Royal Ascot Style Guide: What to Wear

Royal Ascot Style Guide: What to Wear

The annual Royal Ascot Style Guide is renowned for setting the fashion tone and predicting key trends for the British summer social season

The Style Guide – first unveiled in 2012 to formally document Royal Ascot’s strict dress code – is released three months ahead of the five-day June event each year; to give racegoers plenty of time to plan their outfit.

And the Berkshire event’s organisers have become expert in spotting new trends and judging them fit (or not) for this most refined event of the Season; whilst knee-length jumpsuits are now deemed acceptable, strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses are specifically banned, along with the oh-so-trendy sockless look for men.

In a move to embrace diversity, the 2019 Style Guide also states that visitors are free to choose the gender dress code they “feel most comfortable” with, opening the door for women to dress like men and vice versa.

Royal Ascot: ‘Synonymous with sartorial elegance’

“Royal Ascot is synonymous with sartorial elegance,” according to the organisers of this prestigious racing event. That Ascot is seen as a great dress-up day is more than proven by the £33 million Ascot racegoers spend on fashion, according to Deloitte research.

“Fashion and style are an integral part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers. The annual Style Guide provides valuable support and inspiration when deciding what to wear for a day at the Royal Meeting,” adds Juliet Slot, the racecourse’s chief commercial officer.

 

The concept of a Royal Ascot Dress Code dates back to the turn of the 19th century when Regency dandy Beau Brummell – hailed as Britain’s first fashion icon- dictated a dress code for men in the Royal Enclosure.
He decreed that “men of elegance should wear waisted black coats and white cravats with pantaloons”; this set the tone for the dress code that is still adhered to by men in the Royal Enclosure.

ROYAL ASCOT STYLE GUIDE – A TIMELINE

2012 Annual Style Guide officially launched
2014 Trouser suits permitted for ladies
2017 Jumpsuits allowed for ladies; Bardot necklines banned
2018 Men must wear socks; style guides introduced for the Village and Windsor Enclosures.
2019 Cross-dressing is allowed. Hats or fascinators must be worn at all times in The Queen Anne Enclosure and The Village Enclosure.

The Royal Ascot Style Guide, in full

 

Royal Enclosure

The strictest dress code must be adhered to in this invitation-only area, where you may rub shoulders with royals; “demure” outfits are therefore required.

Ladies

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. Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted. Jackets and pashminas may be worn.
  • Tops and dresses underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure Dress Code. Midriffs must be covered.
  • Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full-length to the ankle and of matching material and colour.
  • Jumpsuits are welcome. They should fall below the knee, 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. Fascinators are not permitted.

Gentlemen

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.

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.

Overseas Visitors

Overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.

Serving Military Personnel

Serving military personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.

 

Queen Anne Enclosure

So named after the royal who founded the racecourse, back in 1711, the dress code is slightly more relaxed here in the Bandstand area, where racegoers will also have a front-row seat to the Royal Procession.

Ladies

Ladies within the Queen Anne Enclosure are required to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion and are kindly asked to take note of the following
  • A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
  • Strapless and sheer dresses and tops are not permitted. Please note our definition of strapless necklines include off-the-shoulder, Bardot and one shoulder.
  • Trouser suits must be full-length and jumpsuits should fall below the knee. Both must adhere to the neckline regulations above.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Shorts are not permitted.

Gentlemen

Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit with a collared shirt and tie, and kindly asked to take note of the following:

  • Jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern.
  • A tie should be worn at all times. Bow ties and cravats are not permitted.
  • Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle.
  • Jeans, chinos and trainers are not permitted.
Overseas Visitors
Overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.
 
Serving Military Personnel 
Serving military personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.
 
 

The Village Enclosure

A largely outdoor area, this enclosure, opened in 2017, is the first new enclosure for Royal Ascot in 100 years. Jackets and trousers are acceptable attire for men, while ladies are invited to wear wedges and smaller hats.

Ladies

Ladies within the Village Enclosure are required to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion and are kindly asked to take note of the following:

  • A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
  • Strapless and sheer dresses and tops are not permitted. Please note our definition of strapless necklines include off-the-shoulder, Bardot and one shoulder.
  • Trouser suits must be full-length, and jumpsuits should fall below the knee. Both must adhere to the neckline regulations above.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Shorts are not permitted

Gentlemen

Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket, full-length trousers, collared shirt and tie, and kindly asked to take note of the following:

    • A tie should be worn at all times. Ties, bow ties or cravats can be worn in the Village Enclosure.
    • Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle.
    • Jeans and trainers are not permitted.

Windsor Enclosure

Formerly known as the Silver Ring, this area allows picnics and has no formal dress code.

  • Ladies and gentlemen within the Windsor Enclosure are requested to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion.
  • It is recommended that ladies wear smart attire, with a hat or fascinator, and gentlemen wear a jacket, shirt and long trousers.
  • Fancy dress, novelty and branded/ promotional clothing are not allowed on site.

More from the Royal Ascot Style Guide:
What to wear: Flat season | What to wear: Jumps season

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