LOOK THE PART
While the racing takes centre stage, it’s fair to say that Royal Ascot is just as famous for the action off the course. The eye-catching parade of hats, fascinators and floral numbers is one of the time-honoured traditions at the festival and goes to show that sartorial creativity needn’t be stifled by the Duke of Devonshire’s strict dress code for the Royal Enclosure:
‘Only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.
‘Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat. A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.‘Overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal national dress of their country, or service dress.
’For the Grandstand, the dress code is slightly more relaxed. While the likes of jeans, trainers and sportswear is unacceptable, men are entitled to wear just a shirt and tie, but a suit with jacket is preferred. Ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion (read: knee-length dresses or trouser suits). Many women choose to wear hats too, but it’s not obligatory.