Gentlemen – What to Wear to Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is the time to raise your dapper stakes to the limit and show off your impeccable style. However you do need to adhere to the dress codes for each enclosure.

Official Dress Code for The Royal Enclosure

Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black, grey or navy morning dress which must include:

  • A waistcoat and tie (no cravats or bow ties)
  • A black or grey top hat
  • Black shoes worn with socks covering the ankles.

Your morning coat must not be removed at any time.

Top Hats:

A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a Private Box, a private club or facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Gardens.

The customisation of top hats (with for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.

Patterns:

Novelty waistcoats and ties are not permitted. Discreet patterns and those of a patriotic nature (for example a national flag) are acceptable.

Boys

Boys aged 10–17 should either dress in accordance with the gentleman’s dress code or alternatively may wear a dark coloured lounge suit with a shirt and tie.

Overseas Visitors 

are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.

Serving Military Personnel

are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.

Fancy dress

Fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site.

We Say..

For gentlemen, the Royal Enclosure is more about uniformity, elegance and tradition, rather than standing out from the crowd.

The Morning Suit

You can either hire or buy your morning suit and top hat.

We’re excited that now there is a choice of navy as well as the traditional black or grey morning coat.

Black morning coat is worn with striped or houndstooth trousers whilst the trousers for the grey and navy morning coat should match the coat in colour and fabric, like a suit. With the grey morning suit the waistcoat also has to be match the coat in colour and fabric.

Wear braces with a morning coat rather than a belt. A belt will add bulkiness underneath your waistcoat and jacket, whilst braces will streamline the silhouette.

History snippet: The morning coat was originally tailored to suit the needs of the nineteenth century equestrian gentleman who leisurely spent his mornings riding, hence the name of the coat. The curved front edges were designed to ensure the rider’s knees would be free from any flapping fabric and the two buttons at the back enabled him to fasten the coat tails up out of the way.

The Waistcoat

Remember for the grey morning suit, the trousers and waistcoat should match the jacket like a suit.

For the black and navy morning coat, the waistcoat is a great opportunity to express your personality with a touch of colour to your morning attire, but choose to the soft subtle hues and keep the bright colours and patterns for weddings.

Plain wool or linen are best although silk or satin are also acceptable.

There are many styles to choose from – single breasted or double breasted, with or without lapels, U or V shaped and shawl or peak collars.

Double breasted with lapels will add bulk – suiting the skinnier or taller frame.

Single breasted without lapels suit most frames. Due to its minimalist style it can also create the illusion of length for the shorter guy and is more slimming.

With the single breasted waistcoat, keep the bottom button undone. This is more of a sartorial rule with many theories on how it came to be a rule. The most popular is that it was accidentally started by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) when he left his undone and everyone followed suit. We favour the horse riding theory: to prevent the waistcoat from creasing and rising up, the gentleman kept the bottom button open.

The Dress Shirt and Tie

A crisp white shirt with double cuffs is traditional. However a pale coloured shirt (plain or striped) is also acceptable but the collar and cuffs should still be white.

A woven silk tie is the most popular choice – leave the cravats and Ascot ties for weddings.

You can choose any colour, but do keep to the softer hues. Textures such as brocades add richness to a mono colour. Patterns (stripes, dots, paisley) can be worn but usually are subtle, using a monochrome palette rather than bold clashing colours. 

Accessories – The Cufflinks, Tie Pin,  Boutonnière  and Pocket Square

A pair of cufflinks is a must for the double cuff shirt and here is where you can flash your  individual style: sophisticated elegance in gold and silver simple designs; decadence with pearls or gemstone; or a fun playful twist with novelty designs. We love the equestrian themed cufflinks many brands are creating.

A tie pin can add sparkle to your attire.

Pocket square is optional but should be made of silk or linen and neatly folded in the pocket rather than flamboyantly pushed in.

Another way to introduce colour or extra flourish is to wear a boutonnière.

Above image shows Prince Andrew wearing a tie pin and boutonnière.

The Top Hat

Both black or grey top hats are acceptable for black morning coats, grey top hats partner well with grey morning suits and black top hats with navy morning suits.

History Snippet: It’s surprising to know that Top Hats got off to a shaky start when the hat maker John Heatherington wore the first one to be seen in public on the streets of London in January 1797. At the sight of this unusually tall hat, women screamed and fainted, children cried, so the poor man was arrested and fined for ‘frightening timid people’.

Proving it had stamina; the top hat stayed the distance and secured its place in high fashion when Prince Albert started wearing one in 1850.

But what about the fainting women? Well we are more apt to swoon at the sight of the hat now.

Originally made out of fur felt (beaver being the most expensive), silk came to gain the lead in the fashionable stakes. Silk is still out there in front but is no longer manufactured, making vintage models a rarity and highly coveted.

Shoes and Socks:

When wearing a morning coat, the shoes should be black with laces, plain and highly polished (although not patent).

The best shoe style to wear is the formal plain Oxford shoe. For smartness and comfort go for soft calf leather on the upper, full leather lining, leather insoles and Goodyear welted soles.

Socks: Don’t try to jazz up your ensemble with  coloured or patterned socks, opt for just plain black or grey. They must also cover the ankles.

Queen Anne Enclosure

Gentlemen are required to wear a full length suit with a collared shirt and tie, and are kindly asked to take note of the following:

Jacket and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern.

A tie should be worn at all times. Bow ties or cravats not permitted.

Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle.

Jeans, chinos and trainers are not permitted.

Boys aged 10–17 should wear a suit or jacket with a shirt and tie. Younger boys nine and under should be dressed smartly but are not required to wear a jacket or tie.

Overseas Visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.

Serving Military Personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.

Fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site.

We Say…

A light coloured three piece suit will subtly stand out from the crowd of dark single breasted suits.

Like the gentleman above, don’t forget your dapper pocket square and cool sunglasses to complete your look. We love how he has plucked out the sky blue in his Prince of Wales check for the colour of his shirt. He cleverly blends three prints (suit, tie and pocket square) for his understated elegant style.

Village Enclosure

Gentlemen are required to wear full-length trousers and jacket with a collared shirt and tie and are kindly asked to take note of the following:

A tie should be worn at all times. Ties, bow ties or cravats can be worn in the Village Enclosure.

Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle.

Jeans and trainers are not permitted.

Boys aged 10–17 should wear a suit or jacket with a shirt and tie. Younger boys nine and under should be dressed smartly but are not required to wear a jacket or tie.

Overseas Visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.

Serving Military Personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.

Fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site.

We say…

As you do not have to have a matching pattern for the jacket and trouser, suits are not compulsory; blazers and full length trousers can be worn instead. But remember a tie, bow tie or cravat is required. 

Windsor Enclosure

Whilst there is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure, gentlemen are encouraged to dress in smart daywear.

It is recommended that gentlemen wear a jacket, collared shirt and full length trousers.

Overseas Visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.

Serving Military Personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.

Fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site.

We Say…

It’s the summer so go for a light coloured jacket. No tie required in this enclosure, but a pocket square always adds style and also a pop of colour.

Footwear

The Windsor Enclosure is the only enclosure where you don’t have to wear socks with your shoes. 

It’s summer and hopefully hot, so take advantage of this relaxed rule and go sockless! 

Take a tip from the above suave gent and cool down in a pair of soft leather loafers for a relaxed modern but still formal style.

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