There are plenty reasons to love April showers, but we all know the biggest—they bring the big, red flowers that are draped across a Thoroughbred on the first Saturday in May.
While we love the first Saturday in May, the rain we endure to get there presents fashionistas with a little problem: just how does a lady look chic when rain is pouring down on her?
In the Trenches
On rainy race days, a coat is the most important element for women. It needs to be not only fashionable, but also practical. My favorite is the classic trench, but a bright pea coat can also do the trick. When selecting from your options, ensure your pick for the day keeps you warm and dry—you’ll be one miserable railbird if your coat is soaked through. But, as always, there’s no need to sacrifice style for purpose. Visit your local J. Crew or Banana Republic for some fabulous options.
Under the Coat
Not everyone wears dresses to horse racing’s biggest days. When it comes to rainy days, you may want to trade your dress for a warm sweater and chic, dark jeans. Feel free to pull your blouses and sweaters from your closet and your chic jewelry from your jewelry box.
If you’re set on wearing a dress, opt for one that’s of a darker shade, or lined. In the off chance you get wet, you won’t want your dress to suddenly be see-through. It’s also a good idea to wear a dress with sleeves for the added warmth. Save your sleeveless dresses for a day when you can really show them off.
If you plan on spending most of the day inside, there’s no reason to not wear heels to the racetrack on a rainy day. However, if you plan on visiting the paddock and standing at the rail, you may want to opt for a more practical option. Puddle jumping in heels isn’t my idea of fun at the racetrack, and wet feet in heels means nasty blisters. If you’d rather focus on more important things, like reading past performances and cheering for your favorite jockey, go with the boots. My favorite boots for rain are brightly colored Hunter boots, ranging from firehouse red to neon orange. These boots are not only fun and fashionable, but they also keep your feet warm with cute sock options. If you’re feeling less risky, a simple brown or black knee-high boot is your best bet.
You may feel like cowering in the clubhouse all afternoon but I would never let the rain keep me from what I love most: the horses. There are plenty of cute and sophisticated umbrella options so you can head out to the paddock or down to the rail without fear of getting drenched. A dome, or bubble, umbrella is the best option for heavy wind and rain, while a more compact umbrella is best for the occasional rain shower. Pick a color that corresponds with your outfit and march out into the rain with confidence.
Among the many options for rainy weather hats are cloches. While understated, cloches can add a subtle sophistication to your look. They are not fussy and could be seen as an easy option for style. Wide-brimmed hats also have their place in the rain, but you need to ensure that they won’t be ruined by moisture. Some may get heavy and slouch, while others may look like a mess of wet flowers and feathers. Many will hold up against the rain, but it’s best to know how yours will react before the rain ruins an expensive and favorite hat. And if you choose to go with a fascinator, make sure your hair will hold up in case you get rained on.