Cheltenham racecourse organizers have relaxed the dress code, saying they want to make the races “more accessible and inclusive”.
The Jockey Club encourages guests, after a dress code review, to “dress in whatever way you feel most comfortable and confident”.
Horse racing takes place from March 14th to 17th, with Ladies’ Day on March 15th. The festival, and Ladies’ Day in particular, has long been seen as an opportunity to dress up, with men in suits and women in formal dresses and hats.
But a relaxation of dress codes encourages people to dress casually if they choose.
Why is Cheltenham relaxing the dress code?
Explaining the decision, Nevin Truesdale, Managing Director of The Jockey Club: “We hope that by no longer imposing expectations on people as to what they should and shouldn’t wear, we can help highlight that racing is truly for everyone are.”
He added: “It’s a common misconception that you always have to dress a certain way on a day of racing, regardless of the event. In fact, even on really high profile days like the Cheltenham Festival that just wasn’t the case and our only recommendation was to dress appropriately for the weather.
“By deciding not to impose a dress code at any of our 15 racecourses, we now hope to eliminate any ambiguity or uncertainty and simply let people know that they are welcome to race day with whatever they choose to wear.”
Cheltenham Festival 2023
What was the dress code?
There was no official dress code at Cheltenham racecourse, but people tended to dress smartly. Traditionally, men wore suits and women smart dresses, while jeans and sneakers were usually avoided. However, some restrictions apply, as organizers warn guests who choose to dress smartly to avoid “inappropriate or offensive outfits” or they may be refused entry. Costumes are also not allowed in some areas of the racecourse.
Guests should also avoid wearing team colors to avoid appearing “antagonistic”.
What is the new dress code?
Cheltenham has updated its dress code to be “dressed to feel your best”, saying that “the more relaxed and comfortable we feel, the more likely we are to have a great time”.
The organizers say: “Whatever your taste, the most important thing when choosing your outfit is of course comfort and confidence. So wear what feels right for you and to make you feel good from start to finish, whatever the weather.”