Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Eve Dawes
What to Wear to the Breeders Cup | Stylish and classy horse racing outfits and dresses for ladies to show up in style!
What to wear to the horse races can be tricky, navigating the dress codes and the weather. Horse racing dresses and outfits for women whether that’s for the Breeders Cup, Royal Ascot, Taste of Preakness or attire for the Belmont Stakes means finding something fabulous and elegant. I’ve always loved dressing up for the races and being able to wear something a little more statement making and colorful. It’s also a great excuse to find a fabulous hat or fascinator. So whether you’re looking for a classic style or something striking and fashion forward trend, these are the most beautiful and classy horse racing outfits and dresses for ladies for the Breeders Cup, Taste of Preakness, or any other horse race that requires an elegant dress code. Along with some fashion tips for choosing what to wear to the the horse races.
This Breeders Cup dresses and horse racing outfits for women post contains affiliate links.
Major horse racing dates 2023 – 2024 US, UK and International
When and where the major horse races for 2023 – 2024 are being held so you know when you need to figure out what to wear to specific horse races by:
- Grand National April 15th 2023, Aintree Racecourse, England.
- Kentucky Derby – May 6th 2023 at Churchill Downs.
- Royal Ascot – 20th – 24th June 2023 at Ascot Racecourse, England
- Preakness Stakes – May 20th, Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, MD.
- Epsom Derby Festival – 2-3rd June 2023 Epsom Downs, Surrey, England.
- Belmont Stakes – June 9-10th 2023, Belmont Park, Elmont, New York, US.
- Cheltenham Gold Cup – Friday 15 March 2024, Gloucestershire, UK.
- 2023 Old Newton Cup Festival at Haydock Park, 6-8th July, Merseyside, England.
- Coral Summer Festival at Sandown Park 7-8th July 2023, Sandown Park, Surrey, England.
- Newmarket Festival, 13-15 July 2023, Newmarket Racecourse, Newmarket, England.
- Summer Plate Ladies Day at Market Rasen, 22nd July 2023, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, England.
- Qatar Goodwood Festival, 1-5th August 2023, Goodwood Racecourse, West Sussex, England.
- Qatar Prix De L’Arc de Triomph, 30th September-1st October 2023, Longchamps, Paris, France.
- 2023 Dubai Future Champions Festival, 13-14th October, Newmarket Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk, England.
- The Everest 2023, October 14th, Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney, Australia.
- Breeders Cup November 3 – 4th 2023 at Santa Anita Park, California. Dress code.
- Melbourne Cup Carnival, 4-11th November 2023, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Things to consider when choosing your horse racing dress for the Breeders Cup or other elegant day time races
You’re going to want to take into account the dress code in the enclosure or reserved seating areas you’re in. As well as the time of year and the weather when choosing your horse racing dress or ladies outfit. Some areas and race courses require more formal dress codes than others. So always check out the full dress code requirements for the specific race you’re attending and the area or enclosure you’re going to be in.
A lot of horse racing tracks don’t have a dress code for guests with general admission tickets but management can still reserve the right to deny admission to anyone whose attire they consider inappropriate. Not all horse racing events require a hat either.
If the dress code leaves you feeling confused, Instagram is a great place to search for the appropriate horse racing outfits for ladies (or anyone) for the race you’re attending. Just go to that tracks account page or search the hashtag for the name of the race you’re attending and have a scroll through the photos. If in doubt, you can never go wrong if you stick to a classy horse racing outfit.
What to wear to the horse races | Seasonal fashion advice for all weather racing
How you dress for the horse races from season to season changes a lot. You’re obviously not going to be wearing the same summer attire you would in June to the Belmont Stakes and as you would to the Breeders Cup in November.
Spring and Summer are the easiest to dress for but a lot of races happen in April, October and November when it can be a bit tricker.
What to wear to the horse races in Spring or Summer
For Spring/Summer horse racing outfits for ladies, try to dress in layers so that you can cover up in the AC or from the sun or remove layers if you’re getting too hot. You also want to be prepared come rain or shine and blazers, capes, trench coats and elegant pashminas are all ideal for layering over lighter fabrics.
I also really like matching blazer and dress sets for being able to layer easily. Whether that’s bold separates or pretty pastels. They’re perfect both on cool Spring days and hot days in the Summer. As often the AC is too cold or the temperature drops at night.
