As one of the most notably glamorous events in the sporting and social calendars, Royal Ascot is worth visiting for the fashion alone. This year’s races will kick off on Tuesday 19th June, meaning there’s just enough time to get your hands on an outfit worthy of this stately event. Given that there’s a strict dress code, formality is key; with that in mind, here’s what you should be wearing to Royal Ascot.
Make it a midi
Dresses and skirts must be knee length or longer, though we think maxi dresses feel that little bit too carefree for an event where the Queen is in attendance. Luckily, midi is the length of the season, and falls exactly where it’s supposed to. Stick to the formal dress code with a tailored silhouette and up the ante by choosing something in a bold colour.
One thing to bear in mind is that dresses and tops should have straps ‘of one inch or greater,’ so keep this season’s bardot and one-shoulder styles for your hols, because they’re just not going to cut it at Ascot (even if shoulders are covered with a jacket). Halter necks and sheer straps are also not allowed, so forego any illusion necklines and choose a sleeved or thick-strapped design instead.
Jumpsuits are allowed
Thanks to a change in the dress code last year, jumpsuits are likely to make a welcome appearance at Royal Ascot once again. Recognising the ‘fashion-forward tastes’ of its guests, the change revealed a modernising of the event, as well as its sartorial smarts. Tailored styles are preferred and full-length is a must; no midriffs should be on show, and strapless designs are still not permitted. Keep things modern with a tux jumpsuit or a wrap front; a belted waist will win the (fashion) race.
So are trouser suits
Lastingly elegant yet undoubtedly modern, trouser suits are one of our favourite looks for the races. Bottoms should be full-length to the ankle, and suits should be ‘of matching material and colour.’ Balance a classic black tux with a chiffon blouse in contrasting ivory; grab your clutch bag and throw on some court heels for a sleek, sharp finish. If you want to stand out amongst a sea of pastel pinks and feathered fascinators, this one’s for you.
Cover up in style
Jackets and pashminas can be worn for the duration of the event, but as mentioned, dresses or tops worn underneath must adhere to the rules regarding straps and necklines. A cropped jacket in a versatile hue will keep the afternoon chill out (this is England after all), and still show off your outfit underneath. A fitted silhouette and subtle detailing has a feminine appeal that’s perfect for pairing with a ladylike dress – particularly if it’s full-skirted.
Accessorise in accordance
This year, fascinators will not be allowed at Royal Ascot, as the event aims to encourage guests to wear classic, couture-like headpieces instead (and possibly put a stop to those jiggling, feathered creations we mentioned earlier). The rules state that those in the top tiered enclosures should wear a hat or alternatively, ‘a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches or more in diameter.’ The Village Enclosure is an outdoor area; Royal Ascot has noted that here ‘wedges are recommended in place of stilettos.’ Basically, be smart about your accessories at this year’s races and choose classic, rather than trend-led pieces; save your mermaid crowns and floral headbands for festival season.