Keeneland Attire Tips: What to Wear for a Day at the Races

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Triston Brewer

What To Wear To Keeneland featured image by the supermelon

Fans of horseracing that attend an event like this must be dressed to impress. Here, we give you all the intel necessary to look ready and regal!

It’s that time of year again!

So, off to the races in winning style, we go!

What Is Keeneland, you may be wondering?

If you’re not acquainted with the Keeneland Fall Meet, it’s a three-week series of horse races held at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.

This event holds significant historical importance in the city, and attending it is always an unforgettable experience.

Keeneland, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is renowned for thoroughbred horse racing and auctions.

It stands as one of the world’s most esteemed horse racing venues, famed for its thoroughbred horse sales. Keeneland stages a variety of races on both flat and turf tracks during its race meets, typically held in the spring and autumn.

Keeneland’s fame is rooted in its picturesque surroundings, impeccably maintained track, and the caliber of horses that compete there.

With a storied history in the horse racing industry, it symbolizes excellence in American horseracing.

For WomenFor Men
Sundress or Shift DressBlazer or Sport Coat
Wide-Brimmed HatDress Shirt and Tie
Heeled Sandals or FlatsKhaki Dress Pants
Clutch or Small PurseLoafers or Dress Shoes
Statement JewelryOptional Pocket Square
Table: Classic Keeneland Attire

The track also strongly emphasizes tradition and retains a timeless, old-world charm.

It’s also a place where fashion is prominent amongst the men and women, with many doing the most to look their absolute best for the prestigious event.

Although there isn’t a formal dress code for areas beyond the Keeneland Clubhouse, it’s essential to keep in mind that the Breeders’ Cup is a world-class global event broadcast internationally.

It encompasses the thrill of horse racing, Michelin level cuisine, non-stop entertainment, and fashion!

Style advisors suggest beginning with business casual attire as a starting point but strongly encourage attendees to wear their most stylish race-day outfits. Even with no formal dress code at Keeneland’s Clubhouse, there are some unspoken rules that are adhered to.

In most areas of the venue, note that denim and tennis shoes are not permitted, and men are expected to wear a coat and tie.

Women are expected to wear dresses and race-day-appropriate attire. Bearing that in mind, we break down the rest of the style codes that dictate Keeneland.

It’s an elevated race day look with many equestrian boots and accessories, tweeds, fall colors, fedoras and fascinators.

The fashion is glamorous and elegant, like you are looking at the autumn edition of a fashion magazine. To help you look your best, we’ve put together a few dress code tips that will help you look great at the track!


Keeneland is known for its horse racing events and a chance to dress up in a classic, Southern-inspired style.

For women, a popular choice is a floral sundress or a pastel-colored dress paired with a wide-brimmed hat and comfortable, elegant heels.

Men often wear seersucker suits or sport coats with dress slacks and loafers, along with a bowtie or necktie.

Don’t forget to add some sunglasses and perhaps a statement piece like a bold necklace or pocket square to complete your Keeneland look.

Tiered Dressing

There are several areas at Keeneland and each has its own dressing codes that guests should respect as they have a tiered dressing system in effect. If you’re going to stay near the Paddock or Equestrian Room, there’s no need to dress up very much.

Most guys can get by just fine in a nice pair of khakis and polo shirts, and women can wear slacks. You’re actually dressing for a horse race in these sections.

These are the areas nearest the track itself, and people are truly there to watch (and bet on) the horses. With that said, don’t be surprised to see a lot of dresses and sport coats in the lower-levels.

The track’s members-only turf club, the Keeneland Clubhouse, similarly requires coat and tie for men and dressy pants or skirts for ladies.

A suit or a dress paired with a pretty cardigan is always appropriate for the upper levels. In general, if you can wear it to church, then it’s appropriate.

The business casual approach here is totally acceptable for men and women and the following approaches will assist in achieving the perfect look.

Business Casual for Men

Dressing in men’s business casual attire for a horseracing event should strike a balance between sophistication and comfort. A great choice starts with well-fitted dress slacks in classic colors like navy, charcoal, or khaki.

Pair these with a neatly pressed button-down shirt, opting for solid colors or subtle patterns for a distinguished look.

To add a dash of refinement, consider layering with a sport coat or blazer, which can also provide warmth if the temperature drops.

Neckties are generally optional for business casual, but they can be a stylish accessory if you choose to wear one.

Complete your outfit with leather dress shoes or loafers, and don’t forget to coordinate your belt with your footwear. This ensemble ensures you’re both well-prepared for the event’s ambiance and exuding a sense of smart, relaxed elegance.

Business Casual for Women

For women attending a horseracing event with a business casual dress code, the key is to strike a perfect balance between style and comfort.

