Ready to Raceday: The 101 on how to get yourself prepped for a day at the races

Auckland's summer of racing is nearly here which means it’s time to frock up and enjoy a drink or two… oh and watch a race, obviously.

If you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to getting yourself sorted ahead of the big season, then let us help you out with a few of the basics...


First things first - get that outfit sorted

While there's a lot of rules around raceday fashion – let's face it, sometimes they just need to be broken (to a point, anyway!).

If dresses aren't your thing, how about rocking out in something like this Zimmermann boilersuit (pictured) or this Trelise Cooper pant suit (get it while it's hot as it's on sale)… add a cool headpiece, some killer heels and you'll be looking HOT TO TROT (or gallop, as the case may be).

If you'd prefer to play it safe in the outfit stakes then pretty prints will always be your friend (oh so elegant!) - just stay well away from the sequins, crops and hemlines that could elicit a heart attack from your father.

Lads – the same goes for you. You can also break those rules, within reason.

We love a man in a black suit, but how about going the whole hog and making it a morning suit which we're sure the girls (and guys!) will appreciate.

Failing that, consider adding a bit of colour. By way of example, Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day in March calls for a touch of blue, so a blue suit, tie, shirt or pocket square could be just what your outfit called for. Heck, even a bow tie is totally AOK to wear to the races.

Your head wants to get dressed up too

While 'fascinator' may be bad word these days, you should still have something on your head. It's the one 'rule' that can transform an outfit into racewear and in these days of dressing down or wearing not-much-at-all, consider this a great excuse to live out your 'extra' dreams.

A hat, a headpiece (2021's fascinator), a crown, a bow – heck, even a scarf, are all excellent go-tos.

And for the lads? If you're into a hat then by all means GO FOR IT (also very useful on those days where the sun's beating down and you're sweating bullets in your suit).

What should men wear to the races | Ellerslie Racecourse
We won't lie - we're big fans of a man in a hat at the races

Otherwise though, don't leave for the track without first giving the hair a brush and trimming that beard.

It's the little things

For the girls, that means hair, shoes and make-up.

Shoes first... you DO NOT want to be that person who either can't walk in their stillettos or last the whole day in them. While it's amusing for everyone else watching that one person departing the racecourse sans stillettos, don't let that person be you.

For a day at the track, block heels and wedges are your friend. Comprendé?

In terms of your mane, nearly anything goes. Just bear in mind how what you're putting on your head may look with how your style your hair.

How to do your hair for the races | Ellerslie | Gabby Cashmore
A sleek pulled-back hairstyle will help make your headpiece stand out from the crowd

A sleek, pulled back style can work with all number of headpiece styles, but soft and flowing locks are probably better suited to a more low-key headpiece.

Whatever you're doing with it, remember that headpieces and waves stay in better with 'slightly dirty' hair, so plan to wash it at least a day out from showtime or get that dry shampoo at the ready.

We LOVE makeup but with racedays often being full days in the sun (DAY being the operative word here), something that can go the distance is imperative. The last thing you want is that dark & smokey eye slipping down your face because of the heat (also, since when was that look daywear anyway?).

Hannah Marinkovich | Ellerslie Races | Makeup for the races
Our ambassador Hannah Marinkovich always nails that effortlessly-easy-but-oh-so-gorgeous-and-natural makeup look on racedays (we want what she's having!)

Our suggestion is a fresh base with your choice of either a bold lip (for those who can remember to touch-up as needed) or a neutral lip that will take you from morning, to afternoon, evening and maybe even beyond.

You lads get it a lot easier! Just make sure your suit's clean, the shirt's been washed, the hair's had a brush and the shoes are ready to go (if they're not, we do have a shoe shiner on our bigger days who'll have them buffed and ready in no time – compliments of us).

Menswear shoes at the races | Ellerslie | What to wear to the races
Make sure your shoes are raceday ready lads! If not, we offer complimentary shoe shining on some of our bigger racedays

And voila! Now you're ready for the time of your life at the races here at Ellerslie.

To get yourself trackside and make the most of all that hard work you've put into looking raceday-ready, check out our event calendar now


Don't forget that any ticket (or tickets!) that's purchased to the 2021/22 season before 1 September 2021 gets the purchaser in the draw to WING their way to the races.

One lucky racegoer and up to five friends will get flown to the races here at Ellerslie in a helicopter, collected from the landing spot by golf cart and taken straight to the gate of their precinct - VIP or what?!

Use the promo code FLY when purchasing your ticket to go in the draw

(Terms and conditions apply).