What to wear to the horse races in Fall and Winter
For Fall/Winter you might want to consider a jumpsuit or pants suit or at least tights. Long trench coats, overcoats and tailored military style long coats and scarves also work really well.
Feathers and satin don’t fare too well in the rain unfortunately. So you might want to take that into consideration when choosing or designing your hat, shoes and horse racing dress. Especially for something like the Breeders Cup which is in November.
What to wear to the horse races | Womens shoes
Most people will tell you to wear sensible shoes and something that you can walk on grass and gravel in. Which is the best advice. However, rules were made to be broken and most if the time I’ve just worn a pair of strappy, stiletto sandals to the Spring/Summer races or pyramid heel that won’t sick into the grass as it makes the whole outfit look so much more elegant. As long as you can still walk in them!
On wet and/or cold days, closed toe pumps or boots are ideal. Black leather flat knee high boots are both polished and practical.
Just remember it is a long day to be on your feet so if you don’t go for sensible heels, you might want to pack a pair of back up fold-up flats that you can keep in your bag if it rains or your feet hurt.
This year I went for a square heel to be able to walk on the grass and they were absolutely perfect for walking around in.
Should I choose my horse racing hat or outfit first
It really comes down to personal preference on whether you choose your horse racing outfit or hat if you’re wearing one first. Be sure to check the dress code as hats vary greatly from course to course and enclosure to enclosure and fascinators aren’t acceptable everywhere.
A lot of people will say to get the hat first as it’s the hardest to find but I say if you fall in love with something get it. If it’s the hat you that you find first there are so many dress choices on line that you can filter by color to find something that will work.
On the flip side, if it’s the dress or outfit that you fall in love with first, you can always work with a milliner if you can’t find the perfect hat.
If you’re going for a really elaborate horse racing hat, a solid color outfit or dress might be a better bet to allow your hat to be the focal point. However, if your hat is more simple or just 1 or 2 colors, then a pretty floral print dress often looks really stunning.
What to wear to the horse races | 60 best horse racing dresses 2023
The best horse racing dresses and ladies outfits for 2023 are the ones that meet the dress code and that you love the most. It’s a time where you can take fashion risks and really show personality. The perfect dress for one person is going to be very different to the next persons.
I personally like bright colors, pastels, floral prints, fresh polka dots or crisp white for the Spring/Summer horse races. Jewel tones and darker colors are perfect for Fall/Winter race. Did you know that it’s actually considered unlucky to wear black to some races like the Kentucky Derby!
Some of this years biggest color trends are pastels, magenta, sunset colors, aquamarine, green and metallics. Just be careful with wearing metallics or shiny materials during the day that it doesn’t get too glam.
How to dress for the horse races | Womens fashion
Horse racing outfits for ladies and dresses are the time to show some personality and to have fun with fashion, hats and fascinators. Most horse racing events are quite the fashion show but what’s the right horse racing dress to wear?
Here are some of my favorite womens fashion looks for the horse races from horse racing dresses and ideas for what to wear to themed horse racing parties. Along with the best shoes to wear, how to accessorize your horse racing outfit and choose your hat or fascinator.
Complete your classy horse racing outfit with the perfect shoes and bag
I have a major thing for shoes and am getting more into hats and horse racing hats can be totally OTT and fabulous. Pro tip: Be really spatially aware of your hat so that you don’t take someone’s eye out!
Pink is still a big color trend for 2023 so there’s lots of pink hats, shoes and accessories in various shades on these ‘what to dress for the horse races’ edit. Also remember to check out the bag size restrictions at the race course you’re visiting before making a purchase to make sure it’s acceptible.
More stunning horse racing hats
From oversized hats to classic pill box hats and feather adorned fascinators these are the most stunning horse racing hats. Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune on a hat unless you want to. Amazon has some great finds that won’t break the bank.
I ended up ordering lots of hats from Amazon to try on since the Etsy seller canceled my order at the very last minute. Most of them were white or cream so that they’d go with any color outfit. I tend to prefer classic styles and bases wide enough to pass the Royal Enclosure’s strict dress code at Royal Ascot.
I hope that helps you find your perfect horse racing outfit. Have fun and good luck!