Cheltenham Festival what to wear – fashion must-haves, faux pas and Peaky Blinders caps

The world famous Cheltenham Festival is as much a celebration of fashion as it is a jump race. It’s no wonder everyone from the royal family to the cream of British celebrities and sports stars head to Prestbury Park.

With the full return of the public to this year’s horse racing festival for the Gold Cup, many are reaching into the back of the wardrobe to dust off their fail-safe “race day” combos. Racing fans are planning weeks in advance to coordinate their racing attire, including tweed coats, headgear and boots, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Here’s a rundown of fashion must-haves and faux pas for Cheltenham, for all ages and genders.

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Menswear and Peaky Blinders influence

Pass by the station around mid-morning on any race day and you’ll spot packs of similarly dressed young men. The uniform is checkered, tight-fitting pants, shirt and jacket, shoes without socks and maybe a flat cap. This is especially true since Peaky Blinders has become increasingly popular, especially with the latest series running during this year’s festival.

Older men and the country set are more responsive with their chosen set. For them, style is tweed jackets, chinos in various shades of red, old rose and mustard yellow, flat caps or fedoras, and barber coats to protect against the inevitable rain.

Coronation street actors Sam Aston (left) and Michael Le Vell on Gold Cup day at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

By the way, if you’re still unsure whether they’re heading to the races or not, they’re all carrying a copy of The Racing Times, rolled up in their hands or back pockets. It’s a dead giveaway.

Women’s fashion at the races

Women’s fashion is much more interesting during race week. It depends somewhat on the weather that mother nature throws. If you are heading to one of the enclosures, smart attire, although not usually required, is the accepted dress code.

Wednesday Ladies Day is the best day for outrageous and gorgeous fashion statements. Think bright colors, silks and satins, lots of faux fur and real feathers, and trendy hats in all shapes and sizes.

Jade Holland Cooper arrives for day four of the Cheltenham Festival in 2020
Jade Holland Cooper arrives for day four of the Cheltenham Festival in 2020

When it comes to designer looks, young women often opt for the Jade Holland Cooper look, with fitted tweed ensembles, long loose coats and fedoras with rustling feathers. The clothes of Jade, partner of Lucky Onion and Superdry supremo Julian Dunkerton, are at the top of the Festival’s fashion stakes, particularly for the younger generations, whom they favor in their design and fit.

Another popular designer for the runs is Cheltenham-based Beatrice von Treskow, whose style features bold colors and Far Eastern-inspired embroidery for her coats, jackets and separates. A favorite of the sports celebrity brigade. If you spot Clare Balding, Princess Anne or racehorse trainer Venetia Williams at Prestbury Park, chances are they’re wearing BvT designs.

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If you prefer a more practical look, many runners opt for warm pants, tall boots and padded coats.


For female racing enthusiasts, hats are of the utmost importance. As Cotswold milliner Lisa von Hallwyl said, “Hats are the finishing touch to an outfit, they complete it. Without some sort of headgear, I don’t think it would be as much fun.

Lisa is the busiest before the Festival, creating artwork for her clients, including Carol Vorderman, who is always up for some stunning headgear. Zara Tindall is another guest who often stands out for her headwear.

A racer wearing a decorative hat arrives for Women's Day at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2020
A racer wearing a decorative hat arrives for Women’s Day at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2020

This year, expect to see lots of feathers, crystals and silks on all headdress styles, including traditional fedoras and hatinators – a cross between a hat and a fascinator – which are particularly fashionable these days. moment.

Then there’s always the St. Patrick’s Day hat to tie into the special day of Thursday, March 17.

faux pas

There is no official dress code for Cheltenham but there are some missteps, mainly around women’s fashion. Fascinators and shawls should remain in the wardrobe until the summer season, as they are more suitable for Royal Ascot.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stylish at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stylish at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013

Bare legs and sundresses are out of place at this winter get-together, especially since it will likely still be cold, windy with a good chance of rain. For men in particular, fancy dress at bachelor parties doesn’t seem out of place, unless it’s a Peaky Blinders theme, which would fit in with the cape look for that special event.

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