Racing Fashion

Racing Fashion Chloe Peacock

29th July 20151Comment


1 Aug – 5 Aug 2017 is the Qatar Goodwood Festival or what is known as Glorious Goodwood. It’s an important week in the racing calendar and equally important for some in the racing fashion stakes.


First things first. Why the love of racing for me?

I’ve been going racing with my family since I was a small child. I can’t even remember the first time, as I was so young. What I do know is that by the time I was 10 years old I was semi-proficient in tic-tac ( the sign language used by bookmakers to communicate the betting odds) and could give you a potted biography of Lester Piggott. For me, you see, there is no pass time more exhilarating than witnessing the magnificent thunder of hoof to the finishing post and the energetic roar from the crowds as the race winner sprints in.

Wicklow Bloodstock, who train their horses with Willie Mullins over in Co Wicklow, belongs to a member of my family. In racing speak owners and trainers are known as ‘connections’. Because of my connection to connections I get to many of the major race meetings and sometimes have the privilege of being in the owners and trainers enclosures and stepping into the paddock to chat to the jockey before the race. My love of racing has even taken me abroad as a guest of the Japanese Racing Association to watch the Japan Cup in Tokyo in 2013.


Now to the second important question. Why the love of racing fashion?

Dressing up is a major part of the experience. It can be quite a challenge to find the right combination of fashion and comfort. Cheltenham in particular is tricky as it can be still freezing in March. It isn’t that easy finding a dress that sits on the knee, but with a modest neck-line for the Ascot Royal Enclosure in the summer either.

Then there are the hats for the big meetings. When I say hat I’m not talking fascinator, I mean a proper millenary creation with a base of minimum ten centimetres. Fascinators are banned in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot in fact. I’m sure this will upset some people although I’m not afraid to say it …I enjoy the dress-code and formalities at Ascot and the quintessential British country style of Glorious Goodwood. Fake tans and short skirts just aren’t for me. Hit me over the head with a right-on placard, but I’ll happily sign up to a campaign for tasteful dressing any day of the week. And as you will see from the tlfw guide to racing fashion, this doesn’t mean you can’t wear high street. You just have to wear it with style.


Chloe’s Guide to Racing Style

Chloe's Ascot 2015 look. Dress Hervé Léger from The Outnet. Blazer from Top Shop. Bag from Jaeger. Shoes from Hobbs

My favourite milliner right now is Layla Leigh who made my Ascot hat this year at short notice to match a Herve Lerger dress from The Outnet that I wore with a trusty Top Shop blazer, accessorised with Hobbs shoes and a Jaeger handbag (pictured above). Leigh is lovely, and she chats through my outfit over the phone, looks at pictures of my clothes and offers sound advice on the hat shapes and styles. My Ascot hat is called ‘Ava’ and it’s the one I am wearing in the post feature image. The fine fella in the top hat is my Dad! Leigh has also made my hat for Glorious Goodwood Ladies’ Day this year, which I matched with an old faithful Sara Arnett dress. The hat is called ‘Lizzie’ and I absolutely love her. Even if I say so myself – it’s a complete show-stopper and I am sure I will get many wears from her.

Chloe at Goodwood
Chloe at Goodwood in her Lizzie hat & Sara Arnett dress


Chloe’s Guide to Glorious Goodwood
I’m passionate about the Sussex countryside where I grew up and the estate at Goodwood that belongs to the Earl of March is quite simply, beautiful. You can see the loveliness of Sussex in every direction.Glorious Goodwood is a meeting I began attending years ago – the first time was to celebrate finishing my GCSEs so I’m nostalgic about the place. It’s brilliant for people watching an eclectic mix of celebrities, society folk and groups of friends out for a laugh.It isn’t snobby in the slightest. Whilst sophisticated, Goodwood is more relaxed than other big meetings and there are no hard and fast dress codes. Ladies do tend to wear a hat for ladies day, but you don’t have to. There’s many looks from floaty, pretty summer dresses through to smokin’ hot bodycon and stylish trouser suits with comfy flat sandals for the women. In the Richmond Enclosure men normally go for a linen suit and panama hat. It’s old school British style and I love seeing the fella’s make an effort too. There’s also The Magnolia Cup charity race every year, ridden by female amateur jockeys who wear silks designed by the likes of McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Gok Wan has been on for the last few years for Channel Four Racing to review the racing fashion and does a fine job. Sadly he wasn’t there this year. I’ll often watch a race again when I get home on my Tivo to get a better understanding of how a horse and jockey performed, and to understand how the race was won.But I do so enjoy getting stuck into the fashion coverage and seeing who the winners were in the style stakes.


Racing and dressing for the races need not be expensive and it’s accessible for everyone; you can buy a ticket for the Gordon’s enclosure for the season finale in the Autumn for around £25, sometimes less and there are other meetings at smaller tracks where you can get in for £10. I’ve rocked up to a Plumpton meeting before with a group of girlfriends armed with a picnic and wearing a high-street dress, cozy coat, no hat required. So there’s no need or pressure for racing fashion to be designer or cost a fortune.

However, as always, I do advise elegance.

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