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Posts tagged ‘Ascot’

THE ROYAL ASCOT STYLE GUIDE

FLOWER AND QUILL FASCINATOR, JOHN LEWIS.

It’s nearly that time again. The very British occasion that is Royal Ascot. Taking place from June 18th, we’re all very familiar with this four day event that is held just outside London.  It’s a fun, quintessentially English affair that gets a massive amount of publicity in the press, mostly due to the flamboyant fashion.

Over the years, it’s turned into a lavish occasion where people really love to dress up. This historic event was founded by Queen Anne, way back in 1711, she was an avid fan of horse racing, a sport that has always interested the royals. Although it wasn’t until 1807 that Royal Ascot became the proper occasion that we all know now, with the introduction of the Gold Cup. It’s quite the spectacle with about 400 helicopters and 1000 limousines descending on Ascot with an average of 60,000 racegoers per day. 

We’ve all seen the pomp and ceremony in the press and on television. Everyday there’s a royal procession at 2pm where the king and accompanying members of the royal family arrive in  luxury carriages. This is an age old tradition starting with King George the 4th in 1825.

Everyone always wants to see who is wearing what. Especially focusing on the Royals.  Last year, At Royal Ascot, I was lucky enough to see the Princess of Wales  and she looked amazing in her striking red outfit. I’m sure she’ll be sadly missed this year.

Royal Ascot is also a time for the celebrities to hit the headlines.  Holly Willoughby, Amanda Holden, Alan Carr and Demie Moore have all been papped in their finery.

So what to wear? Many people get into a real flap about their outfits and often confused about  what exactly you are allowed to wear. Even these days, there are quite strict dress rules in Royal Ascot.  Well I thought I give you some hints and tips, so you’ll easily glide into your perfect  outfit. There are so many beautiful ‘Ascot’ dresses out there…..

GREEN RUFFLE DRESS, PHASE EIGHT. FLORAL PRINT PUFF SLEEVE MAXI, TED BAKER. MAGENTA WRAP MIDI DRESS, PHASE EIGHT.

And there are gorgeous hats too that’ll definitely fit the bill!

FUCHSIA PINK OCCASION HAT, RED LOOP FASCINATOR, PALE GREY SATIN TRIM HAT, ALL BY JOHN LEWIS.

First of all let’s quickly talk about the different dress codes for each enclosure.

MAGENTA PLEATED A-LINE DRESS, CLOSET LONDON. RED RUFFLE MAXI DRESS, PHASE EIGHT. FLORAL FUNNEL NECK DRESS, MONSOON.

Starting with THE ROYAL ENCLOSURE. This is the most prestigious out of all of the 4 areas in Royal Ascot.

Hats and headpieces must have a solid base of 4 inches. If you’re determined to wear a fascinator you can be crafty and add a base as I did last year. Otherwise Fascinators aren’t permitted or novelty hats, or ones which are excessively oversized or promoting a brand.

 Dress and skirt wise, here in the Royal Enclosure it’s quite stringent too. As they must fall just below the knee or longer. Halter necks, strapless, off the shoulder, Bardot necklines and one shoulder garments aren’t allowed either. Open back dresses are permitted as long as the straps are one inch or thicker. Sheer or nude coloured straps or sleeves are also not permitted. But lace, coloured tulle, and organza materials are allowed. Pashminas and jackets are permitted as long as everything else underneath complies. Trouser suits of matching materials are permitted. Culottes and jumpsuits are also allowed as long as they fall below the knee. So the fabulous dresses above are all perfect!

FORMAL MORNING SUITS AND WAISTCOATS BY CHARLES TYRWHITT

For men, it’s morning suits in black, grey or navy.  Slogans or promotional messaging or cartoon imagery are not allowed on waistcoats and neckties, But, patterned waistcoats and those of a patriotic nature are welcome!  Short sleeved shirts are only permitted if you don’t take off your jacket. Men must wear black dress shoes with socks covering the ankles. 

Top hats must be black or grey in the Royal Enclosure and any hat customised with ribbons, feathers or bands aren’t permitted. Top hats are only allowed to be removed within a restaurant, a private club garden, terrace or balcony. 

FUCHSIA HALTER NECK DRESS, AND PETUNIA FLOWER DETAIL MINI DRESS BOTH BY ADRIANNA PAPELL AT JOHN LEWIS. PINK CRINKLE BURST FASCINATOR BY JOHN LEWIS.

