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Style Advice Blog

What to wear to the Races

Posted by Joe Button on

Racing these days is as much about the fashion as it is about the horse betting and with the Autumn Racing Carnival just around the corner, men all over the country are getting ready to dress to the nines (and have an excuse to do so). The answer to what to wear to the races is pretty standard - a suit, a shirt, a tie and leather shoes - but it's the details that will make it an appropriate outfit that stands out from the crowd.

The Suit

The most important thing about the suit is that it fits perfectly. There's nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit and even more so when you're amongst a sea of men who actually know a thing or two about a well-fitted suit. Make sure the shoulders sit correctly on your shoulder blades and that it's not hanging off you otherwise you'll end up looking like a man lost in his clothes. In terms of style, skinny suits are in fashion but that doesn't mean that a regular fit one or two-button suit in classic shades like navy or charcoal won't look just as dapper. Three-piece suits are also quite popular at the races and add a touch of old fashioned charm to the outfit.

The Shirt

A simple, well cut white shirt will go well with any bold tie or waistcoat if you're going for the classic look. However, the most popular fashion statement to make with the men's racing getup in recent years has been to wear a bold coloured or patterned shirt with an equally bold tie. This look has been extremely popular especially with the younger men. If you're going for a bold colour like bright pink or purple, keep it solid. Otherwise, going for something like navy or blue checks is fashionable but still classy. If you're wearing a pinstripe suit, keep the shirt and tie simple so that your outfit doesn't look messy. As the races is traditionally a formal event, it's always a good idea to go with French cuffs and nice polished cufflinks. Ensure that your sleeve is the right length - that is, about 1/2 an inch of sleeve should be exposed below your jacket cuff. Similarly, about half an inch of collar should show above your suit jacket.

The Shoes

The most fundamental rule about shoes is that they match with your belt. Avoid wearing a brown belt and black shoes and vice versa! If you're game wear a pair of tan or brown shoes and belt, otherwise, stick to black or even patent black. Make sure that your shoes are lace up and well polished.

And now for the essential list of basic Do's & Don'ts:

  • With pocket squares, opt for silk instead of cotton
  • Make sure your pocket squares are neatly folded and pressed
  • Don't untuck your shirt, especially beneath a waistcoat if you're wearing one
  • When doing up your waistcoat, make sure to leave the bottom button undone
  • Avoid slip-on shoes
  • Make sure your suits and shirts are pressed and shoes are polished
  • Keep ties tightly knotted

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