Spring Steeplechase Attire

Off to the Races

Dress / Dress /  pointed toe flat /  gold sandals / nylon handbag /  post earrings / wayfarer sunglasses / straw hat / round sunglasses

One of my favorite Spring activities is attending a steeplechase race. There’s nothing like drinking mint juleps in 80 degree weather surrounded by green rolling hills and trees off in the distance. Of course, one of the most fun things about attending a race is deciding what to wear! Since I have more than a little experience in this, I’ll offer my expertise on your race day attire.


1. The Dress: Your dress is the most important part of your race day ensemble. I worked at a Lilly Pulitzer store in college and we had to extend our hours in the weeks leading up to Charlottesville’s big race. Every girl in town came in and obsessed over which dress would be the one. After that experience, I decided that I would rather not wear Lilly because I knew I would see 15 other girls wearing my same dress. For this outfit, I chose a dress from Modcloth. A slightly unlikely vendor to choose for this occasion, but they actually have a great selection of spring, slightly preppy sundresses. Choose something A-line and not too tight. If it gets really hot, it’s best to be comfortable.

2. The Hat: We’re all careful not to get too much sun on our faces these days so a big hat is essential. Not to mention, it’s a horse race staple. I like to wear a big straw hat that’s more on the basic side so that it goes with everything, but there are endless options from monogrammed hats to big pink hats to striped hats.

3. The Jewelry: Go simple with the jewelry. Being outside all day, you don’t want to risk losing anything because you’ll never find it. I always just put on a simple pair of earrings and call it a day. I don’t need to be bothered with a necklace or bracelets when I’m outside for 8+ hours mingling from plot to plot. I love the simple, casual elegance of these gold flower earrings.

4. The Purse: I always bring a large tote with me. You’ll likely have a bottle of sunscreen, a camera, a water bottle, maybe even a flask with you so you need room to store all of it. It’s much easier to carry it around then to make trips back to the car or bus throughout the day. This bright blue tote is just springy enough in color but big enough to carry everything that you’ll need throughout the day.

5. The Sunglasses: Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses! Though your hat will offer some sun protection, believe me, you’re going to want your sunglasses. Go for a pair that is large and shields both your eyes and the area around your eyes from the sun. Maybe even throw on a cute pair of croakies!

6. The Sunscreen: You may not be at the beach, but you can get a terrible sunburn if you’re outside on a beautiful spring day. I have learned this one the hard way. Always bring sunscreen with you to a race. Apply before you leave and reapply halfway through the day.

7. The Shoes: Whatever you do, don’t wear heels! You’ll find yourself sinking into the grass all day. Opt for a simple (and comfortable!) pair of flats or sandals. If you must add a little height, because, let’s be honest, all dresses look better with heels, then opt for a pair of wedges.


Hopefully this guide will get you started in putting together your perfect horse race outfit. If you’re in the DC-MD-VA area, as many Sweet Lemon Ladies are, and are wondering where to find a race this spring, check out the races listed below. I will be at 2 of the 3 and I hope to see a few of you there!



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