THE QUEEN ANNE ENCLOSURE is the second most formal area. Ladies can wear halter neck and strappy dresses. There is no minimum dress length. So these wonderful ones seen here would be perfect.  A headpiece is still required but in this enclosure you can opt for a fascinator too  – hooray!

For men it’s a full length two or three piece suit as well as mourning suit as you can see below.

TEXTURED WOOL SUIT, BEIGE SLIM-FIT WOOL BLEND SUIT, NAVY BLUE CHECK WOOL SUIT, ALL BY REISS.

Then onto THE VILLAGE ENCLOSURE where the dress code for ladies is very similar to Queen Anne’s. But, men can wear suit jackets and chinos, so blazers can be different material and styles to the trousers. For ladies, strapless dresses, one shoulder, or Bardot outfits aren’t permitted. Or are sheer types of fabric or visible midriffs. Obviously, no trainers, denim, leggings or shorts.

PINK BOW DETAIL A-LINE MINI DRESS AND GREEN COTTON MINI DRESS BOTH BY ADRIANNA PAPELL AT JOHN LEWIS. COTTON STRETCH SLIM BLAZER, CHARLES TYRWHITT.

Lastly, THE WINDSOR ENCLOSURE has no official dress code, but guests are encouraged to wear smart daywear. A hat, headpiece or fascinator are preferred and so are jackets and collared shirts for men. Even here though, no fancy dress, novelty, branded or promotional clothing is permitted. If you were thinking it would be fun to have a stag or hen party at Ascot, probably think again. As novelty sashes, badges and tiaras aren’t allowed.

So now we know the rules, what styles would be good for you? Well, it would not be advisable to wear a super tight outfit. You want to have fun on the day, so it’s important you feel really comfortable. 

FUCHSIA KITTEN HEEL SLING BACKS AND PALE PINK PEEP TOE SHOES BOTH BY GABOR. CHUNKY HEEL STRAPPY SANDAL, JOHN LEWIS. RED SLING BACKS WITH GOLD CHAIN DETAIL, DUNE.

And for the same reason, skyscraper high stilettos aren’t recommended, as you need to be able to walk from the enclosures to the race stands. Most of the areas are grassy, so you don’t want to ruin your heels by them sinking into the soft ground.  You are better off with a highish pair of shoes with a good base on the heel.

PINK FLORAL MIDI DRESS, PHASE EIGHT. GREEN PRINT, FLOATY DRESS, YUMI. BLUE BIG FLOWER PRINT DRESS, MONSOON.

Royal Ascot is a really great opportunity to show off a wonderful, flamboyant outfit. Here, balancing your look is key. So in order to keep it looking upmarket, I would always focus on one hero piece of clothing. If you’ve gone big with your hat, perhaps overflowing with feathers or flowers, I would compliment the look with a fabulous block colour dress. Vice versa if your opting for a really bold statement print dress like the ones above, I would elevate this look with an elegant one shade hat. 

FRESHWATER PEARL AND CUBIC ZIRCONIA DROP EARRINGS, JOHN LEWIS. FAUX PEARL PENDANT NECKLACE AND EARRINGS, IVORY & CO. INTERLOCKING RINGS STUD EARRINGS, TUTTI & CO.

Accessories are so important, Especially jewellery. Keep it classy with small expensive looking pieces. As if you have a statement hat or a show stopping dress, you don’t want jewellery to be fighting against your look. You want to exude elegance!

CORAL MINI CHAIN  HANDBAG, JOHN LEWIS. FUCHSIA LEATHER BAG WITH GOLD FASTENING, RADLEY. TURQUOISE SATIN WRIST BAG, LK BENNET. PALE PINK LEATHER CLUTCH BAG, HOBBS. VINTAGE LOOK FLOWER DETAIL BAG, RADLEY.

The same with bags, you want to elevate your look with a well made leather handbag. Smaller, compact bags look more the part. You won’t want to lug around a big heavy tote all day. These ones here are particularly lovely especially the ones with an upmarket chain strap or the ones that you can wear easily around your wrist.

So I hope this guide has taken the worry out of all those dress rules and etiquette. And that you’ll find that fabulous outfit that’ll make you stand out in the crowd at Royal Ascot!

LOVELY FRIEND AND CELEBRANT TARA HEATH-ARNOLD AND MYSELF AT THE ROYAL ENCLOSURE LAST YEAR. WHAT FUN! MY PINK DRESS, RIXO, FEATHER & ROSE HEADPIECE, HATS BY CRESSIDA.