Ascot tightens its dress code

Miniskirts, fascinators and cravats will be banned from the Royal Enclosure at Ascot as the racecourse has tightened its dress code for this year’s royal meeting (June 19-23), a move some observers may think is overdue.

The request for skirt length to fall ‘just above the knee or longer’ replaces the less explicit ‘miniskirts are considered unsuitable’ instruction, and hat bases must have a minimum diameter of 4in. Midriffs, strapless dresses and spaghetti straps are out, even if covered by a pashmina; shoulder straps must be at least 1in wide. ‘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,’ says Charles Barnett, Ascot’s chief executive. ‘We want to see modern and stylish dress, just within the parameters of formal wear.’

‘Anyone who argues that tightening up the Royal Ascot dress code is snobbish or retrograde is missing the point,’ adds fashion lecturer and commentator Julian Seaman. ‘The separation of the various enclosures is deliberate, and if you wish to go first class not steerage, standards apply.

The fashion coverage of Ascot can be muddled in approach-references to the wilder shores of couture are out of place at a meeting where understated style trumps the tarty, comedic and “high fashion”. These guidelines are to help the sartorially bewildered.’

For the guidelines, visit

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