race fashion / Racing fashion

Royal Ascot: The Sophisticated Style Guide


I love the pomp and pageantry of Royal Ascot and with Royal Ascot officials releasing their annual style guide for the horse racing event it’s a rulebook for racing fashion aficionados to revel in.

This year trouser suits are welcome but thin straps and headpieces of less than 4 inches are off the ticket.

With hundreds of thousands of race-goers expected to head for the Berkshire racecourse between June 14-18, the annual race meeting which the Queen attends along with members of the Royal family. Royal Ascot was first organised in 1711 at the behest of Queen Anne, and attended by British Monarchs ever since.

Each day of traditionally begins with the Royal Procession in which The Queen, along with her family and guests, parade in front of the packed grandstands in their horse-drawn carriages.

The five-day meeting attracts some of the most prized horses from around the globe and features 18 races, with the total prize money in excess of £5.3million.

It is certainly steeped in tradition, but Royal Ascot would hate for us to think that they’re stuck in the past. “We follow trends. Jumpsuits are a new staple which we’re really embracing – they’re fashion forward but work for all the Ascot enclosures,” Juliet Slot, commercial director at Ascot.

In a newly-released style guide by the officials, women attending the Royal Enclosure have been asked to ensure all skirts and dressed are knee-length or longer and that trousers suits are not cropped.

“Trouser suits are welcome but they should be of full-length and matching colour and material,” notes the official style guide. They show a powder pink trouser suit (see below) by Alexander McQueen and a wide-legged, spotted jumpsuit by Sportmax as examples.

Straps must be 1 inch or wider, and hats must be worn at all times. If you’d prefer to wear a headpiece then it must be 4 inches or more.

The style guide – which is sponsored by Fenwick and Boss Hugo Boss- features bold hats by established milliners like Phillip Treacy as well as up-and-coming names such as Francesco Ballestrazi, each one adhering to the Royal Enclosure diktat.

Gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure must wear black or grey Morning Dress with a waistcoat. Top hats must be worn and must also be black or grey, while smart shoes are only welcome in black.

Things are a little more relaxed in the Queen Anne enclosure, but there are still a number of rules to note. Hats, headpieces and fascinators are all welcome, but there must be no strapless looks. Dresses with a sheer strap are equally unwelcome. For the male attendees, Morning Dress can be put aside in favour of a smart suit with shirt and tie.

Oooh so exciting. I can’t wait to see what hat Lizzie chooses this year!


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