Deighton Cup Etiquette: How to dress, act, and bet at the racecourse

Jul 11 2016, 10:40 am

Racing day is an opportunity for fashion goers, race aficionados, and socialites to mix and mingle while celebrating a tradition rooted in showmanship, fashion, and etiquette. With Deighton Cup just days away, it’s important for event-goers to polish up on the do’s and don’ts of this highly anticipated event.

Here are three tips to make sure you avoid any faux pas:

1. What to wear


Traditionally, and still the case at the highly anticipated Royal Ascot Horse Races in England, women are urged to avoid halter-tops, crop tops, and mini skirts. However, our considerably laid-back west coast culture permits a more casual attitude towards fashion compared to our European counterparts.

Image: The Glass Eye

Image: The Glass Eye

“While Vancouver is known for a more laid back sense of style, it’s nice if one’s outfit includes a nod to the way they do it up in the UK, so a fancy hat or fascinator, is always a welcome addition to any Deighton Cup look,” says Erin Sousa, founder of Sparkle Media and Deighton Cup Style Stakes Judge.

When in doubt – keep your outfit classy. Focus on good quality fabrics, classic cuts, and timeless pieces. Think: Jackie Kennedy or Kate Middleton at the races.


Traditionally, ladies adorn large tasteful headwear embellished with feathers, crystal, and ribbon. As far as hat etiquette goes, make sure you feel comfortable in your chosen piece and don’t let the hat wear you. Constantly having to adjust your hat will make you feel, and look, out of place. Remember to allow either your hat or your outfit be the focus. Having both pieces compete with one another can leave you with a loud outfit that, if not matched with a naturally loud personality, can leave the wearer feeling less than confident.


“No brown around town” is a phrase the British often use to differentiate between shoes for non-formal events and formal events like race day. However, brown shoes, simply put, are still a popular go-to shoe for daytime events and are permitted at formal events in Vancouver. If you prefer to opt for traditional black, a Brough-style shoe is an option as the perforated design may help create a “lighter” look for the dark shade. Waistcoats, bowties or ties, and top hats will complete your day at the races look.

Image: The Glass Eye

Image: The Glass Eye

“Shying away from the traditional raceday look can take away from the experience of those around you,” says Crystal Carson, Deighton Cup Style Director, who encourages attendees to have fun and play the part.

If you opt for a top hat, it’s courteous to remove it when mingling in more private areas such as a private box.

If you’re feeling nervous about where to go for accessories or style inspiration, visit the Deighton Cup Fashion Marketplace for endorsed fashion shoppes.

2. How to have top-notch table manners

While the food at the Deighton Cup won’t be laid out in a formal three-course setting found at most formal events, it’s still important to exhibit proper Dining Etiquette. From the looks of this year’s menu, event-goer’s are in for a delicious treat of Korean BBQ, Beef Brisket Sandwiches, and an assortment of Canapés perfect for walking around and mingling.

Deighton Cup is a highly photographed event and it’s important that you keep yourself looking sharp and put together throughout the event. How can you achieve this while devouring your Fried Chicken Waffle Taco? (Yes, that’s on the menu!) It’s always good to remember to “dab before you drink” to avoid transferring food onto your glasses. You don’t want to be the person licking garlic mayo off the rim of your cocktail glass!

Also, don’t be the person rushing to the front of the lines once food trucks open. Take your time, show control, and offer assistance to anyone who might need an extra hand. It also might be a good idea to consider having a snack before the event so that you aren’t stuffing yourself later because you’re starving.

3. What about placing bets?

Amidst the fashion and socializing, it’s easy to overlook the main attraction of the event. Placing bets on horses can be intimidating if you’ve never participated before, or if it’s your first time at the racecourse. Maintain your manners and patience while waiting in line and establish your budget prior to arriving at the event. And if you do well by winning, try to keep the gloating to a minimum. Showing off is always considered in poor taste.

Image: The Glass Eye

Image: The Glass Eye


Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud media sponsor of Deighton Cup

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