There are dress codes, and then there is the Royal Ascot dress code.
Racegoers have long been accustomed to sticking to the rules that determine what you can and cannot wear in certain enclosures at the yearly Berkshire horse races, but this year, the Royal Ascot Style Guide has had a shake up for the first time in over a decade.
Whilst the Royal Ascot dress code remains unchanged, the style guide – or Lookbook as it has been renamed for 2023 – encourages "racegoers to look beyond the rules and regulations" to style an outfit which is authentic to their "personal style and shopping habits" and that can suit every budget.
The annual racing event, which begins today, is a highlight of the British summer season for many racegoers, and 2023’s Royal Ascot is looking to be better than ever for guests who love to dress up for the occasion.
Now in its 12th edition, the Royal Ascot Style Guide establishes the official Dress Code of the Royal Meeting and previously would offer guidance and inspiration for each of the four enclosures: The Queen Anne Enclosure, the Royal Enclosure, the Windsor Enclosure, and the Village Enclosure.
However, for 2023, the style guide has been reinvented as the Royal Ascot Lookbook, instead separating the inspiring looks into six edits: High Street, Luxe, Vintage, Pre-loved, Emerging Designer and Tailoring, in the hope of catering to every attendee, as well as their budget and personal style.
For 2023, the Royal Ascot dress code has been reimagined by acclaimed stylist Luke Jefferson Day and fashion photographer Damian Foxe.
The style guide pays homage to the incredible talent and style from from established and emerging brands from high-end to high street, including the likes of Gucci, Jaquemus, Charles Jeffery LOVERBOY, and S.S Daley, as well as sustainable rental pieces from HURR and Favourbrook Rental.
“This season I wanted to encourage unexpected freedom under the guidance of the enclosure dress codes and inspire racegoers to be a little more unconventional and inventive in the way they dress up, and how they source their looks, says stylist Jefferson Day.
"We’ve championed innovative British designers, whilst also showcasing international brands from further afield. I want to excite people to think outside of the box – whether that be shopping resourcefully on the high street or by being more eco-conscious through hiring a look or finding a rare vintage gem.”
Overall, Royal Ascot looks to invite guests to use their sense of creativity to put together a variety of looks to prove that fun can be had when it comes to occasion dressing and individual style.
Royal Ascot dress code
The Royal Ascot Lookbook this year encourages racegoers to look beyond their usual go-to brand names and style, asking attendees to "inject a little fun and personality" into their outfit choices, whichever enclosure they have tickets for.
However it is important to remember the official do's and don'ts for each enclosure.
The dress code for the Royal Enclosure is the most strict of them all, as the name might suggest. Hats are compulsory, but a headpiece or 'hatinator' with a minimum base diameter of four inches (10cm) is acceptable. Men must wear a three-piece morning suit in grey, black or navy (with navy suits only introduced to the dress code in 2019), and a black or grey top hat.
Dresses and skirts must be a “modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer” and strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are not permitted, nor are visible midriffs or see-through fabrics.
Trouser suits for women are allowed as long as they are “of matching material and colour” and as of 2017 jumpsuits are also welcome as long as both adhere to the same length requirements as dresses.
The Queen Anne Enclosure
The dress code for the Queen Anne Enclosure is slightly more relaxed than the Royal Enclosure, but asks guests to still dress for a formal daytime occasion. Hats (or headpieces, or fascinators) are still compulsory, but dresses and skirts don't have a minimum length.
Strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are not permitted, nor are visible midriffs or see-through fabrics.
A full-length two or three-piece suit, with jackets and trousers of matching material must be worn with a collared shirt and a necktie for men in the Queen Anne Enclosure. However cravats, bow ties and neckerchiefs are not permitted.
For the Village Enclosures, the style guide advises to “dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion” and a fascinator or hat is also expected.
There is no minimum length for dresses or skirts, but as with the other enclosures, jumpsuits must fall below the knee.
Gentlemen are able to wear jackets and trousers of different materials in the Village Enclosures, as well as mixing it up with a necktie, bow tie or cravat atop the otherwise compulsory collared shirt.
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