The Cheltenham Festival in March is the highlight of the National Hunt calendar. But what to wear when trotting between paddock and party? The Field has some suggestions...

Want a guide to what to wear? Look no further than The Field

Before reading our guide to what to wear for Cheltenham, you might be interested to learn that The Field is packed full of advice from country style in town to essential sporting kit, such as the best shooting coats, sporting gilets, shooting caps and gumboots.

What to wear for Cheltenham

Mid-March weather fluctuates between icy gales, downpours or more clement weather. This can make what to wear for Cheltenham a thorny problem. The key is to be prepared for both ends of the spectrum and have layers. There is no need to wilt under swathes of fur but wilting is far better than shuddering in something skimpy. Bear in mind, this isn’t Ascot or even Aintree. The following selection of ladies kit will help you decide what to wear for Cheltenham this year. If you have suggestions for the perfect racing outfit contact us and let us know.

Coats and capes for a winning look

A flattering coat or cape should be the first question on the list when thinking about what to wear for Cheltenham. It is the most important piece of any Cheltenham ensemble. Not only will it be key to keeping you the right temperature but will most likely be what is most on show.

This cashmere cape from House of Bruar come in three hues: driftwood (pictured) country green and classic black. It’s just the sort of versatile number that you can either fasten up – and even make use of the luxurious hood – if the weather is unkind or drape more loosely if mild.


A luxurious fox fur and cashmere cape from House of Bruar: ideal Cheltenham wear

We love also Purdey’s scarf cape, made from a luxurious double-face, cashmere-wool blend. Undoubtedly, a timeless investment piece.

A beautiful green cape from Purdey. Just the thing to wear to Cheltenham

An exquisite double-face, wool-cashmere blend scarf cape from Purdey

Holland Cooper has a great range of smart coats. Some, such as the full-length Marlborough trench coat, have coordinating separates.

A full-length trench coat from Holland Cooper

Coordinating straight-leg trousers are also available from Holland Cooper

When considering what to wear to Cheltenham or any National Hunt meeting, you can’t go wrong with a classic tweed along the lines of Farlows’ Hampton tweed jacket, made in England from tweed milled in the Borders.

A classic tweed jacket like this one from Farlows is just the thing to wear for Cheltenham

If in doubt about what to wear at Cheltenham, it is hard to go wrong with a classic tweed such as this jacket from Farlows

If it is set fair at Cheltenham

If you’re lucky enough to have fine spring weather at the Festival or things get a little cosy at the bar, it is important to look the part underneath that coat. Waring Brooke’s snaffle skirts are British made from 100% merino wool and come in either pencil or longline length.

Alternatively, anyone on the hunt for a tweed skirt should take a look at Joules‘ selection, which includes the Avery Check knee-length skirt (below).

A checked tweed skirt with buttons down the front from Joules

In search of a tweed skirt for Cheltenham: the Avery skirt is just the thing

KaHo’s immeasurably pretty block print shirts have exquisite cuffs and collars in contrasting fabrics – just the thing for anyone who feels their Cheltenham outfit requires a pop of colour. There’s a lovely array to choose from.

This colourful block-print shirt provides a pop of colour

Kaho has a super selection of block-print shirts for a pop of colour

The Cheltenham bag

Finding the right bag for racing days is like backing a long shot. Hard to do but thoroughly exciting when you pull it off. Vintage skin or fur editions look great but can be unwieldy. This neat ‘Small Day Tote’ from Smythson is a great size to keep all your kit together. Not only does it come in some fabulously Fieldy shades but it has lots of practical options, including four metal feet, lots of zip up pockets and even a removable shoulder strap for those who want to be hands free.

A brown leather tote bag: ideal Cheltenham wear

Everyone needs to take a practical, classy friend to Cheltenham: this smart tote from Smythson fits the bill

Best foot forward to the Festival

Stylish but comfortable and practical footwear is an absolute must at Cheltenham. Elegant fitted long leather boot always works, as do Spanish riding boots. Just ensure the heel is turf friendly. You don’t want to get stuck as you’re cheering on the winner up the hill. Dubarry has a wide selection of boots. This includes its Downpatrick long boots and, increasingly popular, shorter lengths such a these Bray Chelsea boots. (See below.)

Fairfax & Favor is another parade ring favourite. Its ankle-length Chiswick boot (below) comes in black or tan – perfect for those big on style but maybe short on stature who want to be sure of a good view.

To top it all off

It is more and more usual to see head-turning millinery at Cheltenham. However, one can never go wrong with a well-made fedora or trilby. Lock & Co’s Ali Escorial trilby features an oversized ribbon for a more feminine feel, while Hicks & Brown’s Chelsworth fedora (picture below) is festooned with a coque and pheasant feather and comes in an array of colours. For something a little bit different, take a peek at Acre & Holt’s wide selection of baker boy caps on offer in a variety of not just gorgeous tweeds but also corduroy and sumptuous purple velvet.

However, if you really want to go to town with what you wear at Cheltenham – this countryside mecca – take a look at the ravishing designs of Cotswold milliner Lisa Von Hallwyl, such as this showstopper below.

If you enjoyed this feature, check out more first-rate content from The Field

So, you’re under starter’s orders when it comes to what to wear for Cheltenham. If you found this guide useful, be sure to take a look at others on our site: the best shooting ties, cartridge bags and luxury hats, plus the best luxury hampers.