Winter is almost over, and for many in the sporting world that means it's time to turn their attention toward the spring and summer horse racing seasons. It's in this span during the year that the most prestigious races take place, mostly in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. However, prestigious horse races aren't exciting only for those with an eye on the races; they're also wonderful for people who like to keep an eye on fashion.
For some in this category, the basics of horse racing fashion are familiar. However, with the season nearly upon us, here's a look head to what are sure to be some of the top talking points of race day fashion in the months to come.
If there's one defining feature of the fashion associated with the sport of horse racing, it's the hats. Glamorous hats are all but required among the fashion-conscious at major events, to the point that they've taken on a sort of style category of their own. Derby hats can be purchased at specialty shops like Hat-a-Tude, and they occupy entire sub-categories on Pinterest! The point is, if you're attending a big-time horse racing event, have some fun with the selection of a glamorous hat—it can be any color, style, size, etc. that you like.
There are some instances in which heels can be inconvenient at the races. A BBC article on how to impress at the Royal Ascot races (which actually have a strict dress code) even points out that one might be inspired to go barefoot after a day in heels walking around the tracks (which is apparently a big no-no). But if you can manage based on weather, terrain, and personal comfort, heels tend to be the best options for equestrian fashion. Particularly at the headline U.S. events like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, the most common look is the pairing of a glamorous hat, a nice pair of stiletto heels, and a colorful sundress.
Outerwear is most prevalent at races like England's Cheltenham Festival, which takes place this coming week. The event is perhaps best known for just how many major races it includes, as is made evident in Betfair's busy preview section for the actual competition. Analysis, betting activity, and last-minute shifts in odds make up the bulk of activity for a race that's this soon, and at Cheltenham there's always an emphasis on the tracks. But it's also a unique racing festival in that it happens during a cold-weather season, and layering is crucial for spectators. For this reason, we see a great deal of stylish outerwear at Cheltenham—pieces not just designed to keep spectators warm, but also to make a statement. Mirror's look at past Cheltenham attire has some stunning examples.
While horse racing fashion in general has something of a look of its own, the accessories and jewelry we see on racegoers tends to shift with the times. Basically, those dressing up for major races tend to be well aware of the fashionable accessory trends of any given year or season, which can provide an interesting touch of variety in the general look of race day fashion. Harper's Bazaar recently wrote about some major jewelry trends for the spring of 2015, including unbalanced earrings, brass pieces, and choker necklaces. It'll be interesting to see if some of these types of pieces are seen by the tracks in the coming months.
And there you have it. Horse racing fashion is always a guarantee to be whimsical and exciting, but these are some of the specific looks and ideas to keep an eye out for as the biggest races of the year approach.