top of page

"Fast Horses, Slow Fashion"

Wednesday 13th March 2024, day two of Cheltenham Festival, and officially ‘Style Wednesday’ saw the Jockey Club introduce a change that has delighted me, and some of the tabloids too.

race horse background with tabloid headline "Cheltenham'a Style Wednesday rebrand annoys all the right people"
Cheltenham encourages 'Slow Fashion' at The Race Festival

It has been a long tradition for the Jockey club to double the second day of the four-day Festival with a fashion show, encouraging ladies to enter a competition for best dressed. Only a decade ago, the whole shebang was done and dusted outside on a square of red carpet and a token balloon well before the 1st race began, as the organisers specifically said they didn’t want anything to distract from the main event – Horse Racing. By 2018 Cheltenham stopped marketing  Ladies Day.


My tradition is to scroll the headlines the morning after, to primarily view the outfits, knowing there will be a jubilant mix of creativity, monstrosities, and designer pieces. I collect my favourite and piece them together looking for a common thread to put into words that translates into my “Trend for this year’s races.”

My camera woman at the racecourse did a great job too and the result is: Goodbye Racing Green and Hello Racing Pink .

Man and women wearing Pink outfits at Cheltenham race festival on Style Wednesday
Racing Pink trumps Racing Green


To my delight, the upgraded title from the outdated ‘Ladies Day’ title to ‘Style Wednesday’ was just the tip of the iceberg. ‘Fast Horses, Slow Fashion’, was the cherry on the cake for me.

Sky news reported, A spokesperson for the Gloucestershire Racecourse said: "This year we re-launched day two of the festival as Style Wednesday to celebrate 'fast horses, slow fashion', encouraging racegoers to make more sustainable fashion choices, showcasing their unique and personal style, and to share the stories behind their amazing outfits with friends, family and on social media.

This includes re-wearing outfits they already have in their wardrobes, purchasing timeless garments to wear again and again and also buying from retailers specialising in pre-loved clothing."


I have championed sustainable fashion and been an advocate for pre-loved style for as long as I can remember. I love this, but never thought it would happen.


The Sun reported,  “Traditionally the second day of the annual horse racing event was known as Ladies Day, and would see guests, celebrities and royalty alike show off their high fashion ensembles. However, there is a huge change this year, as the day has now been rebranded as Style Wednesday – and is open to both men and women.

The awards panel will now also include a 'slow fashion' awards ceremony, which includes vintage outfits, or those put together from charity shops or online resellers.”


race horse background with headline "Cheltenham's Ladies Day goes gender-neutral in 'green' rebrand" by the Telegraph
Style entries are open to all racegoers, and the theme is 'Green'

Further reports go on to say, “Style Wednesday, which celebrates so-called ‘slow fashion’ where outfits from charity shops and online resellers are encouraged. The gender-neutral day is now as much about men, who are free to enter the best-dressed competition, which will be judged by model Rosie Tapner, stylist Gabriella Baker and Love Island contestant Chris Hughes.”  The Daily Star


This is a big change from the previous assumed custom of female racegoers donning high-end frocks and headwear, from attendees, celebrities, and members of the Royal family. Surprisingly, unlike other equestrian events, the dress code rules here are unwritten - There’s no official dress code at Cheltenham races.


While other equestrian events have always tended to enforce strict, often specific dress codes, Cheltenham has never actually had an official policy on race day attire. The expectation is that ticket holders dress smartly and the display of Tweed, Bouclé, Feathers, and Fascinators will automatically prevail - or have done in the past.


The first ‘Style Wednesday Sustainable Fashion award’ was won by Fiona Andrew, a 28-year-old model from Northamptonshire. The Daily Mail reports, “Fiona spent just £30 on her outfit, including a £5 men's waistcoat from Vinted, and was inspired by an 80’s runway look & Ralph Lauren.

Runner up, Amy Bray, wore a ten-year-old suit from M&S, paired with diamond and emerald jewellery, underneath a coat from Zara Atelier. She said the suit was ‘in the sale and cost about £60’.

In 3rd place, Richard Organ, a 78-year-old farmer from Worcestershire, wore a £32 suit he has worn at nearly every Cheltenham Festival for the last 38 years!

Holland Cooper had a huge presence at the Festival's Style Day too. Jade herself in attendance, her luxury country chic pieces for sale in the Boutique shopping village, and lots of racegoers wearing her look. The Style Wednesday winner, Fiona, has modelled for Holland Cooper - I wonder if she will choose pre-loved items from the brand next time?

I will surely be keeping a keen eye on Vinted to see what pre-loved items are available in the style of Cheltenham Races unwritten Dress Code.

 If you would like tips on styling your wardrobe, creating more outfit combinations, and pre-loved fashion, sign up here by clicking the button:



 Support my project to speed up Slow Fashion awareness.


bottom of page