Cheltenham Festival: Style Guide

Cheltenham Festival is not just a premier horse racing event; it is a fashion spectacle where style meets the thrill of the races. As racegoers gather for this prestigious event, there is a unique opportunity to showcase your sartorial flair. This Cheltenham Festival Style Guide will explore the latest trends and timeless classics to help you stand out in the crowd while keeping comfort in mind.

What is Cheltenham Festival?

Running from Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th March Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle event of the jump-racing calendar. Boasting the second-largest prize money in UK jump racing, surpassed only by the Grand National, this festival provides a unique opportunity to witness the elite of the jump racing world competing at the highest level. The festival hosts Grade 1 races, the most prestigious of the jump racing season, showcasing the exceptional talent of horses in the sport.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Ladies Style Guide

Cheltenham exudes a sense of country glamour and sophistication. When considering what to wear it is advised to resist the temptation of buying out-of-season clothes. Choosing smart country wear with timeless accessories will help you to achieve your ideal look.

The beauty of Cheltenham's unofficial dress code lies in its versatility, allowing you to choose garments that can be worn throughout the year. Instead of one-off purchases for a single event, you can make the most out of everything you buy for Cheltenham by incorporating them into your regular wardrobe. At John Norris, we have a range of elegant and stylish yet practical pieces of clothing that will ensure you get the most out of your purchases.

2 Ladies watching the horse racing

Key Pieces to Consider

Tweed Jacket or Elegant Coat?

Given the unpredictable March weather, layering is key. Choosing timeless pieces that can be easily removed, allows you to transition seamlessly from outdoor spectating to indoor celebrations. A sophisticated coat or jacket is a staple in Cheltenham fashion, providing both warmth and style. Choose a design that adds an interesting touch to your overall look, ensuring you stay both chic and comfortable during your time in Cheltenham.

The epitome of elegance the Barbour Ladies Fairfield wool jacket combines refined style with impeccable attention to detail. Its funnel neck adds a touch of sophistication, and the pleated pockets, stud cuff tabs, and branded quilted inner enhance its overall design. This jacket is a blend of elegance and functionality, making it a stylish choice for Cheltenham Festival.

If you are looking for something a little more robust, that will keep you warm and dry, the Hoggs Of Fife Ladies Struther long length riding coat is a flattering option that is waterproof and breathable, making it the ideal piece for facing the unpredictable Great British weather during March.

A lady wearing the Hoggs Of Fife Ladies Struther long length riding coat alongside a man and two dogs

Luxury Knitwear and Stylish Shirts

When attending Cheltenham Festival, organisers recommend dressing for the weather; soft knitwear is an excellent choice for layering over an elegant shirt. Given that March can still be very cold, prioritising practicality in your outfit is key.

At John Norris, we offer a selection of luxurious knitwear from brands like Barbour, Schöffel, and Hoggs Of Fife. Made from materials such as lambswool, cotton and cashmere these brands provide the perfect knitwear not only for your day out at Cheltenham Festival but also for everyday wear.

Pairing the Schöffel Ladies Settle 1/4 Zip Sweater with a stylish fitted shirt such as the Hoggs Of Fife Ladies Callie Twill Check Shirt will create a warm and practical outfit with the all-important touch of elegance desirable for Cheltenham Festival.

Lady wearing tweed cap, shirt and gilet

Skirts, Trousers or Jeans?

The laid-back dress code the festival allows for the option of wearing trousers and jeans instead of just skirts and dresses.

Skirts and dresses are a particularly desirable choice on ‘Style Wednesday,’ where Cheltenham Festival holds the Slow Fashion Awards. The Slow Fashion Awards celebrate vintage and borrowed items, as well as investment pieces that can be passed down through generations.

Opting for a stylish pair of jeans like The Hoggs of Fife Ladies Dee Stretch Denim Jeans can provide both comfort and durability. These jeans are not only refined and sophisticated but also versatile enough for your trip to the races and everyday wear.


Fabulous Footwear

Comfort is crucial when attending a full day of races. Choose footwear that combines style and practicality – elegant ankle boots, stylish knee-high boots, or polished loafers are all excellent choices. Keep in mind the possibility of rain and opt for waterproof or water-resistant options.

Quality heeled boots are a smart and comfortable footwear choice at Cheltenham. They not only keep your feet warm but also complement skirts or trousers. It is advisable to avoid court heels, stilettos, or sandals, as they may not provide the comfort needed for extended wear and can be too cold. Given that much of the day involves being on your feet, prioritising comfort is essential.

