorn racegoing ladies. At Cheltenham, because conditions are often chilly, it’s not uncommon to see fur (or faux-fur) hats in place of wavy, wide-brimmed pieces. Huffington Post even snapped a picture of Pippa Middleton wearing such a hat at the 2013 festival.

2. Race Day Hats

That said, you’ll still see plenty of ordinary horse racing hats. These vary in size, shape, design, colour, and pretty much everything else they could possibly vary in—the bolder, the better.

Annato, £335,

Sage, £335,
Hat photography from the collection by Rosie Olivia Millinery

3. Women’s Tweed

Again, conditions can be chilly, and layering is among the most common tips for Cheltenham Festival fashion. Many women opt for heavier fabrics like wool tweed in their outerwear.

4. Duller Colours

This is not at all to suggest that there’s anything dull or bland about fashion at this event, but it’s also not the burst of neon and pastel colours you might see at some of the races later in the year, or in the U.S. Even those women who come in pinks, yellows, or blues often wear duller shades of these colours to suit the atmosphere at Cheltenham.

5. Boots & Platforms

At some races, you’ll see photos of entire groups of women showing off stylish high heels. Well, that’s just not the most comfortable option at Cheltenham, both because of weather and because of the terrain surrounding the tracks. For that reason, winter boots and platform heels should once again be prominent.

6. Sharp-Dressed Men

This may sound obvious to anyone who’s attended the festival before, but for those who are less familiar, no this: race day fashion doesn’t apply only to female racegoers! Men dress sharply too, usually in dapper suits with hats, scarves, and fashionable outerwear of their own.

7. Trainer Fashion

Speaking of sharply dressed men, one thing to keep an eye out for at Cheltenham is fashion among the trainers. One of the race lineup previews at Betfair Betting actually provides a subtle glimpse of what to expect in this regard. Leading a post about some of the reliable racing favourites, we can see an image of Willie Mullins, a well-known trainer, wearing a chic hat and scarf combination of his own!

8. Stylish Gloves

Not to spend too much time on the point of cold conditions, but gloves are popular accessories at Cheltenham, and some of the ladies in particular have a great deal of fun with them. You’ll see gloves of varying materials in a number of colours, and some will even extend all the way up to the elbows.

9. Clutch Handbags

Gloucestershire Echo put together a lengthy slideshow of 102 accessories you may see at the Cheltenham Festival, and somewhat surprisingly clutch handbags make a strong impression. Given the focus on layering, one may assume women would prefer larger, more useful handbags. But the clutch, it seems, is seen as the more stylish option.

10. Total Wildcards

Finally, expect the unexpected! Looking at past festivals and previews of what’s to come at the 2015 event can give you some idea of what you’re going to see. But the best thing about race day fashion is that, to some extent, it’s utterly unpredictable.

Are you attending any race day events this year? Feel free to share your style tips!

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