What to Wear to Royal Ascot: A Definitive Dress Code

At Royal Ascot, it’s not unfair to say that sometimes the outfits can outflank the racing. And if you’re heading to Ascot, you need to be sure you’re dressed right.

Wear the wrong colour, or adopt the wrong accessory, and you’ll be denied entry and forced to watch The Gold Cup from your living room.

What you need to wear depends on where you’re watching the action unfolding. There are three separate ticket types that dictate what you’ll need to wear:

  • The Royal Enclosure
  • The Grandstand
  • The Silver Ring

What Men Should Wear to Ascot

When you’re mixing with the upper echelons In The Royal Enclosure, only the very best dress will do. You’ll need a waistcoat, tie, smart black shoes and a black or grey suit. To top it off, literally, arrive with a black or grey top hat.

In The Grandstand, you can dress down a little – but not much. A smart suit, with shirt, tie and shoes, is essential to get in. And although there’s no formal dress code to adhere to in the Silver Ring, sports shoes are still firmly off the agenda. What’s more, fancy dress and promotional clothing are also a no-no.

royal ascot

(Image: Edward Betts under CC BY 3.0)

What Ladies Should Wear to Ascot

For the ladies at Ascot, things are slightly more complicated. In The Royal Enclosure, dresses and skirts shouldn’t ever go higher than an inch above the knee, while all tops need straps of at least one inch. Midriffs must be covered at all times.

Trouser suits are acceptable, but must be in a consistent tone. Hats are obligatory, but fascinators are not permitted. Shorts, of course, are a no-no.

In the Grandstand, the rules are pretty similar, except now you can wear a fascinator without the threat of eviction.

Ladies can dress down somewhat in the Silver Ring, providing that fancy dress, sports clothing and promotional items are kept at home. But if a lady can’t dress up for a day’s racing at Royal Ascot, when can she?

What Children Should Wear to Ascot

Although under-16s aren’t allowed in the Royal Enclosure on Friday and Saturday, they can attend the Grandstand and Silver Ring throughout. As with older patrons, girls should be formally dressed but can go without a headpiece should they wish.

Boys between 10-16 should dress in accordance with the gentlemen’s dress code, but anyone under 12 doesn’t have to wear a jacket.

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So there you have it – follow our guide and you’ll have yourself the best time at Royal Ascot. Ignore us and you’ll be watching at home.

Heading to Royal Ascot? Or watching it at home? Either way, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Royal Ascot, or visit our dedicated free Royal Ascot tipping page, where we’ve all the best tips, naps and NBs for the long weekend.

Fancy yourself a horse racing expert? Try out our Royal Ascot dedicated quiz here and let us know how you get on.

(Header Image: Stanley Wood under CC BY 2.0)

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