What you wear to Royal Ascot is as important as what you win at this world-famous race meet. This key social event in the British sporting calendar is not only a show-ground for some of the most brilliant racehorses in the world but also a fashion parade for racegoers.
Royal Ascot demands race dresses and dressy day-wear – whatever type of ticket you may have purchased be warned that dress codes must be strictly adhered to. The racecourse does have a right to refuse entry if people are not suitably attired.
So – what should you wear? As usual, for men, it's easy. A smart suit and tie is the norm but top hat and tails ( black or grey morning dress) is required if you’re in the Royal Enclosure. It is also now a stipulation that men must wear a tie. No cravats are allowed. Black shoes are also stipulated and this year the on-trend look of going without socks is not permitted in any enclosure. Bow ties and cravats are also not permitted in the other enclosures. The Windsor Enclosure is the only area where men do not need to wear a tie.
For ladies – it's a whole different matter. For ladies wanting to know what to wear in the Ascot Royal Enclosure – there are rules as to how much flesh is exposed. Not a bad thing as the flat landscape of Ascot often allows a chilly wind to whip up across the course!
Bear in mind that dresses that are off-the-shoulder, bardot neckline, halter-neck or have spaghetti straps or straps thinner than one inch are not considered suitable unless you are in the Windsor Enclosure. Plastic or see-through type straps are also a no. Miniskirts are also frowned on as is exposing your midriff! Shorts are a definite no-no.
The answer is a formal outfit – dress and bolero jacket or a fantastic dress. It is advisable to go to a special occasion boutique to find such outfits. If you buy from the high street, you run the risk of seeing lots of other women in the same dress as you. Nightmare!
Check out modern special occasion designers such as John Charles, Linea Raffaelli, Sonia Peña, Michaela Louisa, Frank Lyman and Atom Label. Veromia Occasions are also doing some stunning standalone dresses which tick all the boxes for the Royal Ascot dress code. Spanish designer Carla Ruiz offers some fabulous on trend looks with some great dresses and jacket suits ideal for Royal Ascot.
For brilliant value for money (dress and jacket from £225) take a look at designers Michaela Louisa. Smart, stand-alone dresses with sleeves by Frank Lyman will also work well and means you don't have to wear a jacket with them. Think about the cape style dresses by designers such as Dressed Up and Personal Choice that are really in too. These cover your arms elegantly but are cool and easy to wear and do away with the need for a jacket.
When it's all about the style and not the print take a look at Atom Label for great looking jumpsuits that you can wear in any enclosure except the Royal Enclosure. Just make sure you wear them on the shoulder where required by the dress code. Adding some lingerie clips can help with this.
Not only will these outfits tick all the dress regulation boxes but will also look fantastic with a hat or headpiece – another essential part of the Ascot attire. Note that a hat or "substantial" fascinator with a solid base of at least four inches across must be worn in the Royal Enclosure. Just a few feathers on your head will not do so consider hatinators – a hybrid between a hat and a fascinator. Designers such as Snoxell Gwyther and Suzanne Bettley make some amazing head-wear and these are often colour-co-ordinated to special occasion outfits. This year there is a stipulation that hats and fascinators must be worn at all times in The Queen Anne Enclosure and The Village Enclosure.
If you're not in the Royal Enclosure, dress codes still apply. Smart day-wear is a must for the Queen Anne Enclosure and the Village Enclosure with the advice to "dress in a manner that befits a formal occasion" and don a hat or fascinator at all times. In the Windsor Enclosure, no formal dress code applies but racegoers are encouraged to wear smart clothes.
Overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal national dress of their country or service dress but fancy dress is not allowed during Royal Ascot week and nor are replica sports shorts.
And finally, don't forget – a big handbag to take home all your winnings!
For younger Ascot racegoers, girls aged 10 to 16 should also dress for a formal occasion. Smart summer dresses are suggested. Hats, headpieces and fascinators may be worn but aren’t compulsory. Take a look at dresses by designers such as Smashed Lemon for funky print dresses with prices from just £65.
Royal Ascot runs from Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd June 2019
We have a great selection in our boutique here in Bournemouth but if you can't come and see us then you can shop online and try your dress in the comfort of your home. Here is a just a small selection of the styles available. To see more just visit our dedicated page to buy your Ascot dress online.
We've put together some tips on how to choose your outfit and the rules that Ascot enforce for ladies visiting the races. Follow these guidelines and you can bet on a winning look for Royal Ascot this year.
It doesn't get much better than this at Ascot. Normally reserved for members and their guests, non-members can only gain access to the enclosure and one of the restaurants with a guest day badge obtained through an Ascot hospitality package. Formal daywear is the order of the day and there are strict guidelines particularly around the style of your dress.
Right in the heart of the action you will find champagne bars and teas rooms along with raised terraces and beautiful lawns. Slightly less formal than the Royal enclosure, ladies are required to dress as if for a formal occasion.
The Village Enclosure has a unique feel at Ascot with it's Boutique Restaurants, al-fresco dining and cocktail &Champagne bars. Located in the heart of the racecourse there is a mix of music from live bands and dj's throughout the day and into the evening until 9pm. No picnics are allowed in this enclosure.
Enjoy Ascot close to the rails in this less formal enclosure at the races. Pimms and Champagne bars will be available along with food stalls but why not take your own picnic and make it that extra bit special. Just make sure you adhere to the Ascot Picnic Policy. The party atmosphere is enhanced by music or dj's till 7pm.
The information on this page is provided as a guide according to the details available as of February 2019. Please visit the official Royal Ascot website for the latest updates to ensure that your outfit conforms to the dress guidelines.