Horse racing Racing Day Luncheon fine dining table setting with small black fascinator hat, decorations and champagne.

A Day at The Races: The Formal Attire to Wear to Royal Ascot

Spectacular dresses, bold colours and top hats: Royal Ascot is more than just horses and races. Kicking off the summer season, Royal Ascot is a preciously preserved and totally unique part of British culture. World-renowned as much for its sartorial elegance as its increasingly strict dress codes, at Ascot, fashion is king.

If you’re planning on attending Royal Ascot, you need to get prepared. Ascot releases clear and strict dress codes for all visitors — and they mean it. Each area of Ascot has its own particular dress code and you need to make sure you’re meeting their requirements. Failure to abide by the appropriate dress code is not an option. If you rock up without socks, or in the wrong kind of jacket, you won’t be allowed in.

But don’t be put off by the rules. There’s still plenty of room to get creative with your formal attire. Follow our guide and channel your inner dandy to master fashion at Ascot.

The Royal Enclosure

The most prestigious area of Royal Ascot, the Royal Enclosure has one major perk when it comes to men’s fashion: simplicity. Men are expected to wear morning dress. This means waistcoat and tie, black or grey top hat and black shoes worn with socks. No cravats, no garish colours and no ribbons or bands for embellishment. Keep it simple, classic and stylish.

To really rock the look, switch out a white shirt for a pale, subtle colour. Add a splash of colour and character to your formal attire by picking different, but complementary colours for your ties, waistcoat and pocket square. But keep the colour of your socks to either grey or black; put away those novelty patterns.

The Queen Anne Enclosure

Perfect views of the racetrack and a debonair formal dress codes: it’s not difficult to see why the Queen Anne enclosure is so popular amongst the race-goers. The dress code is a little more relaxed than what you’d find at the Royal Enclosure. Most obviously, men are not required to wear a top hat — although if you wanted to don one you’d have no problem getting past the attendees. For Royal Ascot, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Male guests in the Queen Anne enclosure must wear a two-piece suit consisting of jacket and trousers in a matching colour and pattern. As with the Royal Enclosure, a tie must be worn at all times and absolutely no cravats or bow ties. Don’t forget your socks — shoes without socks at Ascot is a cardinal sin.

The more relaxed parameters of the dress code invite experimentation and creativity. A well-tailored suit will never fail to impress.

man in tweed suit - formal dress code for men at Royal ascot races

The Village Enclosure

 Perhaps not the most exclusive area at Ascot, the Village Enclosure still has a charm of its own. The style guide here is still formal, but with a more contemporary sartorial twist. As before, no bow ties or cravats and absolutely no jeans, trainers or shorts. Men are required to wear a jacket, trousers and a collared shirt with a tie.

If you’re feeling fancy, the same rule applies as before: overdress, don’t underdress. Lots of dapper gentlemen choose to follow the dress code of the Queen Anne Enclosure and get decked out in their Sunday best.  

Why not try a classic tweed suit for a stylish, modern twist on an old classic?

The Windsor Enclosure

Live music, relaxed dress code and a general party atmosphere: things are a lot more relaxed in the Windsor enclosure. Visitors are encouraged to dress smartly, but you won’t find the kind of restrictions that you have in other areas. No replica sports tops and no sockless feet, and that’s about it. You can certainly mix things up a bit in this area.

Although there seems like there is a lot of rules and regulations to follow, Royal Ascot provides a unique opportunity to experiment with your formal attire. Few events have the same long-steeped traditions or significance in the British social calendar. Where else could you rub shoulders with Royalty or mingle amongst the rich and famous? So be bold with your fashion and relish the opportunity to get fully decked out in your most dapper outfits.

Need that perfect formal attire for major event like Royal Ascot? Empire Outlet has the solution, with superb tailored suits in different styles and materials. Check out our collection of wool and tweed suits to get your Ascot look.

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