A versatile and chic choice would be a well-tailored knee-length dress in a classic color or subtle print. Alternatively, a coordinating color combination of a skirt and blouse can also be an elegant option.

It’s important to opt for clothing that provides ease of movement, given the dynamic nature of a day at the races. Pair your outfit with comfortable yet stylish low-heeled shoes, as you’ll likely be on your feet for much of the day.

Accessories such as a statement necklace or a tasteful scarf can add a touch of sophistication to your ensemble. Don’t forget to wear a lightweight jacket or cardigan if the weather is chilly.

This business casual attire ensures you’re well-prepared for the event while exuding an air of relaxed refinement. Additional style choices include the following:

  • A dress that extends to below the knees. Spaghetti strap dresses are fine, so long as the straps are covered with a jacket or shrug.
  • A knee-length skirt combined with a sweater or button-down blouse.
  • Dress slacks or khakis along with a sweater, polo shirt, tunic, or button-down blouse

Breaking Down Style in the Upper-Level Areas

If you plan to dine in the upper-level areas, namely The Lexington, Kentucky, or Phoenix Rooms, it’s important to adhere to specific dress codes tailored to the ambiance of each.

The Lexington and Kentucky rooms

Frequently reserved for corporate and social functions, maintain a business formal dress code, which means gentlemen should wear a coat and tie, while ladies are expected to show up in skirts, dresses, or dressy slacks.

The Phoenix Room

Another exclusive dining area, follows a business casual dress code, where men are required to wear collared shirts and slacks, and women are encouraged to wear dresses or pantsuits.

These guidelines ensure that you are appropriately attired for your specific dining experience.

Business Formal for Men

When aiming for a men’s business formal dress code at Keeneland, the emphasis is clear – an impeccably polished and professional appearance.

Start with a well-tailored, dark-colored suit, ideally in navy, charcoal, or black. Ensure that the suit jacket and trousers are a perfect fit, creating a sharp silhouette.

Pair your suit with a crisp, light-colored dress shirt and a conservative tie with a classic pattern. Don’t forget to add a tasteful pocket square for an extra touch of elegance.

Complete the ensemble with high-quality leather dress shoes, preferably in black or brown, and match your belt to your shoe color.

A classic wristwatch is all you need to exude the refinement and sophistication that defines business formal attire at a horseracing event.

Business Formal for Women

At Keeneland, the mission for women is to project a polished image while embracing a touch of elegance. Of course, the event is all about fashion and it is your opportunity to show up and take things up a notch if you so please!

A well-fitted, tailored pantsuit or a knee-length sheath dress in a dark, subdued color like navy, charcoal, or black makes for a perfect event outfit. Even if you choose to take things up a notch, still ensure that your attire is tasteful, avoiding overly flashy or styles too revealing.

Pair your outfit with closed-toe, low-heeled pumps in a complementary shade. Accessorize with understated jewelry and a classic wristwatch.

A structured handbag or clutch and a neatly styled hairstyle will complete the look. The result is an ensemble that embodies sophistication, perfectly aligned with the dress code for a horseracing event.

What Are the Best Colors to Wear to the Keeneland?

Horseracing has long been hailed as the pastime of royalty, and this regal association is precisely why Keenleand is the place to immerse yourself in purple and other bold colors.

In addition to purple, other favored colors for an autumn day at the racetrack encompass hues such as burgundy, camel, deep blue, various shades of brown, burnt orange, deep red, an array of gold tones, and a diverse spectrum of rich greens.

If you want to align yourself with these hues, consider wearing these colors as part of your ensemble and get into the swing of things during the festivities!

Spring PaletteFall Palette
Pastel Pinks and BluesRich Burgundies and Plums
Soft Yellows and GreensDeep Browns and Oranges
Floral PrintsEarthy Tones
Light AccessoriesWarm Gold Accents
Light Linen FabricsTweed or Corduroy
Table: Seasonal Color Palettes

Final Thoughts

Dressing for a day at Keeneland is not just about what you wear; it’s about embracing the tradition, elegance, and excitement of this renowned horseracing event.

Whether you’re opting for the refined ambiance of the clubhouse or the relaxed charm of the grandstand, choosing your outfit with care allows you to fully immerse yourself in the experience. 

From the timeless beauty of classic suits and dresses to the vibrancy of colorful accessories, your attire should reflect your personal style while adhering to Keeneland’s dress code recommendations.

Ultimately, remember that at Keeneland, fashion meets horseracing, creating a unique and unforgettable blend of style and sport. So, strive to look your absolute best, and then get ready to enjoy a day full of exciting races, delicious cuisine, and camaraderie from your friends and other attendees at this historic event.

Ready to take your style to the next level? Explore new looks for your next event with PocketMelon, where out personal stylist can suggest looks to make you stand out!

Discover the Art of Elegance.