Jumpsuits are in but Bardot necklines are out: The 2018 Royal Ascot dress code

Dress code
The dress code for Royal Ascot 2018 has grown even stricter [Photo: Getty]

Tomorrow, Britain’s leading socialites and members of the royal family will don their finest dress for Royal Ascot 2018.

The namesake races, held in Windsor, are circled as one of the most highly-anticipated events in the fashion calendar. Its strict dress code gives the annual gathering a sense of tradition, as guests must don everything from top hats to midi dresses.

But each year, the rule book changes.

Dress code
The Duchess of Sussex broke royal protocol at her debut Trooping the Colour thanks to her Carolina Herrera cold-shoulder dress [Photo: Getty]

For the first time in its sartorial history, Bardot-style necklines are now banned from the prestigious racecourse despite the Duchess of Sussex‘s Trooping the Colour look.

Jumpsuits on the other hand are now common place after finally being introduced last year.

But with an extensive list of sartorial rules and regulations, what can and can’t Royal Ascot guests wear this year?

What can women wear to Royal Ascot 2018?

The Royal Enclosure

For those of you who have bagged a golden ticket to the Royal Enclosure (say hi to Queenie for us), there’s a strict list of fashion rules you must adhere to. Otherwise, prepare to be turned away at the door.

No mini dresses allowed

If you choose to don a dress then guests must ensure that the hem falls at or beneath the knee. Thankfully, midi dresses are all the rage now (just look to the Duchess of Cambridge for regal inspo).

Dresses should bear one-inch straps

Even if you decide to wear a jacket or pashmina, don’t be fooled. Guests still need to ensure that their dress straps are at least one-inch wide. Wave goodbye to your go-to nineties slip… Oh, the supermodel set will not approve.

Co-ords are a go-go

Royal Ascot has relaxed the rules in recent years and trouser suits are now permitted. However, guests must ensure that their co-ord of choice is of a matching material and colour.


Last year, jumpsuits were finally introduced to the Royal Ascot dress code and about time too. However, they need to be full length as playsuits have yet to make the cut.

Dress code
Last year, the Duchess of Cambridge donned a fascinator with her Alexander McQueen dress to the Royal Ascot [Photo: Getty]

No fascinators are allowed

Though the royal family is fond of a fascinator or two (we’re looking at you, Princess Beatrice) they are not permitted in the Royal Enclosure. Hats and headpieces on the other hand are welcome, as long as they have a solid base of four inches.

The Village and Windsor Enclosures

Those who will be watching the races from the Village and Windsor Enclosures have the opportunity to experiment in the wardrobe department. Though guests are encouraged to dress formally, the rules are far more flexible.

A hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn at all times

Unlike the Royal Enclosure, guests can dabble in the fascinator department. Look to the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge or sisters, Beatrice and Eugenie, for last minute inspiration.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Royal Ascot 2017 [Photo: Getty]
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Royal Ascot 2017 [Photo: Getty]

No cold-shoulder dresses are permitted

In addition to the no halternecks or sheer straps ruling, the seriously on-trend Bardot neckline is also a no-go zone (even if you layer it with a blazer). Meghan won’t be pleased.

Your co-ord must play by the rules

Although co-ords have been given the Royal Ascot stamp of approval, they must be worn with a top underbeneath which adheres to the rules. Trouser suits must be full length and all one hue.

What can men wear to Royal Ascot 2018?

Black or grey morning dress is a must

Male guests are required to wear either a black or grey morning suit to Royal Ascot. This must include a waistcoat and tie, black or grey top hat and black shoes.

Dress code
Prince Harry attends Royal Ascot 2014 in a morning suit and top hat [Photo: Getty]

Note: hats are not allowed to be customised no matter how creative you’re feeling.

Cravats are a no-go

Bow ties and cravats are strictly forbidden in favour of ties.

Socks are a must

For the first time in its history, the Royal Ascot has banned male guests from forgoing socks. In recent years, it has grown popular for men to swap socks in favour of an ankle-bearing look.

But those who decide to wear the Insta-friendly trend won’t be allowed into any of the closures.

The Royal Ascot 2018 dress code can be found over on the website.

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