A winning look on any ticket.

Got an invite to Royal Ascot but not sure what to wear? You’re not alone – the dress code can be strict depending on what enclosure you’re in. Make sure you get it right trackside with our guide to a winning look on any ticket.

What is Royal Ascot?

Royal Ascot is Britain’s most popular horse race event, with around 300,000 visitors each year. Held at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, Royal Ascot was founded by Queen Anne in the 1700s after she felt that the space was ideal for horseracing (hence the “Royal” part of the event). The Queen attends each year along with other members of the Royal Family.

The event is filled with tradition, down to the dress code and the Gold Cup that traditionally makes up part of Ladies Day. However, the dress code isn’t just for Ladies Day. Men’s dress code has rules too especially if your tickets are for the more formal areas of the event.

The history of Race Day outfits

Ascot’s first dress code for men was established in 1807 to respond to and reflect the changes in society, fashion and British style. It was decided that “men of elegance” should wear waisted black coats with white cravats and pantaloons. There was no guidance on dress code for women, though women’s looks have become more relaxed over time whereas the dress code for men has stayed pretty formal.

However, it wasn’t until 2012 that Royal Ascot’s organisers released a formal dress code for attendees, outlining dress code regulations for people heading to the Royal Enclosure and the Queen Anne Enclosure – two of the most formal areas of the event.

What to wear to Ascot?

If you’ve got your tickets to Royal Ascot but you’re not sure what to wear, the first thing you need to do is find out which section you’re going to be hanging out in. Each area of Ascot has its own dress code that you need to stick to on the day to make sure you can claim your place at the event.

what to wear to ascot; a man in a black three piece suit and beige waistcoat dresses for the royal enclosure at ascot

Ascot Dress Code: Royal Enclosure

As the most esteemed ticket, it’s essential you get what to wear at Royal Ascot right. You’re required to wear a three-piece morning suit and a top hat is an absolute must. Black morning suits are the standard, but grey is also acceptable and looks great if the sun is shining.

We predict the double-breasted waistcoat as the look of the season – go the extra mile by picking one in a summery shade. As for accessories, ties (never cravats) are the accepted neckwear. Keep it sophisticated with a silk tie in a floral print or a simple splash of block colour rather than anything too showy – this is definitely not the time for ill-gifted novelty-wear. Shoes must be black, and you’d do well to give them a serious polish.

If ease is your priority, hire your Royal Ascot outfit in-store or online from £79.95. We’ve got several dress code-approved options including our exclusive Royal Ascot morning suit. Specially designed for the British summer, it’s crafted from luxurious pure new wool that’ll keep you warm on an overcast day, but also regulate your temperature if the sun does decide to shine.

what to wear to ascot; two men in light summer suits dress for the queen anne enclosure at ascot

Ascot Dress Code: Queen Anne Enclosure

Not got a pass to the Royal Enclosure? There’s plenty of action to be had elsewhere: the Queen Anne Enclosure gives you access to the Grandstand and the surrounding lawns with restaurants and bars.

Dress wear is not essential, but you will see lots of men still go for the full morning suit. It’s not often you get to dress up like this – and this year more than ever – so feel free to go all out. You can experiment with colour, fabric and suit style to showcase what you’re comfortable in whilst still staying smart and put together.

Otherwise, the rules say you need to wear a matching suit with a shirt and tie. We say grab the chance to get properly dressed up again in a double-breasted or pastel suit with a silk tie and polished shoes.

what to wear to ascot; men dressed in pastel suits for the village enclosure at ascot

Ascot Dress Code: Village Enclosure

If you love a bit of variety on your race day, paired with excellent views, the Village Enclosure is for you. With its trackside gazebo, a range of street food and cocktail bars, and a live brass band, you’ll be at the centre of the celebration.

The Village Enclosure also has a slightly less formal dress code, but you’ll still need to wear full-length trousers, a jacket, a collared shirt and a tie. You’ll also need ankle-covering socks, and no trainers or jeans allowed. So, while you’ll still need to look smart and put together, you can be a bit creative by choosing a contrasting jacket and trousers, a bold tie and a colourful pair of socks.

what to wear to ascot; a man in a black three piece suit and beige waistcoat dresses for the royal enclosure at ascot  

Ascot Dress Code: Windsor Enclosure

If you were looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, we bet you went for the Windsor Enclosure. The extensive lawns make for a perfect setting for a DIY picnic, and the live music gives off more of a party feel. It’s less formal, and a bit more energetic.

In keeping with that less formal environment, there is no dress code in the Windsor Enclosure. That said, Ascot encourages men to still take a smart-casual approach to the day. What you can glean from that is, you can be a bit more creative with your outfit. Opt for a bright coloured suit, choose a bold pocket square and make an unexpected shoe choice. No matter what you choose, if you’re in this Enclosure, don’t be afraid to express yourself.

What to wear to the races – outfit tips

When it comes to planning your outfit, it makes sense to think about the practical side of things too. As well as looking the part you want to stay comfortable and ready for the day ahead. Check the weather before you go and think about what you need to wear to fit – although the event’s in June you can’t always rely on the weather to do what’s expected. Try layers and changing up your shoes depending on the weather and if the dress code can take it.

If you’re travelling to Ascot, make sure that you pack everything you need with you. Shoes, socks, accessories like ties and cufflinks. You don’t want to spend your time rushing around on race day trying to pick up those last-minute items, ending up with something that isn’t right.

If in doubt, err on the side of caution and stick with a suit for a smart, race-ready look. For a formal event like the races, it’s always best to be overdressed rather than underdressed.

SHOP SUITS FOR ASCOT HERE