The ultimate no-no of the horse racing season is wearing the wrong thing. There are many rules of etiquette to adhere to when it comes to fashion choices that for those new to the races, it may seem a little daunting. Each meet will have a different dress code, so make sure you do your homework first.

To help you out, we’ve put together a handy guide to keep you on the right track this racing season.

What to Wear: Ladies

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Pro tips:

  1. Choose well-cut dresses, skirts and pants appropriate to daytime. Leave the midriffs, sequins and shorts for evenings or lunch with friends. The shape of the silhouette is everything.
  2. Bra straps and visible panty lines are a huge no-no. Get organised and pre-plan with the right coloured undergarments and styling accessories. Styling tape, bra converters, and nude-tone underwear are a great consideration before putting on any outfit.

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise

Accessories are a great way to bring your personality into your outfit. One good tip to remember is that your accessories don’t have to be big and flamboyant, sometimes less is more. Your goal is to complement your outfit and achieving that polished look and you should feel comfortable wearing it.

Pro tips:

  1. Race days you should always wear a headpiece of some kind, whether it’s a hat or a fascinator. Consider the season and choose something appropriate.
  2. It isn’t necessary to wear too much bling or jewellery on the day as your shoes, handbag and headpiece should be enough.
  3. Choosing the right hat is a tricky business.  Take your outfit along with you when choosing a headpiece to make it easier to match the tones, textures and colours.
  4. If you have a flowing dress, add shape and a pop of colour easily with a belt at the waist.


Race day is an all-day affair and can involve walking and standing for long periods, often in the grass so your shoes must be chosen wisely. Keep them comfy and avoid hobbling out of the racecourse with your handbag in one hand and your heels in another. Never a good look.

Pro tips:

  1. Break your shoes in before wearing them. Don’t wear brand new shoes. Add gel in-soles on high heels to help cushion the feet.
  2. Wear shoes with a thicker heel or a classy summer wedge that will prevent you from sinking into the grass.
  3. Always carry a pair of fold-out ballet flats if you’re wearing heels that could potentially cause issues. The last thing you want is sore feet to shorten the long day.


Natural makeup will enhance your best features, don’t be too heavy-handed with the makeup, it can get hot in the sun and no one wants to appear as if they’re melting.

Pro tips:

  1. Waterproof mascara and long last lipsticks are your best friends.
  2. Instagram looks are cool and everything, but try to tread lightly with the highlighter. Less is more.

What to Wear: Gentlemen

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With all eyes on your clothes, this is the time of the year to dress to impress. And while dressing boldly for the races is encouraged, there are specific rules to follow. Always go for a suit and keep the styling classic. You can mix up suit however you like, as long as you keep the look interesting. Don’t forget about your shoes, either. A pair of brogues or loafers is an excellent option.

Pro tips:

  1. Be sure to check the dress code of each day before attending.
  2. Keep things suitably stylish and smart, especially shoes.
  3. Make sure your facial hair is well-groomed, especially if you’re rocking a beard.
  4. Accessorise with pieces like lapel pins, bow ties or pocket squares.

Remember, dress accordingly for the occasion and the weather and don’t forget the sunscreen. On the day, don’t forget to place a bet or two and have some fun! Drinking can be a part of the experience too, but keep it to a minimum and pace yourself. After all, appearing drunk is the fastest way to ruin a gorgeous outfit.

For more information on this year’s racing calendar, visit Auckland Racing Club’s website.

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The Last Fashion Bible is an interactive hub of fashion and lifestyle-related video content, featuring a mix of both international and local runway shows, editorials, interviews, how-tos and much more.

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