Ascot Racecourse is one of the leading racecourses in the UK. It holds 26 race days throughout the year. The winter months are reserved for the jump racing. There are 18 flat race held between May and October, the highlight of the flat season is the famous Royal Ascot meeting. Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most prestigious race meetings that takes place over five days in June.
Six races take place on each of the five Royal Ascot race days. The centrepiece of the races is the Gold Cup which takes place on Thursday, the third day of racing. This is traditionally one of the most popular days at Royal Ascot and is also known as Ladies Day where you can see some spectacular Ladies Day Dresses. The day of the historic Gold Cup is as much a celebration of fashion as it is of racing.
Royal Ascot is the height of the social calendar for many, including the Royal Family. Last year Meghan Markle made her race debut at Ascot wearing a white Givenchy dress. Her Majesty The Queen describes Royal Ascot as her favourite sporting event of the year, she wore an Angela Kelly-designed aquamarine and grey Special Occasion Outfit on the fifth and final day last year.
Racegoers can choose from four enclosures: Royal Enclosure, Queen Anne Enclosure, Village Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure. The Royal Enclosure is renowned for its sartorial splendour, where Ladies are reminded to dress in formal daywear and Gentlemen are expected to wear a full morning suit. For more inspiration on what to wear according to the enclosure, take a look at each of the style guides below.
What Should I Wear to Ascot Races?
All racegoers are encouraged to dress for the occasion so whichever enclosure guests have tickets for, it’s best to make every effort to impress, especially when it comes to hats which are strongly advised throughout. Below are some general guidelines to follow to help make sure that you keep in line with the Royal Ascot dress code including Race Day Dresses.
Dresses & Outfits and skirts
It’s best to err on the side of caution, avoid such things as mini skirts and crop tops or dresses that shows a little too much skin, including shoulders and the midriff. Skirts and dresses should fall below or just above the knee, off the shoulder or strapless dresses are a definite no-no.
Hats and fascinators
Fascinators are no longer allowed in the Royal Enclosure, members must wear a suitable Ascot Hat with a solid base of 4 inches or more. Fascinators are allowed in the other enclosures and there is no requirement for the size of headwear, only that whatever you wear on your head must be worn at all times.
Royal Ascot Dress Code
Since its very beginnings, Ascot has been synonymous with high fashion. The races are renowned for racegoers extravagant and flamboyant Ascot Dresses. Each of the enclosures has its own unique character and has dress codes to match.
The Royal Enclosure was created exclusively for the guests of King George III in the early 1800s. Today racegoers can expect to mix with see owners of horses, socialites and celebrities. The standards of dress are the highest in the Royal Enclosure. For women, this means formal full-length outfits with straps of at least an inch wide. To make a real fashion statement your outfit needs to be topped with headgear appropriate for the Royal Enclosure. Men must attend wearing a classic top hat, tails and waistcoat that should all match.
Queen Anne Enclosure
The dress code is slightly more relaxed in the Queen Anne Enclosure, which is named after the founding Monarch of Ascot. The Queen Anne Enclosure puts racegoers at the heart of the Meeting, they are able to watch the Royal Procession, spend time in Champagne bars and eat food created by Michelin star chefs. As with the Royal Enclosure, women must wear correct Dresses for the Races and a hat at all times, the outfit can come with thinner straps and a less strict hemline. Men can also go with a slightly more relaxed look with matching suits shirt and tie rather than a morning suit.
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The Village Enclosure has a unique character inspired by the communal nature of a village green with entertainment from Bands and DJs throughout the day alongside the racing, pop-up restaurants and cocktail bars. It is suggested that you dress for the outdoors. That means keeping an eye out for the weather and dressing accordingly.
However, this does give ladies that opportunity to be a bit more experimental with their Ascot Dresses but strapless dresses, shorts and bare midriffs are still not permitted. Comfortable wedge shoes and sandals are recommended to negotiate the grassy areas.
The Windsor Enclosure has a picnic feel with guests situated close to the rails and all of the action. Guests enjoy the atmosphere with Champagne and Pimms bars and artisan food stalls.
There are not as many dress rules to follow here but the idea is still to dress to impress. Racegoers have more freedom with necklines and off the shoulder outfits, Perfect Ascot Hats and flamboyant fascinators are recommended.
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ISL865 – Ian Stuart