While Cheltenham Festival has no strict dress code, ladies usually opt for smart winter outfits and men, suits with a tailored overcoat.  

Cheltenham Festival has its own unique look, distinct from other race events that happen in the summer. The annual Festival attracts a smart country set and as the weather can be unpredictable in March, you should dress with practicality and warmth in mind. Cheltenham is the place for dress coats, faux-fur stoles and smart country wear, rather than Ascot-style attire. Trilby hats, feathers and tweed are also seen in abundance.  

Cheltenham is all about country glamour and rather than one-off purchases for a single event, Cheltenham’s unofficial dress code includes garments that are much more wearable throughout the year at other events.

7 key pieces for your Cheltenham look

1) A tweed jacket or beautiful coat

A mainstay of Cheltenham fashion, an elegant coat or jacket is ideal to keep you warm and stylish through March’s unpredictable weather. Choose a coat that is not only cosy but has some interesting details or a unique cut.

A suede coat is a stylish option, however, will be less weatherproof than other hardier jackets. A more robust option, that will keep you warm and dry, is the Chrysalis Bloomsbury Jacket. Beautifully handcrafted in England and made from 100% pure wool, it’s available in two traditional tweeds and completed with an elegant satin lining, inter liner membrane for breathability and windproof zip. Perfect for a cold day spent at the racecourse!

2) A silhouette skimming skirt

A skirt is a great way to smarten up your outfit and show off your country boots. Textured skirts, particularly suede or tweed go well with the countryside aesthetic. If a skirt is not your thing, the relaxed dress code at Cheltenham means it is acceptable to wear a smart pair of jeans but choose the style carefully- ripped denim wouldn’t be an appropriate style. Both white and dark fitted jeans are both popular with attendees. 

3) Luxury knitwear

Luxurious, soft knitwear is the best way to practically layer up and keep warm. Elegant jumpers or cardigans made from cashmere or lambswool are ideal. Play around with a variation of styles, colours, textures, and patterns for an eclectic country look. A roll collar is particularly good for keeping a chill from your neck and back without sacrificing style.

4) Quality boots

In terms of footwear, boots are a smart and sturdy choice. Quality heeled boots will keep your feet warm and look good with skirts or trousers. Most of the day will be spent on your feet, so your comfort is vital- avoid high court heels, stilettos, or sandals as they will not be comfortable enough for wearing all day.

Look for a boot with a good tread so you do not slip in the rain and leather or fur linings provide extra warmth. Despite the relaxed dress code, Cheltenham is not the place for your everyday or well-worn boots! Instead opt for smart boots with a walkable heel in a soft suede or nubuck upper. 

Adored by the Princess of Wales for their sophisticated country style, Penelope Chilvers offer stylish, comfortable and hard wearing boots, perfect for a day spent at the races.

5) A fedora or smart hat

From a fedora or trilby to a cosy beret or faux fur, a stylish hat is a great addition to a smart winter outfit. If the weather forecast isn’t looking great, choose a waxed fabric hat that will repel water. Cashmere headbands are also complementary to a smart country outfit. 

Another brand favoured by royalty, Hicks & Brown fedoras combine the structure of an elegant hat with beautiful feather details. These fedora hats are made from felted wool and come in muted tones as well as bolder colours, to add interest to any outfit. They are also water-resistant for protection against rain showers, meaning you may not need an umbrella. 

A hat for Cheltenham should be an elegant addition to your outfit, so casual or unstructured hats do not look smart enough for the occasion.

6) Wrap yourself in a luxurious scarf

The perfect finishing touch to your outfit is a wrap, stole, scarf or twilly.  Add a pop of colour with a cashmere scarf or wrap or exude country elegance with a silk scarf in a fun pattern.

7) Finishing touches and a classic tote

One important rule for Cheltenham is to not look overdone or like you are trying too hard. Simple country style is best and that applies to how you accessorise your outfit too. 

A leather or suede tote handbag is a good, practical choice; large enough for you to keep all your things in as well as stylish. You can easily update your Cheltenham style every year with a new handbag without buying a whole new outfit. 

Coordinating will keep your look elegant, especially if you are wearing a coat in a striking colour. Match the colour of your handbag and gloves to your hat, keeping your accessories simple to let your coat be the centre-piece of the look.

Refinement is in the details, and you can add a little embellishment to your outfit with a feather brooch, coloured boot tassels or a smart leather belt.

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