Advertisement

Cheltenham racecourse: What is the dress code and why is it being eased?

Cheltenham racecourse has eased its dress code to make the races more “accessible and inclusive”  (PA)
Cheltenham racecourse has eased its dress code to make the races more “accessible and inclusive” (PA)

Cheltenham racecourse organisers have eased the dress code, saying they want to make the races more “accessible and inclusive”.

The Jockey Club is encouraging guests to “dress as you feel most comfortable and confident” following a review of the dress code.

The horse racing event takes from March 14 to March 17, with Ladies’ Day on March 15. The festival, and Ladies’ Day in particular, has long been viewed as an opportunity to dress up, with men in suits and women in formal dresses and hats.

But an easing of the dress code is encouraging people to dress down if they wish.

Why is Cheltenham easing the dress code?

Nevin Truesdale, chief executive at the Jockey Club, explained the decision: “We hope that by no longer placing an expectation upon people of what they should and shouldn’t wear we can help highlight that racing really is for everyone.”

He added: “It is a common misconception that a day at the races has always required you to dress in a certain way, regardless of the fixture. In fact, even at really high-profile days like the Cheltenham Festival, that has simply not been the case and our only recommendation has been to dress appropriately for the weather.

“By taking the decision not to impose dress codes at any of our 15 racecourses we now hope to get rid of any ambiguity or uncertainty and simply let people know that whatever they feel comfortable wearing they’ll be welcome to join us on a race day.”

Cheltenham Festival 2023

Cheltenham Festival 2023: (REUTERS)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (REUTERS)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: Jade Holland Cooper (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: Jade Holland Cooper (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (REUTERS)
Cheltenham Festival 2023: (REUTERS)

What was the dress code?

Officially, there was no dress code for Cheltenham racecourse, but people tended to dress smartly. Traditionally, men would wear suits and women would wear smart dresses, while jeans and trainers were typically avoided. However, some restrictions do apply, as organisers warn guests who choose to wear fancy dress to avoid “inappropriate or offensive outfits”, or they may be denied entry. Fancy dress also isn’t allowed in some areas of the racecourse.

Guests should also avoid wearing team colours to avoid appearing “antagonistic”.

What is the new dress code?

Cheltenham has updated its dress code to come “dressed to feel your best”, saying that “the more relaxed and comfortable we feel, the more likely we are to have a great time”.

Organisers say: “Whatever your tastes, the most important thing when choosing your outfit is, of course, comfort and confidence. So wear what feels right for you and will keep you feeling your best from start to finish, whatever the weather.”