Royal Ascot fashion is the cream of the crop when it comes to fashion and racing stakes. With over 300 years of history, there is a glamour and old world charm feel about the Royal Ascot. This is a place where rules and guidelines for fashion still exist. Where ladies dress like ladies and gentlemen are gallant.
There isn’t just one standard dress code for the Eventing period that is Royal Ascot. Depending on whether or not your entry takes you to the Royal Enclosure, Grandstand or Silver Ring will determine the dress regulations.
The Royal Enclosure
This is an invitation only are. Historically it was reserved for King George III, his household, family and guests. This area is still very much reserved area for the elite and wealthy. The dress code is formal in every sense of the word.
Ladies must wear a hat. A headpiece with a base of 4 inches or more in diameter is an acceptable alternative. Dresses must be a modest length. A regulation defined by Royal Ascot as to be falling just above the knee or longer. Strapless or sheer strap dresses are not permitted. Ladies who would like to opt for pants must wear full-length trousers.
Men must wear grey or black morning wear that must include a waistcoat and tie. No cravats today gentlemen! To accessorise a black or grey top hat and black shoes. I told you gallantry was back!
The Grandstand encompasses the lawns and terrace. It is the heart of the day’s activities and festivities. Dress code isn’t as formal as the Royal Enclosure but don’t let this mean you can get complacent. Strapless or sheer strap dresses are not permitted. A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times. Ladies should also follow a modest length for their hemline although the rules are a little more relaxed. So, if you dare you could probably show a little knee. Jackets and pashminas are ok, and trousers for women should be full length.
Gentlemen can also step down a little from the morning suit into a regular suit and tie combo. Hats aren’t a must and only if you would like to add a little flair.
This is by far the most relaxed in the fashion stakes for Royal Ascot. There are very few rules to adhere to but nothing drastic. There are no fancy dress costumes; novelty outfits or replica spotted shirts allowed. Patrons wearing these will not be allowed entry.
So while some people will think this is quite stuffy and old-fashioned, that’s pretty much what Royal Ascot are expecting. Three hundred years of tradition counts for something. They continue to aim for quality and tradition even in this modern world. It’s no wonder why Royal Ascot is one of the largest weeks of horse racing in the world.
Classic Racewear only, please.
Don’t let the dress regulations fool you into thinking you have limited choices. It’s quite the opposite. Choose a classic cut in trousers, skirt or dress. Add your bit of flair, creativity and individuality with colour, fabric and feathers. The sky is the limit when it comes to your hat. In past years, there have been some absolute shockers from a hat that looked like a mixed grill was attached to it, to hats that reach for the stars. If you go bold with your choice of headwear, then keep your outfit simple and classic. In some cases too much can be exactly that, too much.
It’s a great opportunity to see some amazing international horses race and an even greater chance to rub shoulders with or do a little royal or celebrity spotting. I mean, we can all enjoy a day at the races, but how many of us will be at the same race course as the Queen of England?
Put it on your bucket list and make sure you run by the fashion guidelines. Would be a shame to go all that way and be turned away for wrong dress code. The Fashion Formguide is a must for Royal Ascot.