Cheltenham Racecourse expert insight: How to dress for The Festival™ Presented by Magners

With just a few weeks to go until The Festival™ at Cheltenham Racecourse, it's the perfect time to find an outfit for the occasion. Speaking to stylist at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham, Sam Jones, SoGlos found out what to wear for the biggest racing meet of the year.

World-class sporting entertainment and a definitive highlight in Gloucestershire’s calendar, Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup is back for another year from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 March 2020.

Speaking about what to wear to Cheltenham’s all-important race week, stylist at John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham, Sam Jones, tells SoGlos how to plan for the perfect outfit. Joining John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham back when it opened in 2018, Sam Jones is a specialist in styling clients, spotting the latest trends and networking with leading brands.

About The Festival™ Presented by Magners

The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 promises a feast of gripping horse racing, entertainment and fashion, not to mention more than £4.5 million of prize money up for grabs, at the jewel in jump racing’s crown, Cheltenham Racecourse.

With plenty of live music, entertainment, dining, shopping and trade stands to enjoy, in addition to the races, whether you’re a seasoned horseracing fan or a first-timer – The Festival™ presented by Magners and Cheltenham Gold Cup Day 2020 is not to be missed.

For more information, visit

What advice would you give to someone who has no idea what to wear to The Festival?

Although there is no official dress code for The Festival, racegoers tend to be smart, with women wearing hats and men usually wearing suits or similarly smart attire.

For men and women, I think the most important advice is to always wear something you feel comfortable in.

The Festival is a really stylish event and you need to have confidence in your outfit, but also think practically – particularly as the weather can be unpredictable.

How can you look stylish and feel warm at the same time?

Layering is the most important thing. If you invest in a good quality overcoat, it will always look great and keep you warm.

For women, you can always add a scarf or a bit of faux fur, just don’t weigh yourself down with it.

What are the must-have Festival wardrobe essentials?

Use tweed sparingly. Instead of wearing head-to-toe tweed, I’d wear a nice wool overcoat over the top of a tweed waistcoat, perhaps.

For women, a wool fedora hat or a tasteful fascinator to dress things up can look great. You don’t have to go too crazy, but it really adds to the outfit if there’s something missing.

An umbrella is also often forgotten. Keep one with you if the weather isn’t great.

What do you expect to see a lot of at this year’s Festival?

For women, I expect to see a lot of pleats and feminine frills at this year’s Cheltenham races. It’s a really easy way to make an outfit look elegant, everyone can wear it.

Spring is in the air, and I think there will also be lots of colours in Cheltenham this year. Premium fashion brands are starting to use pretty pastel colours and you’ll be able to spot plenty of those.

What are the best footwear options for The Festival?

As much as the look is important, play close attention to how your feet feel! For women, a thicker heel with a better sole is going to be a life saver. A chunky heel is going to prevent you sinking into the grass.

A knee-high boot also looks timeless and very chic and brings a country look together.

What wardrobe pieces can be used again and again for The Festival?

Invest in accessories to make the most of your outfit. A dress can take on a whole different look if you add accessories to it. I’m a firm believer that when you buy something it should be sustainable. A suit, for example, should never be just worn once. Changing up the shirt, waistcoat and other details can make a suit last all week.

For more information, visit

© SoGlos
Tuesday 18 February 2020

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