Style At The Races 5th June 2017

Style At The Races

Stephen gives a few pointers on how to look stylish on your next day out at the races.

Long gone are the days of horse racing simply being about gambling your home, your car and your wife’s wedding ring away, racing festivals are now grand events with a lot of emphasis on style and glamour. Ladies compete against each other to be the most admired or having the most outlandish hat/fascinator, but why should they have all the fun?

As times are changing, men are also buying into the style game, and so they should; after all a beautiful lady will want a handsomely dressed man by their side and not a dishevelled vagrant.

Achieving sartorial elegance is not a hard task but time after time the same mistakes are being made, cardinal sins which I have witnessed first hand making me reach for my silk pochette to wipe away the tears. However with the following advice I can hopefully steer you away from the fashion faux pas and ensure you’re a dapper Dan, not a stinky Pete.


Firstly the shoes; you simply cannot afford to mess this one up. The one thing people really do look at is what is adorning your feet; and they look within seconds of being introduced to you. If you are wearing cheap, tatty, glued sole shoes then it won't matter if you're wearing a bespoke suit from Saville Row made from finely spun unicorn hair it will look bad, horrible, ghastly even. You cannot disguise bad shoes, period.

On the flip side a quality pair of shoes can elevate the rest of your outfit, so it really is worth the investment. Funny old world ain’t it?

Now that you know the ultimate power that fine footwear holds you need to make sure that said shoes compliment the rest of your attire….

Colour! If you’re not sure about colour here is a safe guide that will ensure that your shoes will go hand in hand with your suit.

Navy Blue Suit – Black, Burgundy or Brown shoes.

Dark Grey Suit – Black or Burgundy shoes.

Light Grey Suit – Black, Tan or Burgundy shoes.

Cream/Beige Suit – Light Brown or White shoes.

Brown Suit – Brown shoes (ensure the brown is a different shade to the suit). Never choose black.

Black suit – Black shoes.

The above is a safe guide to getting it right, however these are not fixed rules, you can break some of them if you wish. The difference being is that you are making a conscious decision rather than unwittingly making a mistake. Breaking rules and getting the look right however can be tricky and is more involved than simply donning the shoes. For instance, burgundy shoes with a black suit will give a stark contrast pulling everything downwards which does not look good. Pair up with a burgundy tie and belt however and this evens the ensemble out.


Your belt is important as it helps carry your shoes through the outfit creating balance.

In casual wear you can get away with differences in texture and colouration as long as they co-ordinate however the smarter the outfit the more important it is that they match and for a suit you should be aiming for an exact match both in texture, material and colour. This is not a perfect world though and should you be in a position where the perfect pairing is not available then you need to aim as close to matching as you can, subtle differences will in most cases be alleviated by the distance between the shoes and belt.

Remember, one rule that absolutely cannot be broken is the wearing of braces and a belt together, do NOT do this! One or the other please gents.

Ties and pocket squares.

Something I see quite regularly is a tie that matches the pocket square…NO, NO, NO, NO….NO. The discerning gent does not do this, it is tacky and makes you look like you’re sporting a Christmas gift set bought by your well meaning granny. This is a major mistake in fashion.

Your pocket square can co-ordinate with your tie or with the rest of your attire but they should never match.

If you have a polka dot tie, then you may certainly choose a square that is a the colour of the polka dot or the background, it can be the colour of your socks or shoes, or a colour from your suit or shirt, but it must not be the same polka dot as your tie.

While we are on the subject of ties, a full Windsor perfectly executed with a tight knot and optional dimple is the way to look clipped and polished. Half Windsors are sloppy and lazy and look that way. It may take some practice to get it just so but trust me friends, it is worth the effort.

And there you have it folks - a beginner's guide to looking great at the races or anywhere! Remember some rules cannot be broken, others can be bent so have fun with your look.

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