A day at the races: Dress to impress at the Doncaster Cup
Horseracing is a time-honoured tradition in Britain and has been a staple of any socialite’s calendar since the 17th century. The Royal Family has long had an interest in the sport – Queen Anne was instrumental in founding Royal Ascot in the 18th century, and today The Queen still regularly makes appearances at races throughout the year.
In the presence of such respected company, it’s no surprise that most racecourses impose a strict dress code – men in their tales and ladies in their hats have long been a fixture at the track and add to the grandeur of each event.
The Doncaster Cup is no exception; the prestigious St Leger Festival in Yorkshire is the oldest classic of its kind – first taking place in 1776. If you’re planning on taking in all the history, glamour and the action of this spectacular programme, then get ready to dress the part.
Understanding the Dress Code
The Doncaster Racecourse sells four types of tickets for the festival, and each has its own strict rules about what to wear. Spectators in the County and Premier enclosure will be expected to wear smart clothing – that means no jeans – while spectators in the Grandstand and Family enclosure are much less restricted. There is no formal dress code for these areas, so you can turn up in your everyday clothes.
And our rooms at the Park Inn by Radisson Doncaster Hotel are the perfect base to get ready on race day – the hotel is less than a 10 minute drive from the racetrack and each of our rooms come with a power shower, hairdryer, large mirrors and additional plugs for shavers and hair straighteners – everything you need to get ready in style.
Tips for Men
If you’ve plumped for tickets in the County or Premier enclosure then it’s time to get smarted up. Casual clothes are strictly prohibited – jeans, trainers, and t-shirts are all restricted items of clothing, and if you don’t meet the dress code expect to be turned away on race day even if you’ve purchased a ticket.
In the County enclosure men are required to wear collared shirts and smart trousers, while in the Premier Suite it’s even more formal with a jacket and tie. That doesn’t mean your outfit needs to be boring, though – patterned ties and bright blazers are a great way to reinvent a classic look and you can mix and match from what’s already in your wardrobe.
Choose smart shoes – black Oxfords or brown leather loafers can both add a touch of sophistication to your look, and finishing touches like a watch or unique cufflinks will help your outfit stand out. And if the weather’s nice, why not tuck your favourite pair of sunglasses into your breast pocket so you’re ready to go.
Tips for Women
For many women, a day at the races is a great excuse to pull out those special pieces from the back of the wardrobe and get all glammed up. Fashion doesn’t need to come at the expense of comfort; instead of towering heels why not opt for a slightly more conservative black or nude pump? A day out at the races can be long, and expect to be on your feet for several hours. Make sure you break in any new shoes before the day – even the most beautiful pair of stilettos will add little to your look if you can barely walk from one end of the room to the other.
Skirts and dresses are among the most common looks for ladies on race day – though there’s no reason a pair of pressed pencil trousers with a crisp blouse and blazer won’t look just as striking. Unlike the other major races that take place in June, the Doncaster Cup is mid-September, and in Britain that can mean anything from a warm sunny day to a cold, blustery morning with an afternoon of showers. A smart coat, blazer or light cardigan will be your best friend in unpredictable weather, and you can tie the look together with a matching broach or clutch purse.