Amidst all the political gloom, a reason to be cheerful. With the arrival of the Cheltenham Festival, the British social season 2019 is officially underway. Over the four days of racing, 260,000 racegoers will flock to Britain’s most prestigious race event for a quintessentially English day of racing, socialising and shopping.
Written by Vikki Measures | 13th March 2019
Cheltenham Festival: What to wear
As well as impeccably turned out horses, the finest fashion also hits the racecourse, especially on Ladies Day when this year for the first time ever the best dressed competition is open to men as well as women. A day out in the country usually means donning a pair of wellies and a waterproof, but a day at the races means dressing for both sartorial elegance and the unpredictability of the British weather. So, what should you wear to Cheltenham Festival?
Tweed: One thing’s for sure, there will be a lot of tweed at Cheltenham. The Queen and Prince Charles are particularly fond of wearing tweed ensembles at race meets, and television period dramas like Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders have made the flat cap with a tweed suit and matching waistcoat a fashion phenomenon. Tartan and tweed was splashed all over the catwalk at London Menswear Fashion Week in January, with luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren rocking the country look.
The easiest way to wear tweed is by investing in a blazer and wearing it with a cashmere jumper or silk shirt and jeans. And consider the fit you want - elegant and slim, or more robust? A long, well-cut herringbone coat looks great worn over dresses and skirts, while a shorter, Chanel-style jacket looks fantastic with jeans and a blouse. Tweeds are traditionally woven in muted colours that reflect the landscape, so colourful touches like a bright scarf, or a pair of statement shoes, make the fabric pop. www.harristweedshop.com
Flat caps and trilbies: The traditional flat cap is made of Classic tweed or Heritage tweed from British tweed mills, whilst the narrow-brimmed trilby is traditionally made from felt and has a feather attached pin on the side. Worn for traditional country sports, classic flat caps are now seen as a stylish accessory to any look, anywhere. www.olney-headwear.co.uk
Jackets: If it’s style and durability you’re after, opt for the iconic wax Barbour jacket. The belted version is chic enough for city wear, but hardy enough to brave the elements in the countryside. If your Barbour needs a bit of love, head to the Barbour Duke Street store in London for in-store re-waxing. www.outdoorandcountry.co.uk
Boots: Footwear has to be practical in the country, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Dubarry leather and suede boots are the Rolls Royce of the boot world whilst brogues are the shoe of choice to wear with a tweed jacket. www.dubarry.com
Gloves: A pair in merino wool or brightly coloured leather will keep your hands cosy whatever the weather and add the finishing touch to any race day look. Cornelia James have been making gloves at the company’s workshop in East Sussex since 1946 and by Royal Appointment since 1978. Their gloves show you mean business whether you’re a townie or a country girl. Or Lady Gaga; the flamboyant singer donned a velvet pair during a recent concert in Vegas. www.corneliajames.com
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