Royal Ascot this year runs from 19th June to 23rd June 2018. The most elegant racing event of the year is also one of the UK’s biggest fashion events and has a strict code that guests must adhere to. It’s been known for women to be turned away in previous years because of a too-short dress, and special “dress code assistants” roam the enclosures, handing out hats, pashminas, and ties to those who have neglected to follow the dress code.
If you’re heading to Ascot this year and don’t want the embarrassment of being turned away or being forced to wear a standard-issue hat, you’ll want to make sure you choose your outfit with the dress code in mind.
The dress code varies slightly depending on which enclosure you have tickets for. Fancy dress, novelty, and promotional clothing are not allowed anywhere at Royal Ascot.
The Royal Enclosure has the strictest, most formal, and most traditional dress code but the event organisers make sure to keep their fingers on the fashion pulse and adjust guidelines accordingly – jumpsuits were introduced for the first time last year.
Ladies must wear formal daywear with the following restrictions:
• Dresses or skirts that fall to the knee or longer
• Straps must be at least one inch wide (spaghetti straps, halter neck, strapless, and off the shoulder styles are not permitted)
• Jackets and pashminas may be worn
• Full-length trouser suits of matching colour and material may be worn
• Full-length, to the ankle jumpsuits may be worn
• Either a hat or a headpiece with a diameter of at least 4 inches should be worn (fascinators and other headpieces that do not meet this requirement are not permitted).
The men’s dress code is dictated by the personal style of 19th century fashion icon Beau Brummel – famous for polishing his boots with champagne.
Gentlemen must wear a black or grey morning suit including:
• A waistcoat and tie (cravats are not permitted)
• A black or grey top hat
• Black shoes with socks
• Top hats must be worn except inside restaurants, private boxes, and enclosed external seating areas
• Customisation of top hats is not permitted
Children aged 10 – 17 should dress according to the ladies’ or men’s’ dress code. Boys may wear a dark coloured lounge suit with a shirt instead of a morning suit, and girls may wear a headpiece or fascinator instead of a hat.
Overseas visitors and military personnel are welcome to wear service dress or National dress.
Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure
The rules are relaxed a little in terms of hemlines, straps, and headwear for the Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure. Ladies should dress for a formal outdoor event and keep the following dress code in mind:
• A hat, headpiece, or fascinator should be worn
• Strapless, off the shoulder, one-shoulder and Bardot style tops and dresses are not permitted
• Trouser suits and jumpsuits must be full length and not of the restricted styles for tops and dresses
• Midriffs should be covered
• Shorts are not permitted
• Wedges are recommended instead of stilettos for practicality reasons.
Gentlemen should wear a suit with shirt and tie (not a bowtie or cravat). Suit trousers and jacket should match. Shorts, trainers, and shorts are not permitted.
Girls aged 17 and under should be dressed formally in a smart summer dress or similar and hats are not compulsory.
Boys aged 13 – 16 should wear a suit or jacket with shirt and toy but younger boys do not need to wear a jacket or tie as long as they are dressed smartly.
The Windsor Enclosure has the least restrictive dress code but guests are asked to dress smartly for a formal occasion with a hat or fascinator for ladies and a jacket, shirt, and long trousers for men.