This week sees the start of Royal Ascot, one of the most anticipated events in the UK social calendar. Of course, over the five days the main focus is the horse racing, but there’s also plenty of interest in who wears what to Royal Ascot.
Feature races include the Queen Anne Stakes on the first day, and the Prince of Wales’ Stakes on the second. These are both Group 1 races – and count amongst the most prestigious races in the world. But the race that everyone knows Ascot for is the Ascot Gold Cup, which takes place on the Thursday or the meeting. Even the Queen has a horse running in this race! This year, Betfair and other betting sites have Leading Light as the favourite, with odds of around 6/4. If you want to have a punt on something else at Ascot, check the antepost prices at Betfair. You don’t necessarily have to back a horse; you can bet on who will be Top Jockey or Top Trainer at Royal Ascot. Betfair is a betting exchange; so you can not only place bets, you can also accept other people’s bets (this is called laying). If you get your betting strategy right, you may just win enough to attend Royal Ascot in person next year!
So, how would you dress if you were going to a day at the races at Royal Ascot? Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot has become one of the most anticipated days of fashion-watching away from the catwalk in the UK. Over the years, most race courses have become less formal in terms of what people are expected to wear, but at Royal Ascot, standards haven’t been allowed to slide very much, if at all.
Each year, the organisers of Royal Ascot issue the Royal Ascot Style Guide, to remind people who will be attending the different race days what can and can’t be worn. There are different levels of dress code depending on which part of the race course you’ll have access to.
• In the Royal Enclosure, formal day wear is required for women, with dresses or skirts needing to fall below the knee. Any straps on dresses or tops have to be at least an inch wide. Jackets and pashminas can be worn to cover the straps, but the straps still have to be of regulation width.Trouser suits should be full length and of matching materials. Hats are required, but these can include headpieces with a minimum base diameter of 4 inches. Items not allowed include off the shoulder, halter neck or spaghetti straps and midriffs have to be covered.
• For men, the requirements are simpler. To go in the Royal Enclosure they need to be in black or grey morning dress with a waistcoat and tie, plus black shoes and a black or grey top hat. Forbidden items include cravats and customisation of the top hat.
• In the Grandstand, things are slightly more relaxed. Women still need to wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator, and the rules about straps and strapless dresses still apply. Midriffs still have to be covered and any trousers should be full length. For men, they have to wear a suit and tie.
• In the Silver Ring, things are considerably more relaxed. All visitors are encouraged to dress smartly, but there isn’t a formal dress code. The only items that aren’t allowed are replica sports shirts, fancy dress or novelty and heavily branded clothing.
Once you’ve got your outfit sorted, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy one of the most entertaining events in the UK summer calendar. Fashion, horse-racing and people-watching all in one place – what could be better?