What to wear to the Grand National

What to wear to the Grand National

For me, the way fashion at the Grand National is portrayed by the press is a bit of a bugbear. For many Liverpool ladies, the National is THE perfect excuse to get dressed up. You have to hand it to them, girls attending the Grand National really love to dress up, make an effort and have a good time and will spend a good few weeks if not months planning their perfect outfit. Being from Merseyside myself, this is something that's quite close to my heart, and I can't stand to see the press the following day focussing on the "fashion faux pas" of the day, and the girls who have spent so long getting ready (and fair play to them, have managed to stay standing in 8" heels all day long) are made fun of in the papers and pictured shoe-less, drinking from a plastic glass and laughing sat on the kirb at the end of the day. Every race meeting has it's not-so-good fashion moments, but Liverpool girls get the brunt of it after the National. I know that each of these ladies will have felt so special getting dressed up for the occasion. This post is intended as a bit of inspiration for what to wear to the Grand National - I'm a big believer in wearing what you're comfortable in and would never want to change the National for what it is already - this is just my own personal style picks!


I love a midi with a fine knit. It's classy, usually weather-appropriate, and timeless.

Try a full 50s style skirt, it'll ensure a flattering fit and perfect length. A fitted sweater is a classy cover-up to compliment the skirt which won't make you look too over-dressed and will ensure warmth on the day - being either of the first 2 weeks in April, the weather at the National isn't ever scorching even if it is sunny. A more structured midi skirt looks great with a pretty sleeveless blouse or loose tee, (plus no torrential rain and wind will be whipping this one up over your head - the comfy knickers are safe!) Finish with a pair of simple court shoes for a timeless look. For taller ladies, ballet pumps or pretty embellished flats will also look fab with this style.

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A pencil shape is perfect. Elegant and demure, you can't really go wrong with this look.

I personally love this look although it's not something that I tend to wear that often - I have to keep pencil shapes and tighter fitting styles for those rare occasions where I'm not going to be eating too much otherwise I feel like I need to un-zip! The races is the perfect time to go for it. Go for a pretty pattern to make sure the look is more occasion than office, team with a box clutch and classic courts or sandals if the weather permits. Cover up with a fitted blazer or don't be afraid to wear a light weight coat if it's a grey day.

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The faithful jumpsuit! Super comfortable and stylish at the same time - what's not to love.

The faithful jumpsuit is perfect for a day at the races, especially one that isn't overly formal or strapless. Showing just the right amount of flesh to still be classy, a jumpsuit like this one teamed with simple strappies and a wide brimmed hat also gives a nod to the 70's trend.

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A bit about hair and makeup...

During my years as a hair and makeup artist, I have definitely learnt a few things. For hair, effortless and something that's not too 'done' is usually the best route to go down for an occasion like the races - whether that's an up-do or down style. Hair pinned out of the way means if the weather's bad then you don't need to worry (too much anyway!) and natural hair left loose is low maintenance and classic. We're loving a ponytail at the moment too, perfect for this season and the ultimate low-maintenance style. If it's good enough for Cara....

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Makeup for the races needs to be lasting - it's a long day that usually ends up leading into a night out too! I love a matte look and swear by my Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation to guarantee I still have my face on at the end of the night, or for one that's more photo-friendly (ie no SPF) try Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation. It's beautiful. (Check out our full review of the best long lasting foundations here) If you're not a big makeup wearer, and fancy a bit of a makeover for the day, I'd recommend you try Peaches and Cream in Liverpool!

The hat/fascinator debate

We're a bit split in the office on this one. We love a vintage style pillbox hat, obviously. Fascinators are a bit more of a controversial one for us though. The more hat-like the better in my opinion, and one that contrasts your outfit rather than matches entirely. I did once wear a full brimmed woven hat to one rainy National day for a more casual hat style, plus it really did save a lot of messing with an umbrella when nipping in and out of the stands! Remember that Aintree don't request for ladies to wear hats unlike Ascot, so don't worry if you don't fancy wearing one at all.

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The races are a day-time occasion, so personally I try to keep that in mind and wear something that I would also consider appropriate for a wedding or for a lunch in a dressy restaurant. I'll leave you with 2014's winner of Best Dressed Lady at Aintree, Becky Knightingale. Love the pastels!

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