Life

Bright colours and extravagant hats take over Cheltenham Festival fashion

The second day of Cheltenham Festival has a new name: Style Wednesday.

Racegoers dressed in bright colours for Cheltenham Festival
Racegoers dressed in bright colours for Cheltenham Festival (Mike Egerton/PA)

Rainy weather at Cheltenham Festival didn’t stop racegoer fashion from being bright and bold.

Zingy colours seemed to herald the coming of spring, with outfits in all shades of the rainbow – from vibrant yellows to vivid blues.

(David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

And it wasn’t just enough to wear bright colours, but there also seemed to be a trend for clashing hues – think blue coats worn with pink accessories, or a green suit paired with a peach coat.

If racegoers weren’t wearing bright colours, then they were experimenting with print. This was seen in houndstooth suits with matching jackets – which seemed to be an overwhelming trend – as well as more subtle tweed and tartan patterns.

(David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

The second day of Cheltenham has historically been dubbed ‘Ladies Day’, but it’s now been renamed ‘Style Wednesday’ in a gender-neutral rebrand. The day has typically encouraged female racegoers to wear their finest high-end fashion – but that’s also shifted, as the day now celebrates ‘slow fashion’.

So vintage looks and classic outfits are all on the table – but one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is the vast array of hats at Cheltenham.

(David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

The festival is known for attracting all manner of headgear – from architectural shapes to extravagant fascinators – and this year is no different.

The trend of the week seems to be a ‘more is more’ approach to hats, with voluminous feathers and floral displays sprouting from headgear.

These are the kinds of hats traditionally seen at the event, but there were also some more modern headpieces that stood out from the crowd – such as an fluffy pair of electric blue ear muffs worn by one guest.

(Mike Egerton/PA)

As always tends to be the way at Cheltenham, it’s pretty much encouraged for your hat to match your outfit in some way – after all, the headpiece is the centre of the outfit, and the rest of the ensemble is meant to bring it all together.

Queen Camilla at Cheltenham Festival
Queen Camilla at Cheltenham Festival (Adam Davy/PA)

There was also a royal presence at Cheltenham. While Queen Camilla wasn’t in quite as brash an outfit as some of the other racegoers, she still got in on the fun with a statement hat.

Camilla paired her forest green woollen coat with a hat in a subtle check pattern and a standout fur brim.

Zara Tindall
Zara Tindall (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Meanwhile, Zara Tindall made an appearance on the first day of the festival, wearing a chic navy coat with caped sleeves. On first glance, her headpiece looked rather low-key – a grey hat with a simple black fascinator – but she gave it a bit of drama with the sheer size of the thin black attachment.

There is no formal dress code at Cheltenham, instead the organisers say racegoers should come ‘dressed to feel your best’. While guests tend to come in fairly formal outfits – and few are without some kind of hat – jeans and trainers are actually allowed at the annual event.