The Royal Ascot dress code: The random rules those attending must follow

The royals always dress up in their finest clothes and hats.

Each year in June, one of Britain’s most well-known racecourses, Ascot, holds a special week of races in which The King and Queen attend. The event, titled the Royal Ascot, welcomes around 300,000 visitors over the five days and has made its name as one of Britain’s most popular race meetings.

Though those who attend the Royal Ascot direct their focus on the horses, the rest of the world watches as the royals dress up in their finest clothes and hats. What you may not know, is that the royal event has a very strict dress code that all those attending must follow.

Princess Diana  wearing a black and white spotted dress at the royal ascot.
Princess Diana’s iconic dress for the 1988 Royal Ascot. (Credit: Getty)

What is the Royal Ascot dress code?

The Royal Ascot is split into various enclosures, and each has a different Dress Code. The event boasts four separate enclosures: The Windsor Enclosure, Village Enclosure, Queen Anne Enclosure, and Royal Enclosure, however, only three of these are open to the public.

The Royal Enclosure works on an invitation-only membership and is the most prestigious section of the event – after all, this is where the royals spend their time during the event. The other three enclosures are open to the public and while each area has a varied ticket price, they all offer a slightly different experience.

Let’s have a look at the Dress Code for each enclosure…

Racegoers sit in the Windsor Enclosure at Royal Ascot
Inside the Windsor Enclosure. (Credit: Getty)

Windsor Enclosure

The Windsor Enclosure is the only area with no official dress code. However, guests are encouraged to dress in smart daywear – a hat, headpiece or fascinator is encouraged, as well as a jacket and collared shirt.

Village Enclosure

Women are encouraged to dress for a formal occasion, the only rules in play are: No shorts, midriffs must be covered, and strapless/sheer strap tops or dresses are not permitted, this includes off-the-shoulder, Bardot, and one-shoulder items. On top of this, a hat, fascinator or headpiece must be worn at all times and if the women decide to wear trousers, they must be full length.

As for the men, they are not required to wear suits but are asked to wear a jacket, full length trousers, a collared shirt, and socks. They must wear a tie at all times, however, bow ties and cravats are also permitted. Jeans and trainers are not acceptable.

Queen Anne Enclosure

All men must wear a suit with a collared shirt and tie, however, bow ties and cravats are not permitted. Men must also wear socks that cover the ankles at all times and their jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern. Jeans, chinos, and trainers are not acceptable.

The dress code for women in the Queen Anne Enclosure is the same as the Village Enclosure.

 A general view is seen of the royal enclosure on the first day of Royal Ascot 2005 at York Racecourse on June 14, 2005 in York, England
The Royal Enclosure. (Credit: Getty)

Royal Enclosure

Ladies must wear a dress or skirt falling just above the knee or longer, and shoulder straps must be a minimum width of 1 inch / 2.5cm. A jacket or pashmina may be worn, however, tops and dresses beneath must still comply. Women are able to wear a trouser suit if the two pieces are of matching material and colour. If they choose to wear a jumpsuit, it must also fall below the knee and comply with the shoulder strap requirements.

Lastly, hats must be worn. However, a headpiece or fascinator with a minimum base diameter of 4 inches / 10cm is acceptable. Fascinators and headpieces without a base of 4 inches (10cm) are not permitted, midriffs must be covered, and halter neck, strapless, off-the-shoulder and spaghetti straps are strictly not permitted.

As for the men, a morning dress of black, grey or navy material must be worn, along with a waistcoat, necktie, black dress shoes and socks covering the ankle. They must be dressed in a black or grey top hat, however, this may be removed within a restaurant or Private Box and within an enclosed external seating area, terrace, balcony, or garden.

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