What you can and can't wear to the races as formal dress code is changed

The Jockey Club is relaxing its dress code for events at all its racecourses including the Cheltenham Festival and the Derby, as ITV News' Ellie Pitt reports 

For many a day at the races is synonymous with donning your Sunday best.

Whether it is a dress and heels teamed with a fascinator or a three-piece suit, the majority of spectators will make an effort to adhere to the formal dress code in place at England's 15 race courses.

Now, having to glam-up for the races may be a thing of the past, as The Jockey Club - the group of businesses and organisations which oversea the running of British horse racing - has removed the formal dress code.

Despite there being 'no dress code,' there are still some fashion faux-pas that will see spectators denied entry to the race grounds

So, what can't you wear?

While The Jockey Club has said it wants people to wear whatever and be comfortable, there are some outfits that will get a 'no' from staff.

  • No offensive fancy dress - although people are allowed to dress-up in appropriate outfits

  • No offensive clothing of any kind

  • Replica sports shirts or football kits - this is due to concerns they will cause friction between rival teams

Spectators are asked to use their common sense when selecting an outfit.

What happens if you wear a banned item?

The person or group wearing the offensive or banned outfit will not be allowed to enter the racecourse.

Are there any exceptions to the no dress code rule?

Yes, there is still one area at the races where people are expected to arrive in formal attire.  

Those sitting in the Queen Elizabeth II Stand at Epsom Downs will need to wear Morning Dress on Derby Day, an iconic annual race which was first run in 1780.

This means wearing a morning coat, waist coat and formal trousers or a dress.

People in all other areas of the racecourse on Derby Day are encouraged to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.

What about Ladies Day?

The Jockey Club has assured ITV News it hopes people do still continue to glam-up for Ladies Day at Epsom Racecourse.

However, if people don't want to don a dress and heels they can dress in whatever they feel comfortable in.

The style awards, when the best dressed spectator is crowned, will still go ahead.

Over at Aintree Racecourse, there is not a dress code in place for Ladies Day but people can still dress as glamorous or as comfortable as they wish.

Why has the dress code been removed?

The Jockey Club today removed the dress code as part of a drive to make horseracing more "accessible and inclusive".

Chief Executive at The Jockey Club, Nevin Truesdale said: “Of course that doesn’t mean we are discouraging people from dressing up for a day at the races if they want to. This is about giving people a choice and the opportunity to come racing dressed however they feel most comfortable and confident.

“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.

“For many, clothing is the ultimate expression of individuality and by removing the need to be dressed in a certain way, we hope to really demonstrate how inclusive we believe our sport is.”

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