It’s Royal Ascot this coming week and the style stakes are higher than ever. Stephanie Smith takes a look at what dashing racegoers are wearing this year.
“Ladies are kindly reminded that formal daywear is a requirement in the Royal Enclosure.”
So begins the impeccably fashionable Style Guide for this year’s Royal Ascot, which takes place this week, with Ladies’ Day scheduled for Thursday.
Ascot sets the standard not just for race meetings, but for all British top notch special occasion events this summer, from weddings to formal garden parties – so it’s worth taking note. Amid the weird and the wonderful, expect to see some seriously beautiful outfits from women and men who really do like to make the effort.
The Style Guide is released in advance of Ascot to help advise and inspire racegoers, encouraging them to go the extra furlong in the fashion stakes, while keeping within the dress rules. As official Style Guide supporters, experts from Fenwick and Boss have worked with Ascot to “curate” looks. It’s quite the designer affair with outfits by Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and Alexander McQueen all suggested as suitably stylish and appropriate, alongside millinery from Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy and Harvy Santos.
For ladies expecting to be admitted to the Royal Enclosure, formal daywear is required, with dresses and skirts falling above the knee or longer, with straps of one inch or wider, so no strapless, off-the-shoulder or spaghetti straps allowed. Hats, not fascinators, should be worn, with a solid base with a diameter of more than four inches. Midriffs should be covered, but trouser suits are “welcome”, as long as they are full length and of matching material and colour.
Men must wear black or grey morning dress with waistcoat, a black or grey top hat (no coloured bands, please), and plain black shoes.
Rules relax a little for Grandstand admission, in that fascinators are acceptable, and men must wear a suit with shirt and tie.
Go Racing in Yorkshire has also released images from a photo shoot to preview the racing season and its popular ladies’ days. Throughout the summer the county’s nine racecourses stage their own best dressed competitions, which take place in parade rings and specially erected fashion marquees. Each individual winner goes forward to the Go Racing in Yorkshire final, which this year will be held at Doncaster on October 22. The prize includes a hotel break, a £2,500 ring and a £500 designer boutique voucher. The winner also becomes the face of Go Racing in Yorkshire for 2017.
The rules at Yorkshire’s racecourses tend to be more relaxed than at Royal Ascot, but they all vary, so go to their individual websites to check. At Ripon, for example, there is a dress code in the Club Enclosure asking that racegoers of all ages dress smartly, which means a collared shirt and smart trousers for men, or smart jeans (no rips, tears or fraying). T-shirts, sportswear and trainers are not acceptable. Women racegoers are asked to give footwear plenty of consideration, bearing in mind that the day will involve a lot of walking, often over grass.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you get dressed on the morning of a race meet.
Go Racing in Yorkshire Ladies Days for 2016: Thursday, June 16 – Ripon; Saturday, June 18 – Redcar; Wednesday, August 3 – Pontefract; Wednesday, August 10 – Beverley; Friday, August 12 (evening) - Catterick; Thursday, August 18 – York; Saturday, September 3 – Thirsk; Thursday, September 8 – Doncaster. The Final will be held at Doncaster on Saturday, October 22. For more information visit www.goracing.co.uk. The Royal Ascot Style Guide can be found at www.ascot.co.uk.