Fashion faux pas – what NOT to wear to the races

We all love a good race day outing – dressing up, socialising with friends, watching the horses race down the track and trying your luck with a flutter or two.

Similar to weddings and other special events, the races have a dress code and dressing standards. Just as you wouldn’t want to be seen dead rocking board shorts or your beach dress to a black-tie wedding (awwwkward), you don’t want to confuse a night out attire with a day at the races.

So, we’ve compiled a list of racewear fashion faux pas so you know exactly what NOT to wear to the races, and can look the part and feel your best this race day.

Fashion faux pas – women

1. Short dresses

Dresses and skirts should fall above the knee or longer.

2. Strapless or shoestring straps

Straps should be one inch or more. Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are less race day appropriate.

3. Cut-outs and midriffs

Save these items for another occasion, not the races.

4. Thongs (flip flops), stilettos and gumboots

Heels should be a suitable height and consider the type of heel as you will most likely be walking on grass.

Look for dressy sandals with a strap around the heel if you are unable to wear heels.

5. Missing headpiece

Hats, fascinators or headpieces should be worn at all times.

6. Playsuits

Jumpsuits and trouser suits may be worn – they should be full length and matching material.

7. Branded clothing

Opt for clothing without fashion names and logos on display.


Key tips:

  • Make sure your dress fits well and is comfortable. Chances are you will be wearing it for several hours and you don’t want to be pulling and tugging your dress into place all day.
  • Wear in new shoes before wearing them on race day.
  • Choose suitable undergarments – nobody wants to see VPL (visible pant line).


Fashion faux pas – men

1. Jeans

Replace denim with suit pants or a nice pair of chinos.

2. Short sleeve shirt

Long sleeve button up shirts should be worn, and sleeves folded should it be necessary.

3. Caps and beanies

Don a straw or felt wide-brim hat should it be necessary to wear a hat.

4. Sneakers and canvas shoes

Wear black or brown leather shoes. Give them a quick clean and polish before you step out. Your belt colour should match your shoe colour.

5. Sockless

Socks are a must. Wear either matching plain dark-coloured socks or bright coloured socks that complement your outfit.

6. Untucked and/or unbuttoned shirt

Shirts should be tucked in at all times. If you are not wearing a tie or bowtie, only the top shirt button should be undone.

7. Branded clothing

Opt for clothing without fashion names and logos on display.


Key tips:

  • Suit pants should not sit baggy at your calves and ankles. Take your suit pants to a tailor to ensure they fall to the correct length.
  • Ironed shirt and pants are a must.
  • Make sure the colours of your clothing items work together. In general:

Black suit/pants = black belt, black shoes

Blue suit/pants = brown belt, brown shoes

Brown suit/pants = brown belt, brown shoes


Visit Park Beach Plaza and online to find your perfect outfit this race day!

Park Beach Plaza is our official clothing fashion sponsor.