We’re just weeks away from one of the biggest events in the racing calendar – Royal Ascot.
Kicking off on June 19, the five day event will see a whole host of royalty, celebrities and glamorous racegoers descend upon the course in Berkshire. The ever popular Ladies Day takes place on June 21.
If you’re heading to the races and aren’t sure what to wear, you’ve come to the right place.
Steeped in tradition, Ascot is renowned for its strict, formal dress code and no one wants to be turned away at the doors.
So whether you’re in the Royal or the Village Enclosures, you’ve got to make sure you get it right and if you’re an Ascot regular, it’s worth noting that there have been a few changes to the dress code for 2018.
Jumpsuits are here to stay
To everyone’s surprise, the organisers relaxed the rules last year and allowed racegoers to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure. Just make sure you choose one that is full-length, with no midriff on show.
Off-the-shoulder and bardot dresses are a no-go
The popular style of dress has been struck off the list for Ascot this year. Strapless, spaghetti straps and sheer straps have never been permitted at the races, but this now also includes off-the-shoulder, bardot style and one-shoulder dresses. Might be time to do some shopping…
Fascinators are not allowed in the Royal Enclosure
If you’re in the top tier, fascinators are no longer permitted in the top tier. Hats or a headpiece with a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter are allowed.
Socks must be worn
Gents, forget the boat shoes and no socks look, they must be worn and should cover the ankle.
Don’t even think about colour-clashing. The new dress code states “Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit with jacket and trousers of the same colour and pattern with a shirt and tie.” But if you’re in the Royal Enclosure, a black or grey morning suit must be worn.
See the full dress codes below.
The Ascot Royal Enclosure Dress Code 2018
Ladies are kindly reminded that formal daywear is a requirement in the Royal Enclosure, defined as follows:
• Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
• Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
• Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
• Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full length and of matching material and colour.
• Jumpsuits are welcome. They should be of full length with regulations matching that for dresses.
• Hats should be worn; however a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
Ladies are kindly asked to note the following:
• Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
• Midriffs must be covered.
• Fascinators are not permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a solid base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches/10cm).
Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include:
• A waistcoat and tie (no cravats)
• A black or grey top hat
• Black shoes worn with socks
A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.
The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.
Top hats by Oliver Brown are available at 75 Lower Sloane Street, oliverbrown.org.uk.
(Admitted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday only)
Girls (aged 10-17) should dress in accordance with the Ladies’ dress code. However, they may wear a headpiece or fascinator as an alternative to a hat, without any size restriction.
Boys (aged 10-17) should either dress in accordance with the gentlemen’s dress code; or alternatively may wear a dark-coloured lounge suit with a shirt.
Queen Anne enclosure and Village enclosure
Ladies within the main Queen Anne Enclosure area are encouraged to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion and ladies are kindly asked to take note of the following:
• A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
• Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted. This also refers to off-the-shoulder, bardot style and one shoulder dresses.
• Trouser suits and jumpsuits must be full length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above.
• Midriffs must be covered.
• Shorts are not permitted.
Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit with jacket and trousers of the same colour and pattern with a shirt and tie. Socks must also be worn and should cover the ankle.
Gentlemen are kindly asked to wear a tie at all times and to note that bow ties and cravats are not allowed.
Jeans and trainers are not permitted.
One thing that never changes is how race goers vie for attention by wearing a flamboyant headwear
Seek and you shall find, fashionista friends.
Nowadays wacky hats and bespoke millinery doesn’t have to come with a designer price tag – although Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty do have a fabulous selection.
High street shops like ASOS , Accessorize and department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser are also on hand for affordable creations that will turn heads (for all the right reasons) come Ladies Day.
Before you do take the plunge here are a few top tips:
DO: Go for something big. The bigger the better.
DON’T : Pick a hat that is uncomfortable – because no one wants to carry around a 2ft hat under their arm all day.
DO: Co-ordinate with a fetching outfit.
DON’T: Forget to prep and style your hair accordingly.
DO: Have fun with it.