When I was single I used to go to the Royal Ascot races every year with my girlfriends. I was a Royal Ascot regular from about 1999-2005. It was the most exciting day. We all spent ages choosing our outfits, then we would meet under the clock at Waterloo and get the train. The train was always full of gorgeous men all dressed up too. Then we would have a picnic in the car park and head for the races. We didn't dress inappropriately, get too drunk (well, maybe a little) or do anything resembling bad behaviour but we did have the most fantastic girlie time. One year I wore a white suit with a black and white hat (I think I thought I looked like Bianca Jagger) and another year I was head to toe in fuschia pink (it looked better than it sounds).


THE PERFECT ASCOT HAT: 1970s Couture Hat available from Lovely's Vintage Emporium

I then went again in 2009 but this time with a male friend, his mother and sister and I was quite shocked how in just four years it had changed. I am not a prude or a snob but there was a different atmosphere. There were definitely shorter skirts, more cleavages on show, lots of fake tan and far too many people so drunk they didn't know what they were doing. 

No wonder I received a press release today saying that Ascot has had enough! 

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive at Ascot, said: “We have worked extensively with experts in the world of fashion to define better what formal dress means, with the overarching intention of being as helpful as possible to our visitors and assisting everyone in understanding what is expected and, we believe, cherished about the dress code at Royal Ascot. It isn’t a question of elitism and not being modern in a world where there is less and less requirement to dress smartly – far from it. We want to see modern and stylish dress at Royal Ascot, just within the parameters of formal wear, and the feedback we have received from our customers overwhelmingly supports that.”

Here it is in full:

2012 ROYAL ASCOT DRESS CODE ANNOUNCED

Ascot Racecourse today unveils the dress code for the Royal Meeting, 19th to 23rd June, which has been designed with assisting visitors to this very special occasion in mind.

Royal Ascot is a unique, stand alone event in the sporting and social calendar and dressing accordingly is part of the experience.

Whilst the spirit of the dress code has always reflected this, the letter of it has arguably lacked clarity, leading in some cases to misunderstanding of what constitutes appropriate attire for this formal occasion.

It is hoped that visitors to the Royal Enclosure and Grandstand will find the new wording of assistance when selecting their outfits for Royal Ascot.

The headline points are:

 Royal Enclosure – Ladies:

“Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.” This replaces the less clear instruction that miniskirts are considered unsuitable.

“Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.”This clarifies that fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure.

 Royal Enclosure – Gentlemen:

 “Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats), a black or grey top hat and black shoes.” This clarifies that cravats are not acceptable and that black shoes should be worn with morning dress.

Grandstand Enclosure – Ladies:

“A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.” This replaces advice that many ladies wear hats but this is not compulsory.

“Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.” This, and several other points, illustrate better what is meant by the previous guidance that ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion.

 Grandstand Enclosure – Gentlemen:

“Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and tie.” This replaces the instruction that gentlemen must wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket.

What do you think? Should men and women have to abide by a dress code or are we stepping back in time? Do comment on this blog.

Love Lovely x