New Rules for Ascot Attire!

You had to know it would only be a matter of time before someone stood up and said enough is enough with the “trampy tots” at Ascot! What used to be a prestigious event in the racing calendar has slowly slid downhill,  in terms of fashion, as of late and become an event that is known for it’s outrageous (and we’re not talking in a good way) fashions. You wouldn’t be mistaken in thinking you’ve seen fabulous attire year after year at this event. There are still those amongst us that attend Ascot and dress appropriately. However, what has been grabbing headlines in recent years are the looks that appear to be, shall we say, less than flattering. Women in skirts so short you see exactly what it is that makes them a female, hats so large and out of this world that they often result in injury to the neck or to surrounding parties and heels so high and fantastically bright that you wouldn’t be faulted for mistaking the parade of girls for a stampede of parking cones. But now there’s a new dress code in town and it’s turning things around…

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive at Ascot, is the man calling for a change: “We have worked extensively with experts in the world of fashion to define better what formal dress means, with the overarching intention of being as helpful as possible to our visitors and assisting everyone in understanding what is expected and, we believe, cherished about the dress code at Royal Ascot. It isn’t a question of elitism and not being modern in a world where there is less and less requirement to dress smartly – far from it. We want to see modern and stylish dress at Royal Ascot, just within the parameters of formal wear, and the feedback we have received from our customers overwhelmingly supports that.”  

Love it!!! Sorry we weren’t as tactful in describing why a change is occurring.

So, without further ado… here are the official rules to live by when dressing for Ascot 2012:

Royal Enclosure – 


“Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.” This replaces the less clear instruction that miniskirts are considered unsuitable.

“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.” This clarifies that fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure. 

Additional notes:

  •  Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch (2.5cm) are not permitted                    
  • Midriffs must be covered              
  • Fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm)

Gentlemen: “Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats), a black or grey top hat and black shoes.” This clarifies that cravats are not acceptable and that black shoes should be worn with morning dress. 

Grandstand Enclosure – 

Ladies: “A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.” This replaces advice that many ladies wear hats but this is not compulsory.

“Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.” This, and several other points, illustrate better what is meant by the previous guidance that ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion.

Gentlemen: “Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and tie.” This replaces the instruction that gentlemen must wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket. 

In closing, while we do believe fashions have definitely escalated to an inappropriate level of tartness, we will miss watching the outstanding outfits at this event. It was a weekend we looked forward to more than most as it was an opportunity to catch some great fashion news!  Who’s up for starting another event with a non-restrictive fashion code?

Image source: Daily Mail


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