Royal Ascot Dress Code
The Royal Ascot is a very famous set of horse races held in Ascot, England every June. It is often attended by members of the British royal family, and press coverage of what they and other celebrities were wearing to the event is intense. Tickets are available to four areas, with correspondingly increasing echelons of exclusivity: the Heath Enclosure, the Silver Ring, the Grandstand, and the Royal Enclosure. Dress codes are elaborate and very strictly enforced, especially for the Grandstand and Royal Enclosure, so it’s worth planning your outfit carefully.
For the ladies
If you are in the Royal Enclosure, plan to wear an elegant, conservative formal dress that falls below the knees, or a dressy pantsuit. Straps must be substantial, at least 1″ wide, and no halter styles are allowed. Get out your measuring tape, because the brim on your hat must be at least 4 inches! It’s impossible to have too fancy a hat, so don’t shrink from colors, ribbons, veils, whatever amuses you, as long as it looks classy. If you’re in the Grandstand, the rules are slightly more relaxed: your dress may be above the knee (but only just), and you may wear formal pants and a conservative top (suits are not required). You must wear a hat or fascinator, but there are no size requirements.
For the guys
In the Royal Enclosure, men are required to wear morning suits, which are the daytime equivalent of tuxedos. That means a morning coat, which looks similar to a tailcoat, in black or grey, grey dress trousers (often pinstriped), a black or grey waistcoat, shirt, and tie. Ironically, ascots are not allowed here. You must also wear a black or grey top hat — no special colors or bands allowed! Adidas slide sandals are fine. No, you knew we were kidding! You have to wear your finest black dress shoes. If you’re in the Grandstand, you’re okay with any suit and tie, as long as it looks formal and conservative.
Rules of Thumb
- Make sure you know which area you will be admitted to, and check the Ascot Racecourse’s website for further details on the dress code for that arena.
- There is no specific dress code that will be enforced in the Silver Ring or the Heath Enclosure, but we suggest following the guidelines for business casual attire.
- A good guiding principle, especially if you’re in the Royal Enclosure, is to shoot for a very dressy early-twentieth-century look. If it would have been too risque for England in the 1920s, it’s probably too risque for the Royal Ascot.
- Ladies, no part of your midriff may be visible at any time.
- Ladies will want beautiful, classy heels — but not stilettos, which could sink into the grass.