Royal Ascot takes place from 18th June to 22nd of June this year and, as always, promises to be as important event on the fashion calendar as it is for horse racing enthusiasts.
Race goers are expected to dress to impress, but also adhere to strict guidelines – every year Royal Ascot publishes a dress code in the form of it’s official Style Guide.
While Royal Ascot style is traditionally elegant, it’s not too conservative – there’s plenty of wiggle room in the dress code to make an impact. The Style Guide is also updated every year as fashion and society evolve. The biggest change this year is that while specific guidelines are still issued for “ladies” and “gentlemen”, women are now permitted to dress like men and vice versa, making the event more inclusive for transgender individuals.
So if you’re planning a trip to the races this year, here’s our guide to what to wear to Royal Ascot.
Royal Enclosure Dress Code
The Royal Enclosure has the strictest dress code, and race goers are expected to dress in formal daywear defined as the following:
- Dresses and skirts of “modest” length (no shorter than knee-length)
- Straps must be at least one inch wide
- Spaghetti straps, strapless, halter neck, and off the shoulder styles are not permitted, even if covered with a jacket or pashmina
- Midriffs must be covered
- Trouser suits are permitted as long as they are full length to the ankle and of matching material and colour
- Jumpsuits can be worn as an alternative to a dress, but must fall below the knee and are subject to the same guidelines as dresses
- A hat or headpiece with a solid base at least 4 inches in diameter must be worn
- Fascinators are not permitted.
Black or grey morning dress should be worn including:
- A waistcoat
- Tie (cravats and bow ties not permitted)
- Black or grey top hat (may only be removed in an enclosed external sitting area within the Royal
- Enclosure Gardens, restaurants, private clubs, and private gardens, terraces, and balconies)
- Black shoes worn with socks
- Top hats must not be customised with ribbons or bands
- Novelty waistcoats and ties are not permitted, however an exception is made for “patriotic” designs based on national flags.
Girls aged 10-17 should adhere to the ladies’ dress code, although they are permitted to wear a headpiece or fascinator instead of a hat.
Boys age 10-17 can wear morning dress as per the gentlemen’s dress code, or a dark coloured lounge suit with shirt and tie.
Queen Anne and Village Enclosure Dress Code
The rules are relaxed slightly for visitors to the Queen Anne and Village Enclosure, but formal wear should still be worn.
- A hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn at all times
- Strapless, Bardot, off-the-shoulder, and one shoulder dresses and tops are not permitted
- Trouser suits must be full length and jumpsuits must fall below the knee. Both must adhere to neckline regulations for dresses and tops.
- Midriffs must be covered
- Shorts are not permitted.
- A full length suit with collared shirt and tie should be worn
- Jackets and trousers should match
- Bow ties and cravats are not permitted except in the Village Enclosure
- Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle
- Jeans and trainers are not permitted.
- Chinos are permitted in the Village Enclosure only.
Children aged 17 and under should be dressed for a formal occasion. Smart summer dresses are suggested for girls and boys over the age of 9 should wear a suit or jacket with shirt and tie. Younger boys should be dressed smartly but do not have to wear a jacket or tie.
There is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure, but all visitors are asked to dress smartly. Women are encouraged to wear a hat or fascinator and men a jacket with collared shirt and full-length trousers.
Fancy dress and novelty or branded clothing is not permitted for men, women, or children anywhere on site.
Visitors from overseas are welcome to wear National Dress or Service Dress.
Serving military personnel are also welcome to wear Service Dress.
Individuals are welcome to follow either the ladies’ or gentlemen’s dress code, and can choose the style that they feel most comfortable wearing.