Royal Ascot Dress Code

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When it comes to the Royal Ascot dress code, what to wear to Royal Ascot is always a much talked about topic.

Royal Ascot fashion changes from year-to-year, with many Royal Ascot hats and unique dresses often making the fashion pages of top magazines and newspapers. Royal Ascot is not only about the horse racing action, but also the fashion.

Ascot Dress Code

Men and women both have rules to adhere to at Royal Ascot. Although Royal Ascot is primarily a five-day horse racing extravaganza in which the best equine thoroughbreds from across the globe compete against each other on the luscious turf, thousands of men and women tune in or go to the Berkshire track for the fashion aspect alone.

Royal Ascot could be considered the most fashionable sporting event worldwide, with an abundance of unique and fascinating outfits on show and multiple best-dressed prizes available over the course of the week for racegoers. There is even betting on what colour the Queen will wear each day!

Consequently, there is extra pressure on making sure you look good. But before you plan what to wear to Ascot, you have to make sure you meet the dress code.

Royal Ascot Dress Code – Men

Many will argue that it’s a bit easier for men, as morning suits and top hats are required in the Royal Enclosure. While outside of that enclosure, the general rule of thumb is to wear a matching suit and tie.

Royal Ascot Dress Code – Women

For ladies however, there are more strict dress code rules when at the Royal Ascot enclosures. These include the following:

  • Royal Ascot Dresses and skirts need to be of modest length – this is defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
  • Dresses and tops will need to have straps of one inch or greater. Strapless, or off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not allowed. Jackets and pashminas may be worn though and this is a plus is the weather is a bit on the chilly side.
  • Tops and dresses underneath will still need to comply with the Royal Enclosure Dress Code. Midriffs must be covered.
  • Trouser suits are welcome for ladies. They will need to be of full-length to the ankle and of matching material and colour.
  • Jumpsuits are also allowed. They will need to fall below the knee, with regulations matching that for dresses.
  • Ascot Hats should be worn at all times – however, headpieces that have a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter are also acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted.
Royal Ascot Dress Code

Photo by John K Thorn is licensed under CC0 1.0

Royal Enclosure Dress Code

Elegance is the key here. There is a formal dress code in the Royal enclosure that requires men to dress in full morning suit, while the ladies fashion varies from year-to-year, but it goes without saying, dressing to impress is a must.

The Royal Enclosure is the strictest in terms of dress code and only members, who are allowed to apply for badges for themselves and guests, are allowed to enter.

Ladies should wear formal daywear. Royal Ascot Dresses and skirts just above the knee or longer are permitted, as are dresses and tops with straps an inch or wider. Trousersuits and jumpsuits are allowed but must be down to the ankle. Hats or fascinators with a base of four inches or more must be worn.

Men should wear a morning suit with a waistcoat and tie, a black or grey top hat and black shoes with socks.

Queen Anne Enclosure Dress Code

Think of this being a slight step down from the Royal Enclosure. It’s still formal, with ladies expected to wear a hat, but for the gentlemen, no morning suit is required. Men still have to wear a matching suit though and a tie is a must.

The dress code is more relaxed in the Queen Anne Enclosure and ladies are allowed to wear smaller fascinators and slightly shorter dresses. They can also show more shoulder and midriff.

No waistcoat or top hat is required for a man, although a tie is still needed as part of the suit.

Windsor Enclosure Dress Code

Even more laid back dress code and men can go without a tie. Women can wear more informal dresses.

There is actually no dress code for the Windsor enclosure, but despite that racegoers more often than not still dress to fit in – after all, they are still at Royal Ascot. Suits, ties and top dresses for the ladies are still very much on show, while you can even pre-book your own picnic bench. These benches allow racegoers to reserve a picnic bench for £180 for six people (includes admission). Racegoers can then either collect a pre-booked picnic, or bring their own.

Village Enclosure Dress Code

Is less formal than the Queen Anne enclosure, with gentleman required to wear a suit and tie and ladies, Royal Ascot hats. Racegoers are encouraged to dress in a manner that will see them fit into a formal occasion.

History of Royal Ascot Dress

Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of Ascot’s year and dates back to 1911, when the week of races in the third week of June became a Royal Week. The culture and etiquette around Royal Ascot is very much tied to this evolution. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by Queen Elizabeth and other members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Royal Standard and the playing of the National Anthem.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also attend, as well as the Earl and Countess of Wessex. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and their attire often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. Hence Royal Ascot Dress is a key factor on it’s own in terms of the continued popularity, prestige and significance of the event as a permanent fixture in the British horse racing calendar.

In 2005, while Ascot was closed for redevelopment, the Royal meeting was held at York.

FAQ

Can you wear jeans to the races?

You can wear jeans to most race meetings. The Windsor Enclosure allows jeans if you dress smartly, but other Royal Ascot enclosures require dresses, skirts, trouser/jumpsuits or trousers.

What do you wear to Ascot?

You can wear whatever you want to Ascot normally within reason, but Royal Ascot requires you to follow a strict dress code.

Where can I find a Royal Ascot Style Guide?

On the internet. You can find more information on the Ascot website.

Do ladies have to wear hats at Ascot?

Most enclosures at Royal Ascot require ladies to wear a hat or fascinator.

What not to wear to Ascot?

Check the dress codes on the Ascot website to see what you can and cannot wear. Ripped jeans and sportswear is a general no-go at most racetracks.

How strict is Royal Ascot Dress Code?

The more expensive the enclosure, the stricter the dress code.

Can you wear a fascinator to Ascot Ladies Day?

Fascinators are allowed in every enclosure provided it has a four-inch base. Smaller fascinators can be worn in everywhere bar the Royal Enclosure.

Can you wear black to the races?

Yes, you can wear black.

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