The elegance barometer reaches a high for a day at the races. Horse racing has long been one of the traditional summer events in the United Kingdom and a question always arises around how a man should dress himself for the occasion. Although horse-racing also takes place in winter, the most famous events are the Royal Ascot and Cheltenham horse races during the summer months.
So, if you want to experience one of Britain’s greatest traditions, you should not miss a visit to these events and don’t forget that no day at the races is complete without betting on the horses so it is a good idea to be aware of the odds for each horse. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get tips as to which horses to bet on either at the race itself or even when you’re online. Some sites, like The Winners Enclosure, offer daily tips for the latest races, including Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell, and Chepstow.
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STRESS DRESS CODES FOR CERTAIN AREAS
On the 14th of June, the most famous horse racing event in Great Britain – the Royal Ascot – begins again. Tradition is a given here; after all, this event was launched over 300 years ago. What dress codes must be followed depends on the area from which you wish to watch the race. In the Royal Enclosure, Gentlemen are strictly expected to wear English morning dress. This formal attire consists of a morning coat (tailcoat), waistcoat (both usually black or grey), grey striped trousers, shirt with a turndown collar, silk handkerchief or pocket square, tie, and black oxford shoes. Optional items include but are not limited to a top hat, gloves, and a cane or umbrella. There are exact rules for wearing the top hat as this is only allowed in certain areas. It is easy to imagine that this outfit is an expensive investment, especially as there are few other opportunities with which to wear such an ensemble. However, as a direct invitation from an existing member of the Lodge is required for the Royal Enclosure, it is unlikely that most men will have to submit to this strict dress code. Instead, it is recommended to combine the traditional clothing style with modern and individual parts.
In other areas of the race, such as the Queen Anne Enclosure, the men are expected to wear a suit with a tie. In the Windsor Enclosure, there is no dress code at all. This does not mean that the visitors should miss the opportunity for a special outfit. As a style inspiration, for example, a gentleman of the 1920s or 1930s could serve a summer party: choose bright colours and light materials such as linen. With a suit, a vest and a matching tie, you can look forward to wearing more retro elements that fit perfectly into the year 2017. When choosing your clothing, remember that it can be warm in the summer even in the UK. So, why not try a straw hat to shade you from the sun such as a Boater hat or even a Fedora. This plays on the classic top hat and gives your outfit the flair of a beach holiday in Cornwall.
The choice of the outfit is dependent on the kind of experience you would like to have at Ascot. The expensive “Members Only” tickets offer a selection of fine restaurants that pamper their guests with delicate culinary delights. In the Windsor Enclosure, it is usually very lively as part of the traditional horse racing experience is enjoying a glass or two of champagne. Visitors can also bring their own picnic – the ideal prerequisite, on a warm day, to experience the summer fairy tale of typical English horse racing.
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THE RIGHT SHOES
The Golden Twenties, the time of Charleston and Jazz, the avant-garde, lush fur boas and the silent film, were not just an American institution. The exuberant feeling of life was reflected not least in clothing. Fashion was free and colourful. Gentlemen loved the Spectators – those extravagant men’s shoes, which Robert Redford also wore in The Great Gatsby (1974). The main characteristic of the traditional gentlemen’s spectator shoe is its two-coloured upper. Classically, the Spectator comes in black and white, but also the brown counterpart is a popular choice and offers a less formal alternative for horse racing events.