Britain’s most prestigious annual racehorse event is set to take place once again this year, as thousands of racegoers get ready to witness the world’s finest thoroughbred horses compete. As always, it promises to be a five day masterpiece in royalty, opulence, sophistication, and unbridled elegance.

With the entire five-day event slated to begin on June 18 this year in Ascot, Berkshire, just outside of London, here’s all you need to know about the Royal Ascot – its rich history, strict dress code, and high sporting standards.

The Royal Ascot – A tradition of royalty and excellence.

The Royal Ascot is one of Britain’s most anticipated annual sporting event and a well watched societal function. First established by Queen Anne in 1711, the event boasts over 300 long years of rich history and tradition, and is well attended by the Royal Family – including Her Majesty the Queen.

The five-day event begins daily with the Royal procession taking the lead on the tracks, a befitting opening for a grand event. Racers will battle for the Queen Anne Stakes, Diamond Jubilee Stakes, and the Gold Cup, with the Queen herself owning a number of thoroughbred horses that participate in the event, many of which have been winners over the years. 

With all of the sporting excellence on display, it is hard not to think of the Royal Ascot as London’s premier fashion show. Keep an eye out for eye-catching dresses, elaborate hat styles and designs and stunning fascinators; all within the high dress standards set out by the Royal Ascot. 

What to Wear

The Royal Ascot is known for its notoriously strict dress code, which has been revised and updated over the years. No major changes have been announced for this year’s event yet, so we can expect much of the same rules from 2017 to stand. The rules, however, vary from one enclosure to the next, with the Windsor Enclosure the only region with very much relaxed rules – dress codes here are mostly a recommendation.

Men

2017 saw a major rule change for men when it was decreed that above-the-ankle socks is a must for all men. Another general rule involves leaving on your tie for the entire duration of the event. Jeans are a no-no, regardless of your enclosure, and you may only use chinos in the Village and Windsor enclosures.

A collared shirt and tie, a jacket, and full-length trousers are required in the Village Enclosure. The same is required in the Queen Anne Enclosure, with the difference being that the jacket and trousers must be of matching pattern and colour.  For the Royal Enclosure, a black or grey morning dress is required, with a waistcoat and tie, a matching black or grey top hat, and black shoes with socks.

Women

Ladies must wear knee-length modest dresses, regardless of your enclosure. Branded clothing, replica shirts, fancy dresses, and strapless, off-the-shoulder styles are not allowed. Beginning in 2017, full-length jumpsuits were allowed for the very first time. In 2019, shorter jumpsuits will be allowed, so long as they fall below the knee and do not expose any midriff. Shorts remain a no-no, although full length matching trouser suits are allowed.

Women in the Village Enclosure are required to wear a hat, fascinator, or headpiece, and a smart dress. A headpiece or fascinator, again, is a requirement in the Queen Anne Enclosure. While the Royal Enclosure stipulates modest knee-length dresses with dress straps of at least one inch or more, and a hat, fasinator, or headpiece with at least a 4-inch base.

Get Ready for a Whirlwind Occasion

Whether you simply want to catch sight of the Queen or you are a horse racing enthusiast or fashionista, there’s plenty to look forward to in this year’s Royal Ascot event. With high standards set, demanded, and met in every detail of every event, you are sure to have a treat as Europe’s finest horses race at stunning speeds in front of you. The Royal Ascot is indeed an event like no one else, in a place like nowhere else!

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