Strict dress code for Royal Ascot

Strict dress code for Royal Ascot

Published Jun. 17, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Racegoers at one of Europe's most famous annual race meetings will have to pass strict rules on their attire, Sky News reported Sunday.

Royal Ascot, which is held at the historic English racecourse of the same name, has always been as much about the fashion as the horses for many of the 300,000 people who flock to the summer's high society event. The five-day race meeting begins Tuesday.

But organizers have tightened rules on acceptable wear this year after criticism of sartorial standards that have been more loosely enforced in recent years.

The race course will employ a team of specially-trained "dress code assistants" to ensure the circuit's new dress laws are observed.


A selection of waistcoats, ties, pashminas and other items will be available at the entrances for those who are not up to scratch upon arrival.

Fascinators, favored by the Duchess of Cambridge, have been banned in the royal enclosure. Instead, hats must be worn or a headpiece that has a base of four inches or more in diameter is also acceptable.

Women also will be expected to wear skirts or dresses of "modest length" that fall just above the knee or longer, replacing previous guidance that said miniskirts were "considered unsuitable."

For men, black or gray morning dress with a waistcoat and tie are now compulsory in the royal enclosure, and cravats will not be allowed. A black or gray top hat and black shoes must also be worn.

In the grandstand, which is open to the public and subject to less stringent rules, a hat or fascinator will be compulsory for women.