How to Handle A Day at The Races in The Rain

A pink umbrella on a rainy day

If you’re all set for a day at the racecourse but the forecast is set to rain, there are several ways you can ensure your stylish outfit remains suitable for a downpour.

Unfortunately, not every day at Royal Ascot can result in beautiful blue skies and glorious sunshine.

Sometimes, racecourse fans are left to stylishly balance the dress code etiquette of a day at the races with unpredictable and often adverse weather conditions.

What does this mean for dressing for the races?

Be prepared.

If it’s set to rain, opt for a big hat to help protect you and the upper half of your outfit from any downpours.

Most racecourse events, such as Royal Ascot, will have a dress code which includes headwear for ladies, so why not ensure yours can provide you with a little extra coverage at the same time.

So as a general rainy day rule, leave anything full-length behind.

Instead, opt for short, structured dresses, paired with a weather appropriate trench or wrap coat.

Also, try to stick to leather shoes, avoiding anything suede.

Top your look off with a hat that provides maximum protection from the onset showers.

For more tips, keep reading as we show you how to handle a rainy day at the races without compromising on elegance.

What Types of Dresses Are Best to Wear on Rainy Days

Woman wearing dress and heeled shoes on a rainy day near a puddle

The dress code etiquette for days at the racecourse requires ladies to arrive in formal, elegant attire.

Simply because it’s raining does not change this dress code, be it light showers or a full autumnal downpour

So, it’s best to plan ahead properly to make sure you choose a dress that can withstand the weather.

Go Short

Where usually longer, elegant dresses might be a favorable choice for the races.

But if it looks like you’ll be experiencing showers, a short formal dress could be the best option.

Shorter dresses will be more easily protected by a coat.

They are also less likely to attract puddle and mud splashes when walking from enclosure to enclosure within the event itself.

Long Sleeves

When it rains, it often means there’s going to be a chill in the air.

Here, long-sleeved dresses can help to keep you snug so that you can enjoy the day without missing a single race indoors.

Opt for a knee-length, long-sleeved dress in a darker color for the perfect rainy-day solution.

Structured Styles

Structured dresses in sturdy fabrics are the best choice when it comes to adverse weather.

Not only will they keep you warmer but they are less likely to be affected if the showers reach you.

It is also more likely to keep up their original appearance.

Don’t Forget Your Makeup

Your makeup is just as important as your dress so don’t forget to invest in a good makeup fixing spray to help keep your face intact if caught in a downpour.

Don’t bother with fake tan.

If you know it’s due to rain, the fake tan will begin to streak on your legs, giving you one more thing to worry about on the day.

What Types of Outfits to Avoid

Woman wearing a long, elegant dress with heels on a road

When it comes to dressing for the rain, there are certainly some outfits and accessories that are best avoided.

You’ll never want to spend the day at Royal Ascot with a soaking wet gown or shoes.

So, by avoiding certain fashion pieces, you can stand more of a chance of beating any adverse weather.

Say No To Floor-Length

If it’s raining, the first thing that could spoil an otherwise elegant outfit is trailing, soaking wet fabric at your hem.

This can gradually climb up your outfit as the day goes on.

Full-length dresses, jumpsuits or even tailored trousers, which would usually be perfect for a day at the races become a trap for water.

This can give you an unstylish look and most likely ruin your shoes along the way.

Watch Your Choice in Fabrics

Certain fabrics, such as cotton, hold water and become heavy and misshaped while taking a long amount of time to dry.

Finer fabrics, such as silk, stain from watermarks.

This means that even once you’ve managed to dry off, you’ll still have to deal with those pesky circular water stains all over your beautiful outfit.

Light colors tend to stain much more than darker colors too, which makes a deeper hue the better choice.

Suede Shoes

Don’t just think about your dress when it comes to fabric choices.

Suede shoes are a stylish and elegant choice for the races, but when it rains they can become a footwear disaster.

Staining, taking hours to dry and becoming uncomfortable are just a few reasons why you should avoid a suede shoe in the rain.

What Type of Stylish Coat to Wear in The Rain

Woman wearing a formal coat and holding an umbrella in the rain

If you’re heading to the racecourse for an all-day event in the rain, it is a good idea to opt for a chic and stylish coat to protect you and your outfit from the weather.

But, not all coats will be correct etiquette for the race.

So, choose wisely to ensure you always stick to the course’s dress code.

A longline coat is a chic option for the races.

Practically, it can help you to protect the entire length of your dress from the poor weather.

So, keep your choice formal and try to opt for a palette that works with your dress.

Avoid any sort of casual coat, so puffers and parkas are a definite no-no.


The trench was designed and made for this exact reason; keeping you stylish and dry whilst in the rain.

It’s a classic style and its neutral tones mean it pairs beautifully with almost every color.

The belted waist gives you that sought-after hourglass shape, accentuating your figure.

The length is perfect to pair with a closed-toe court shoe for an elegant finish.

No matter how cold you imagine your day at the races to be, avoid a faux fur coat to finish your look if you think it’s going to rain.

A faux fur coat will soak up every inch of rain that falls on you.

This will leave you with a heavy, sodden blanket to carry for the rest of the day.

You will also leave your neighbors upset should you accidentally brush up against them in your soaking wet fur ensemble.

What Type of Shoes to Wear in The Rain

Woman wearing red dress and heels in a puddle in the rain

Choosing the perfect pair of shoes to wear all day at the racecourse can be a tricky task at the best of times.

If it seems likely that you’ll be stood in the midst of a downpour, this can become even more difficult.

It’s always going to be best to avoid open-toe and strappy shoes in the rain.

This will help to keep your toes as dry and warm as possible.

It will also help you to look a little less out of place at Royal Ascot.

Opt for Leather

Leather court shoes are your best option when it comes to formal dressing in the rain.

The fabric will repel the rain, but the style is still perfectly elegant and appropriate for the event, teaming chicly with your races day dress.

From classic black or nude to a brighter color to add a pop of detail to your outfit, leather courts are always in abundance when it comes to choice in-store.

This is due to their stylish and versatile nature.

Remember to buy and cover your shoes with good quality water-resistant spray.

Even for leather shoes, a water-resistant spray will help to further protect the fabric.

This will ensure that your shoes don’t need to be thrown away after your rainy day out.


Although not the strappy heels you might have had in mind for your day at the races, chic, ankle-length booties can be just as elegant if styled with the right dress.

They keep your toes warm in the wet weather by allowing you to wear hidden socks beneath.

In addition to this, a good leather pair will keep the rain out and allow you to continue to enjoy your day in spite of the weather.

Opt for stiletto heels and pointed toes for a sleek look that doesn’t attract too much attention away from your outfit.

Rain Boots

In the case of a real and constant downpour, sometimes there is nothing more that can be done to avoid real rain boots.

You will have to thoroughly check the dress code of your particular event but opting for chic, short, black rain boots could potentially be the only way to last the day in cases of extremely adverse weather conditions.

Steer away from full wellington boots.

Instead, try to find slimline rubber boots, potentially with a heel to add a touch of glamour to a rainy-day look.


Dressing for a day at the races in the rain might be slightly more difficult than a day without the added showers.

However, it is still possible to achieve the perfect dress code etiquette whilst remaining both warm and as dry as possible.

Don’t forget to take an ever-essential umbrella with you!

But, make sure you check your event’s dress code first to ensure you can take one in with you.

Try to invest in a stylish umbrella to help you out through the day.

From the right shoes to the perfect, chic coat, if you’re heading to the races in the wet season, plan ahead and ensure you’re prepared for the worst.

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