What to Wear to Horse Races as a First-Timer

Outfits verified for the mane event.

07.06.22

By Lucy Mahoney

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Southern Belles, listen up. Time is fast approaching for a certain annual horse race and if the phrase ‘go big or go home’ is ever relevant, it’s now. Stand out from a sea of racegoers in horse racing outfits made to catch the attention of everyone but the jockey. Think oversized tailoring, statement sequins, and of course, a headpiece or two. Saddle up, let’s get into it.

Patterned Formal Dresses

We Nasty Gals opt for dresses for horse races that scream personality. When you’re competing with a crowd of well-dressed racegoers, play the prints card. Our favorites? Oversized polka dots that channel Carrie Bradshaw, eclectic zebra print, and ’60s inspired abstract graphics. Dial down the look ever so slightly with a one-color comfortable block heel (a wise choice for a long day on your feet) and a matching purse.

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Cotton Floral Printed Midi Smock Dress
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Warehouse Printed Sequin Midi Dress
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Plus Size Printed Seam Detail Mini Dress
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Strapless Floral Ruffle Mini Dress
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Retro Printed Satin Halter Neck Mini Dress
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Zebra Long Sleeve Midi Wrap Dress
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Bloom Floral Cami Slip Dress
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Floral Formal Dresses

If your chosen headpiece is floral-based, complement the look with a coordinating dress print. Floral dresses and horse race attire are a match made in occasionwear heaven, all the while being seasonally spring-appropriate. Blossom in flattering ditsy florals that are subtle and delicate. Or, make a statement with larger florals that are great for highlighting areas of the body you’d like to accentuate.

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Ditsy Floral Mesh Maxi Dress
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Graphic Floral Mesh Crew Neck Midi Dress
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Bold Floral Printed Mini Shift Tea Dress
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Contrast Floral Button Maxi Dress
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Vibrant Floral Print Bodycon Mesh Dress
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Blurred Floral Print Midi Slip Dress
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Floral Open Back Maxi Slip Dress
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Formal Midi Dresses

Our vote for the ultimate dress length goes to the midi. Hitting anywhere between below the knee and the calf, a midi dress is long enough to provide a modest and formal feel, while avoiding a restrictive feel. As a rule for horse race outfits for ladies, we tend to avoid maxi styles which can get in the way of networking at the grandstand or clubhouse. No one wants to be tripping over their dress after they win big, either.

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Knot Halter Neck Satin Midi Dress
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Warehouse Satin Heart Diamante Midi Dress
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Warehouse Ruched Floral Slip Dress
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Sustainable Satin Midi Slip Dress
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Satin Jacquard Cowl Front Midi Slip Dress
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Ditsy Floral Balloon Sleeve Midi Dress
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Warehouse Zebra Plisse Midi Dress
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Satin Strappy Cut Out Midi Dress
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Bold Suits & Suit Separates

What to wear to the races when you don’t want a dress? Well, racewear times are changing and it’s never been more appropriate for women to ditch the dress for pants. A horse race is an optimum time to style that statement suit you’ve been eying. Opt for an oversized tailored blazer with ’70s inspired shoulder pads, layered over a high neck bodysuit and paired with the matching pants. Or, if the sun is out to play, style a classic tailored waistcoat with the matching wide-leg pants for a powerful ‘we mean business’ look.

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Longline Single Breasted Waistcoat
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Double Pleated Tailored Trousers
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Cropped Padded Shoulder Suit Blazer
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Cut Out Pleated Wide Leg Suit Pants
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Petite Tailored Pocket Detail Co Ord Blazer
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Petite Tailored Wide Leg Co Ord Pants
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Boxy Oversized Button Up Blazer
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High Waisted Wide Leg Tailored Pants
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Velvet V Neck Oversized Blazer
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Crushed Velvet Wide Leg Pants
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Pastel Formal Dresses

Another horse track outfit option is to go for a pretty pastel number. Soft baby pinks, creamy lemons, and seasonal spring limes are all bright enough to grab attention, but in a gentle, classy way. Brighten up the room with spring colors that feel fresh and fun. Cost per wear is also great, as these styles double up for all those summer weddings you’ll be attending later down the year.

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Sequin Detail Wrap Mini Dress
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Plus Size Halterneck Midi Slip Dress
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Cropped Boxy Single Breasted Blazer Dress
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Satin Long Sleeve Midi Wrap Dress
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Angel Sleeve Ruffle Detail Satin Maxi Dress
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Satin Gathered Yoke Belted Mini Dress
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Premium Satin Mini Shift Dress
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Plus Size Plisse Tiered Midi Dress
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Our advice? When it comes to headwear, switch up the traditional with interesting alternatives like statement clips, oversized bows, or a slinky satin headscarf. Check out some of our favorites below.

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Rhinestone 2 Pc Hair Clips Set
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Satin Oversized Double Bow Hair Clip
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Diamante Netted Mesh Headscarf
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Blue Ruched Fabric Headband
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Pink Crystal Embellished Head Band
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Moon Embellished Hair Clip
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Diamante Star Embellished Headband
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For more occasion content, check out our post on What to Wear to a Summer Wedding.