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Racing Fashion

We're halfway through the racing season but there's a lot more to come - Ascot, Goodwood, Sandown Park, Cheltenham, Newmarket and other courses all have big events lined up - and this means it's time to start thinking about some glamourous summer outfits. Looking good for the races, or for summer weddings, when it's hot and you want to look good without revealing too much flesh can be stressful. Wearing all black can seem a bit too much for a summer event.

We think a classic, pretty dress - avoiding anything that looks like it is for walking down the aisle with black heels, black bag and black accessories will do the trick. Whilst there is a lot of emphasis on fashion at the big race meetings such as Royal Ascot, The Investec Derby or The Grand National, dress codes are generally more relaxed at other venues. Premier or Members enclosures will often require smart casual attire - if you're unsure of what the dress code entails on a particular day though, it is best to check with the racecourse.

Officials can be strict about entry to anyone unsitably dressed. This is especially true at Royal Ascot where the rules are very stringent. Strapless, halter or spaghetti-strap dresses are banned, as are obvious midriffs. Straps must be wider than an inch; dresses and skirts must be knee-length. Hats are necessary in the Royal Enclosure and Grandstand. Fascinators are forbidden, as is any headpiece with a base of less than 4in (10cm). Trousers must be full-length.

Dresses are a popular choice for racegoers but don't forget to consider pairing chic separates for a pulled-together look. Dress options are numberous and the choice can be overwhelming, so stick to silhouettes that suit your shape and can be comfortably worn all day. Shift cuts are simple and practical, offering a style for most shapes and heights.

Adding a cropped jacket or cardigan can cover upper arms and provide layers on cooler days. Alternatively, cut a sleek silhouette in a floral print to enhance your shape. This form fitting style features a fitted waist and elegant design to create a streamline effect. If the weather is warm, opt for natural, lightweight fabrics such as silk-blends, linen or cotton to keep you cool and comfortable.

Accessories can lift an outfit from acceptable to sensational and the races are a good time to experiment with different styles. Even if you're not required to wear a hat, they can add grace and poise to your look, so why not try on some shapes to see what suits? From ultramodern fascinators to traditional pillbox styles, there's a huge range of structured styles perfect for Ladies' Day.

Shoes can make a statement all by themselves. If you're keeping your look simple, go all out with some statement heels to make an impact - block heels are a practical solution to day-long wear. Alternatively, don't rule out flats - a super-cute of embellished style can be as pretty as a sky-high stiletto. Shop: For the Races