Smart Casual Race Day Style Guide For Men

 What Do You Wear To The Races?

Traditionally, a day at the races has been spent in only the most formal of attire. However, the idea of wearing a full, heavy 3-piece suit for a whole day can be daunting; you want to feel at ease while you're trying to enjoy yourself after all. For some race days, the full formal outfit is now an opt in. You have the option to dress it down, embrace your comfort, and still have your confidence. If you are interested in smart casual outfits for the races, read on...

Smart casual men's outfit for Raceday

Dan's Race Day Outfit


Dress Code For Horse Races


It is a common misconception that every race event requires full formal attire. There are certainly some race days that this is the case, but it is dependent on the exact occasion and venue. Big races, such as Aintree and Cheltenham, no longer have a formal dress code. Your first step towards planning your outfit for any raceday is to check the dress code. This should be easily found online. 



If your ticket and day has no restrictions, allowing for smart casual or casual dress, there’s no reason you can’t dress down to live it up.

Wells jacket, SUAVE OWL pink shirt, black jeans smart casual outfit for men.

Wells Jacket - SUAVE OWL Pink Shirt - Ultraflex Black Jeans


Smart Casual Outfit Tips For Men


If you decide to wear smart casual, remember balance. Smart casual outfits are at their best when they blend casualwear and formalwear seamlessly. Try to keep your outfit half formal and half casual.



Firstly, make sure all pieces of your outfit are clean and ironed. Make sure your clothes are also unripped, including jeans. This will go a long way toward making you look your best. 

A dion jacket, sand chinos, SUAVE OWL white shirt, brown belt and brogues are laid out on a wooden background.

Dion Jacket - Sand Chino - SUAVE OWL White Shirt - Belt - Brogues


Secondly, indulge in your accessories. Pocket watches, ties, bowties, cufflinks, tie clips, and braces are all your friends in elevating your look into a smart casual standout. You will also want to keep your footwear formal for the best results. This will help keep your outfit firmly in the realm of smart, meaning you can wear those comfy casual clothes that you love.


Trio of pocketwatches on display.

Pocket Watch - Mechanical Pocket Watch


Thirdly, don’t be afraid of colour! Show off some personality, the races are the perfect place for it. Take an exciting colour from a suit or the shade of your favourite tie and lean into it. With neutral pieces, you can balance any colour into an exciting outfit you’ll be proud to wear and still look as smart as you want.

Blossom ties on display.

Blossom Tie & Pocket Square Set


Lastly, ensure that your outfit fits you well. Your formal and casual pieces should both be in the best fit for you. A well-fitting outfit will not constrict you nor hang off your body, it should fit snugly and accentuate your figure. For more about finding the best suit fit, read The Ultimate Guide To Men's Suits. Our friendly team at either of our shops will be happy to help you find the best fit for you. To go forward with confidence and comfort, and to look the very best you can, make sure your outfit is the perfect fit.



Take these few tips forward with you into planning your outfit for the big day out!



How To Choose A Smart Casual Outfit?


Pick a favourite suit piece to wear. This may be from a suit you already own, or it could be a new addition to your wardrobe from our suit range. Consider which piece of your 3-piece you find most comfortable to wear. Once you have chosen either your jacket, waistcoat, or trousers, you have your starting point for planning a smart casual outfit for the races that’ll make an impression.



For fans of their suit jacket, it couldn’t be easier. Simply pair your jacket with a formal shirt and smart chinos. It creates a smart impression while keeping you comfortable. Our SUAVE OWL shirts are available in a range of bright and neutral colours, you are sure to be able to find the perfect one to match your suit jacket. From there, pick out a pair of chinos similar in colour to your jacket. With the addition of some accessories and brogues, and the tips above, you should have a cohesive outfit perfect for raceday.


Max's Layered Race Day Outfit



Fans of the waistcoat can wear a similar combination to above by combining your waistcoat, a pair of neutral chinos or jeans, and a SUAVE OWL formal shirt. You can relax this a little by rolling down your shirt sleeves to the elbow. If you opt to skip the tie or a bowtie, you allow for extra airflow too, optimum for a hot summer’s day.





An easy yet effective smart casual styling option for suit trousers is to match them with a polo shirt – a SUAVE OWL polo shirt is particularly striking. The combination makes for a smart silhouette. The cotton pique and short sleeves of the polo will keep you cool and breezy. If a polo shirt isn’t really your thing, a short-sleeve button up will look just as good. You could even add some braces to the outfit for a little extra intrigue.


Black Polo Shirt & Sand Chinos  


If you are not a fan of jeans or chinos in hot weather and the dress code allows for it, there are plenty of options for presentable shorts. Tailored suit shorts or chino shorts can be dressed up with the right accessories and footwear. However, you don’t want a baggy, faded old pair of shorts for a day at the races. Ensure they fit you well and match the rest of your outfit. Colour match your shorts to your jacket or waistcoat for cohesion with your outfit and enjoy your breezy day. Either acquire some no-show socks or go sockless to don your favourite brogues, penny loafers, or boat shoes to complete the look.



Each of these outfit ideas use formal and casual pieces to create a blended look. Make sure to incorporate your preferences in what makes you comfortable, confident and happy and you'll have a memorable outfit to be proud of.



How To Keep Cool At The Races

If your race day does end up being a scorcher, don’t panic. These outfits will keep you cooler than a 3-piece suit will. If you detest the heat, change out any thick socks for bamboo ones, buy a handkerchief to mop up any surface sweat, wear a hat to keep the sun off your head, drink plenty of water, and keep applying sun cream! With SUAVE OWL, you can feel confident and cool whatever the weather. 


 More From SUAVE OWL


For specific racecourse style guides, read Cheltenham Festival - Race Day Style Guide, Aintree Races - Style Guide For Men, Goodwood Racecourse - Race Day Style Guide, and Bath Racecourse - Style Guide.



Peruse our website and follow our InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and TikTok for more outfit inspiration. Feel your best on race day, and keep it simple yet significant with SUAVE OWL.

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