Royal Ascot begins today which means it’s officially summer!
It’s traditionally a quintessentially British event where everyone is in full spirit wearing formal attire and statement hats. To me – its the ultimate day out – horses, champaign & fashion!
I’m all for making a statement and being photo ready, but dressing for an occasion such as Ascot can be tricky if you are not used to dressing in formal attire. I once went to a ‘ladies’ boarding school with strict lessons in deportment and etiquette, so I know a little about this subject. I’m also of the opinion that fashion is a way of expressing your personality, so wearing a giant hat in all shapes & sizes can certainly give you creative freedom!
To dress correctly as lady though, the best was to nail the look is ‘understated chic’. Minimalism is key. You need to swap your oversized jewellery for small diamanté bracelet or pearl earrings and wear a dress that is clean & not busy with different coloured patterns such as a Kenzo dress for example. The focus should only be on your heels and your hat. Depending on your body size, you should either wear a dress that covers your chest but shows a little more leg or visa versa. NEVER both.
This year due to the huge fashion fopas in the past, there are strong dress codes to help:
Ladies are kindly reminded that formal daywear is a requirement in the Royal Enclosure, defined as follows:
- Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
- Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
- Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
- Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and colour.
- Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
Ladies are kindly asked to note the following:
- Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
- Midriffs must be covered.
- Fascinators are no longer permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm).
Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear black or grey morning dress, which must include.
- A waistcoat and tie (no cravats)
- A black or grey top hat
- A gentleman may remove his 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. The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.
- Black shoes
As mentioned, the hat is your statement piece, but in my opinion even a hat can be very, very wrong! (see above) Again – I’d go for a more sophisticated classic look – with the result of looking expensive not cheap! Stick to the colours of your outfit and choose a hat that suits your face shape and body proportions. Its fine to have feathers and unusual shapes, but simplicity is key.
My view is that black & white is going to be all over Ascot this year. If I was going my favourite look would be below….horse included!