How to dress at this year’s Ladies Day at Brighton Racecourse

How to dress at this year’s Ladies Day at Brighton Racecourse

With over £500 worth of prizes to be won, along with several bottles of free champagne, the need to look sharp and dress to impress has never been so high at this year’s Marathonbet Festival of Racing at Brighton Racecourse.

These are the prizes on offer to the lucky recipients of the best dressed attendees at Ladies Day on the 9th August, given to the racegoers adopting the most eye-catching, extravagant and stand-out outfits.

Not only does Ladies Day, the highlight of the three-day festival, celebrate Brighton’s wonderful diversity and adversity, it also poignantly represents the city’s quirks with some fabulously outlandish dresses and hats on show.

Michelle Scott, the owner, buyer and designer at Brighton-based boutique Pretty Eccentric, has issued some welcome advice for any racegoers struggling for ideas to stand out from the crowd.

“It’s an opportunity to dress up, and I think that colour is important, especially at the races,” Scott suggested. “People like to wear dresses, they’re really popular but obviously you can wear two-pieces – but dresses make a good, statement look.”

The designer offers her recommendations to racegoers on a range of topics; from the latest trends to easily avoided mistakes, from vital accessories to making your dress your own.

The critical importance of ‘on point’ accessories:

Everyone likes a good reason to dress up, they like to think, right I can go and find myself a lovely frock, and quite often I have people coming in to Pretty Eccentric saying they love the smaller stock but where can they wear them? Race day is the perfect opportunity to wear a fabulous dress and then if you want to go to town – Ladies Day is the day to do that.  

I suppose in this instance; a hat might come in handy just for a practical reason. With a hat you can think about customising it and putting your own mark on it so if you say you need a hat because it’s such a hot day, find a rose or a fake flower and match that to your dress and bring that colour of your dress into the hat. Make it your own.

One item I would recommend is a lovely pair of earrings. A fabulous pair of earrings that work with your headwear just brings it all together really nicely.

Common mistakes racecourse rookies can easily avoid.

I think if you haven’t been to the races, heel height is a common mistake. If you want to wear a high heel, go for a wedge – that would still look high but you’ve got comfort there, too.

If you want to look classy and you want to look elegant and appropriate for race day, then just wear something that cuts well, fits well, something that you feel comfortable in because that’s the other mistake – you wear a dress that doesn’t exactly fit or is cut too low.

This season’s latest trends, what’s in and what’s not:

Red has been really popular this season. Greens and aquas are good because they’re easy to wear against the skin. Navy is just always a popular summer colour, and every season you can’t really go wrong with navy. 

If you have any one of those colours, go for a pop of colour for your shoes. So, for instance, a red shoe with a navy dress or even with a green dress works really well together – it makes you stand out from the crowd.

Aside from the competitions for the extravagant outfits on show, the horse racing replicates Brighton’s diversity. The Silk Series, an initiative started in 2017 that is specifically aimed at giving female jockeys the chance to perform on a big stage, and in faster conditions, is sure to be the highlight of Thursday’s racing at 5:00pm, with the Brighton Challenge Cup race coming just before that.

The three-day event is the highlight of the Brighton racing calendar, and promises to be one of the most unique experiences racegoers will have the pleasure of attending. 

Tickets for the Marathonbet Festival of Racing (8-10 August) start from just £15 and are still available across the three days at