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There are dress codes, and then there is the Royal Ascot dress code.
Racegoers have long been accustomed to sticking to the rules that determine what you can and cannot wear to the yearly Berkshire horse races, but this year, the Royal Ascot Style Guide is encouraging guests to be more daring than ever with their outfit choices.
The annual racing event, which kicked off on Tuesday and continues to 18 June, is a highlight of the British summer season for many, and after two years of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022’s Royal Ascot is looking to be better than ever for its guests who love to dress up for the occasion.
Now in its 11th edition, the Royal Ascot Style Guide establishes the official Dress Code of the Royal Meeting and offers guidance and inspiration for each of the four enclosures: The Queen Anne Enclosure, the Royal Enclosure, the Windsor Enclosure, and the Village Enclosure.
For 2022, the Royal Ascot dress code has been reimagined by acclaimed stylist Rachel Bakewell and fashion photographer Tung Walsh.
The Style Guide and pays homage to the incredible talent and style from British fashion houses, with designs from established and emerging brands from high end to high street, including Simone Rocha, Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and The Vampire’s Wife, through to ME+EM, Reiss, LK Bennett and Radley London, help to elevate the iconic Dress Code and set a new standard for occasion dressing.
“This year we’ve really tried to shift the perception of what occasion dressing can be,” says stylist Rachel Bakewell, “using it as a form of self-expression, and pushing the boundaries in a more fashion forward direction.”
The Royal Ascot Style Guide this year appears to encourage more of a casual approach, showing men in Cuban shirts and women in mini dresses for the more relaxed enclosures.
The dress code for the horse racing event’s Royal Enclosure is the most strict of them all, as the name might suggest. Dresses and skirts must be a “modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer” and strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are not permitted.
However, trouser suits are allowed as long as they are “of matching material and colour” and as of 2017 jumpsuits are also welcome as long as both adhere to the same length requirements as dresses.
For the Windsor and Village Enclosures, the style guide advises to “dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion” and a fascinator is also permitted.
For gentlemen, black, grey or navy morning suits are permitted inside the Royal Enclosure, with navy suits only introduced to the dress code in 2019. Elsewhere, however, attendees are encouraged to show a little more self expression by wearing summer suits in linen, seersucker, and cotton, and opting for “debonair accents of pattern and texture” through ties and pocket squares.
Of course, no Royal Ascot dress code is complete without the mention of headwear; the annual event’s eye-catching millinery is as well-known as its world-class horse racing. This year’s style guide features feathered and pearl hats and headpieces from the likes of Edwina Ibbotson, Stephen Jones OBE, Justine Bradley-Hill, Lock & Co, Juliette Botterill, Emily London and Jane Taylor.
Overall, after two years of uncertainty, Royal Ascot looks to invite guests to use their sense of creativity to put together a variety of looks to prove that fun can be had when it comes to occasion dressing and individual style.
Here are 5 dresses perfect for Royal Ascot Style
Geometric Midi Wrap Dress | £39.50 from M&S
Phase Eight Josephina Tiered Ruffle Midi Dress | £140 at John Lewis
Satin shirt dress | £69.99 from Mango
Hobbs Lilibelle Silk Polka Dot Dress | £299 from John Lewis
Margot Pink Apple Blossom Print Maxi Dress | £499 from LK Bennett
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