Prestigious horse racing events are often as much about style as they are about the racing. Ladies and gentlemen alike often don their best and most glamorous outfits for a day at the races and the Grand National is no exception.

Many racecourses have a dress code, especially in the premium enclosures. The Grand National dress code is fairly open to interpretation but there are a few rules to be followed.

Dress code at the Grand National

The Grand National is held at Aintree Racecourse, which has no official dress code, although smart outfits are much preferred and most people opt for this.

Throughout the weekend of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival there are one or two items that are vetoed, however. No-one will be permitted entry in any form of sports clothing and fancy dress is also not allowed.

The Steeplechase Enclosure

The Steeplechase Enclosure is only opened on the final day of the Grand National Festival weekend and here the rules are more relaxed. While there is still no fancy dress or sportswear allowed, spectators can wear pretty much anything they’re comfortable in.

Other enclosures

With no strict official dress code, it can be tricky to know what to wear. Typically, men will at the very least wear a jacket and tie, though many wear suits and some will even go the full works with top hat and tails.

For the ladies, most opt for a formal or semi-formal dress. Too much flesh on display is not really appropriate, although there are no hard and fast rules for this like at Royal Ascot. Hats are of course optional, but many people see race day as a chance to break out the headgear with a fancy hat or fascinator.

Many ladies choose the glamour of high heels over the comfort of flats, although later in the day those sensible among the crowd can be seen slipping off the stilettos and donning the flip-flops.

Ladies’ Day

Thursday at the Grand National Festival is Ladies’ Day, the day where style really comes to the forefront of the weekend festivities.

As well as big feature races such as the Melling Steeplechase and the Topham Steeplechase, the hunt is on for the most stylish racegoer and there are some pretty spectacular prizes.

2015 winner Toni Salters was presented with a brand new Mini Roadster courtesy of the people at Aintree and a £6,000 package of prizes from the shopping and leisure complex Liverpool One, which included a monthly booth in the luxurious Palm Sugar Lounge and a monthly gift card for £250.

Whichever day of the festival you choose to attend, think smart formal or smart casual and you won’t go too far wrong. Racing events are great opportunities to experiment with the season’s latest fashions, but the main event is the racing after all.

Would you like to know more about the grand national? Check out our Grand National guide for 2018 here