The Hoggs Of Fife have a range of ankle boots such as the Ladies Northumberland II Dealer Boots whilst, Barbour and Le Chameau also have an extensive range with Le Chameau offering the Ladies La Chelsea Leather Boots and Barbour Ladies Heidi Commander Boots. Available in contrasting colours and materials, the Dubarry Galway Slim Fit boot looks great with trousers or a skirt and will see you from muddy country walks to a smart day at the races, festivals and beyond. At John Norris, we have footwear for every racegoer’s taste!

Hoggs Of Fife Boots

Accessorise with Finesse

Accessories play a crucial role in enhancing your outfit. Consider adding a touch of sparkle with statement jewellery or opting for a classic clutch that complements your attire. The Hicks and Hides Ladies Charlton Cartridge Clutch Bag is the staple clutch bag that you have been missing from your wardrobe. This piece is traditional and sophisticated making it the perfect choice for Cheltenham Festival. Equally, the Barbour Ladies Laire Leather Saddle Bag is an excellent cross-body bag for carrying all of your race day accessories!

A stylish hat is a fantastic addition to a smart winter outfit. Options range from a fedora or trilby to a faux fur hat, all of which look great. Headbands such as the Deerhunter Ladies Knitted Headband are also complementary to a smart country outfit. They are hairstyle-friendly and easy to carry around if you choose to take it off.

Hicks and Hides Ladies Charlton Cartridge Clutch Bag

Men's Style Guide

Gentlemen attending Cheltenham Festival can display their style and celebrate British clothing with traditional cloths and tweeds, the go-to fabrics that will also keep you warm on chilly March days. Or why not experiment with patterns and textures to add a modern twist to traditional race day attire?

2 men watching the horse racing

Key Pieces to Consider

Tweed Jacket and Trousers

Tweed provides an effortlessly smart look whilst also giving comfort and warmth. A dapper 3-piece tweed suit is always a great option for Cheltenham Festival but opting for a separate jacket and trouser combination provides versatility for regular wear with other items in your wardrobe. Ensure that the jacket and trousers are distinct in shades to avoid the appearance of a mismatched suit.

The Schöffel Ptarmigan Tweed Waistcoat II is a superb option pairing well with the matching tweed classic coat or a pair of fitted trousers and a smart-casual shirt such as the Barbour Hansted Country Active Shirt. Schöffel’s English milled Tweed is noted for its strength and durability, non-absorption of moisture into the fibres and for being lightweight. 


Hoggs Of Fife Kinloch Blazer

Quality Knitwear

For added warmth without bulk, consider wearing a layer of fine knitwear underneath your tweed jacket. A single-ply cashmere or wool jumper, such as a classic V-neck or crew neck, is ideal for layering. Cashmere provides a soft and luxurious option, while merino wool offers excellent insulation. Choose plain-coloured classic jumpers for versatility, such as the Jake Pyke Ashcombe V Neck 100% Lambswool Sweater in Dark Olive, providing a traditional, muted look. The Schöffel cotton cashmere cable 1/4 zip jumper is also a great option for a stylish shirt and jumper combination.

Schoffel blue knitted zip up jumper

Country Boots

As stated above, comfort is key when it comes to Cheltenham Festival. Footwear should be stylish and elegant but most importantly comfortable to wear for an extended period. A smart shoe or boot with a good tread for grip underfoot is best. Country brogues, laced Chukka style boots or Dealer boots are ideal. The Le Chameau La Chelsea Leather Boots are a great example of boots perfect for dressing up for Cheltenham Festival or effortlessly transitioning between urban and rural terrains. Avoid wearing loafers as they may not provide sufficient protection against rain and may not be as sturdy as other footwear options, and always wear socks.


Hoggs Of Fife Cullen Chukka Boot

Accessories: The Tweed Bonnet

Wearing a good hat, like a tweed hat or a flat cap, not only adds a touch of style but also serves a practical purpose by keeping the rain off you. It is a classic and functional choice for Cheltenham Festival or any rainy day. Such hats can complement your outfit while providing protection from the weather, making them a versatile accessory.

Man standing in a field wearing Schoffel Tweed Waistcoat and tweed cap


Cheltenham Festival presents a unique platform to exhibit your fashion finesse. Whether you are a seasoned racegoer or a first-timer, embrace elegance, experiment with trends, and make a statement at Cheltenham – where fashion meets the finest in horse racing. Explore our collection of Ladies' and Men’s clothing and accessories to discover your perfect race day outfit!

4 friends spending time together