ashion is linked to horse racing probably more than it is to any other sport.
When racing was first instituted in North America, the races were informal events that took place along dirt roads with no specified areas for observation of the event. However, as racing became more popular and the dirt road races gave way to official events at racetracks, attending a day at the races became a social event.
Most of the successful owners and breeders of Thoroughbred races were not small-town farmers but members of the elite upper crust of society, and so the most grandiose fashion trends of these aristocrats became associated with the grandstands of marvelous race tracks such as Churchill Downs and Saratoga.
And of course, remember to check the odds before heading to any race: https://www.twinspires.com/betting-guides/what-do-horse-racing-odds-mean
As the times changed, however, so did the trends. The fashion of the 1870s would look very out of place at a modern racing venue. Still, there is a particular flavor to the fashion on display at the races, even today.
What should you wear to the track in 2023? Here are some tips.
Mind The Dress Code
While race tracks in North America are not as strict about dress code as certain meets in Europe (such as Royal Ascot), there are certain parts of nearly every race track where particular dress codes are required. These areas typically include certain formal pavilions, paid owners’ boxes, and upscale restaurants. Before packing your suitcase, be sure to go over your itinerary and make sure you follow all of the requirements for the locations you plan to visit.
Unless you have the financial means to pay for private box seats and curbside transportation, going to the racetrack generally involves a lot of walking. Keep this in mind when planning your footwear! High heels may look flashy, but wrenching an ankle is never fashionable.
Instead, members of any gender may want to stick to fashionable flat shoes. Leather shoes provide class and versatility in style, and they are also comfortable and durable.
Dress For Your Climate
A lot of your fashion decisions can be made by paying close attention to the local meteorologist.
A summer meet in a hot climate, such as Del Mar in Southern California, is going to involve a lot of short-sleeved shirts, spaghetti straps, and hemlines that hit above the knee. This sort of attire would not only look out of place at, say, Aqueduct’s fall meet in New York, but it would be extremely uncomfortable.
In addition to the temperature, each track has its own sense of culture, and you will want to try and get a feel for that when planning as well. For instance, the tracks in Southern California favor a modern Hollywood-esque look, while more traditional tracks such as Saratoga typically display more formal dress. An outfit for Fair Grounds in Louisiana could have a heavy Cajun flair, while Latin trends might influence your choice for Gulfstream Park in Miami, Florida.
Top It All Off
No horse racing fashion accessory is more iconic than a flashy headpiece!
It seems that as the years go by, the ladies’ hats that are seen at the racetrack get flashier and more ornate. There is a lot of variety, as well. Ladies can wear a floppy, wide-brimmed hat which can also serve to shade the face from the sun. However, if they wish to wear something smaller, or simply have a headpiece that they know will not fall off, they can choose instead to fasten a fascinator directly to their heads.
Gentlemen’s fashion can also include a variety of different headpieces. While their choices are generally less colorful, they are equally as attractive. Summer days might call for a straw boater, while a bowler or even a full top hat might be worn to a fall or winter racing meet!