Royal Ascot is always one of the highlights of the racing calendar.
This year the five day event kicks off on 18 June, and will see a whole host of royalty, celebrities and glamorous racegoers descend upon the course in Berkshire.
The ever popular Ladies Day is when revellers can show off some seriously impressive outfits and even more flamboyant hats.
Steeped in tradition, Ascot is renowned for its strict, formal dress code and no one wants to be turned away at the doors. So If you're heading to the races this week and aren't sure what to wear, you've come to the right place.
Last year organisers shook things up once again by banning off-the-shoulder frocks, which has now joined strapless, spaghetti straps and sheer strapped dresses on the no-go list.
But as the debate around Ascot etiquette rages on, it is worth checking exactly what is and isn't acceptable to wear on the day if you're heading to the the Royal or the Village Enclosures this week.
Make sure you've got it right whether you're a first-timer or an Ascot regular with our full breakdown below. You can also check out the full official style guide over at www.ascot.co.uk.
Jumpsuits are here to stay
To everyone's surprise, the organisers relaxed the rules last year and allowed racegoers to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure. Just make sure you choose one that is full-length, with no midriff on show.
Off-the-shoulder and bardot dresses are a no-go
The popular style of dress has been struck off the list for Ascot since last year. Strapless, spaghetti straps and sheer straps have never been permitted at the races, but this now also includes off-the-shoulder, bardot style and one-shoulder dresses. Might be time to do some shopping…
Fascinators are not allowed in the Royal Enclosure
Fascinators are no longer permitted in the top tier, but hats or a headpiece with a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter are allowed.
If you're fortunate enough to get into the Royal, Queen Anne enclosure and Village enclosure for 2019 formal daywear is a must. Here are a few sartorial dos and don'ts you must adhere to:
DO wear dresses and skirts of a modest length, defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
DO wear dresses and tops that have straps of one inch or greater.
DO wear jackets and pashminas but make sure any dresses and tops underneath comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
DO wear a trouser suits. They should be of full length and of matching material and colour.
DO wear a jumpsuits. It should be full length with regulations matching that for dresses.
DO wear a hat. A headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is also acceptable as an alternative.
DON'T wear a strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck or spaghetti strap dress or top.
DON'T bare your midriffs.
DON'T wear a fascinator.
DON'T wear shorts.
If you're looking for more fashion inspiration this is what the royal family wore to Ascot last year – including Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex wore for her debut.
Socks must be worn
Gents, forget the boat shoes and no socks look, they must be worn and should cover the ankle.
Don't even think about colour-clashing. The new dress code states "Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit with jacket and trousers of the same colour and pattern with a shirt and tie." But if you're in the Royal Enclosure, a black or grey morning suit must be worn.
Gent are required to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include:
• A waistcoat and tie (no cravats)
• A black or grey top hat
• Black shoes worn with socks
Gents are also asked to wear a tie at all times (bow ties and cravats are not allowed).
Get a top hat
All gentleman must wear a top hat, but can remove it 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 (for example with coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure. Top hats by Oliver Brown are available at 75 Lower Sloane Street, oliverbrown.org.uk.
Royal Ascot hat rules and style tips
One thing that ever changes is how race goers vie for attention by wearing a flamboyant headwear, over the years there has been every crazy, flamboyant and wildly imaginative incarnation of the humble hat. Just take a look at the beautiful and bonkers hats from Ladies' Day 2018.
Nowadays wacky hats and bespoke millinery doesn't have to come with a hefty designer price tag – although Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty do have a fabulous selection on offer if you can afford it.
High street shops like ASOS , Accessorize and department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser are also on hand for affordable creations that will turn heads (for all the right reasons) come Ladies Day.
Before you do take the plunge here are a few top tips:
DO go for something big. The bigger the better.
DON'T pick a hat that is uncomfortable – because no one wants to carry around a 2ft hat under their arm all day.
DO co-ordinate with a fetching outfit.
DON'T forget to prep and style your hair accordingly.
DO Hhave fun with it.
(Admitted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday only)
Girls (aged 10-17) should dress in accordance with the Ladies’ dress code. However, they may wear a headpiece or fascinator as an alternative to a hat, without any size restriction.
Boys (aged 10-17) should either dress in accordance with the gentlemen’s dress code; or alternatively may wear a dark-coloured lounge suit with a shirt.
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