2019 Royal Ascot Style Guide
Last night, at fancy and fabulous private members’ club Annabel’s in Mayfair, the Royal Ascot style guide was launched, in association with Cunard. Royal Ascot is a world-renowned classic British summertime event showcasing the best of horseracing, but there has always been a backdrop of style – guests dressing to impress and going all-out – within the regulations of the style guide, of course. The Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, and the excitement that builds throughout the year in anticipation of this traditional, historic British sporting event has not subsided since its early beginnings. It may be steeped in tradition, but Royal Ascot is still relevant in the 21st century, providing 5 days of unbeatable and unique sport, entertainment, style, and fun. However, like a historic house that has retained its period features, Royal Ascot’s dressing rules (although much more relaxed than in the past) still stand.
This year’s eighth annual Royal Ascot Style Guide is in association with Cunard, the ultra-luxurious British-American cruise line, for the second time. The beauty of the guide, which is shot by global fashion photographer Luìs Monteiro, takes away from any stress that guests might feel when starting to plan their outfits for Royal Ascot. The style guide has been creatively put together by Ascot and includes brands such as Emilia Wickstead, Mary Katrantzou, Victoria Beckham, Suzannah, Jimmy Choo, Erdem, Delpozo, Katya Katya, Simone Rocha and Zimmerman, alongside some of Britain’s top milliners such as Philip Treacy OBE, Rachel Trevor Morgan, Awon Golding, Stephen Jones OBE, Edwina Ibbotson and Jane Taylor. But Ascot isn’t totally exclusive, and the guide also includes some fantastic high-street brands including Karen Millen, Rixo, H&M, T.M. Lewin and River Island.
The style guide highlights the rules that must be followed but should also be viewed as a source of style inspiration. Looks have been styled by Prue White, a highly experienced and respected stylist, and the fashion-forward outfits should be fun to re-create at home, whatever your budget.
“Fashion and style are an integral part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers. The annual Style Guide provides valuable support and inspiration when deciding what to wear for a day at the Royal Meeting. As the Style Guide enters its eighth year we continue to respond to our customers’ requests for fashion-forward looks that work for each of the four Enclosures, ensuring every racegoer enjoys this special occasion with style” – Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer of Ascot Racecourse
A Brief History of Royal Ascot Dressing
1700s – “Men of elegance should wear waisted black coats and white cravats with pantaloons” – Beau Brummell. This dress code is acknowledged by men in the Royal Enclosure to this day.
1830s – Queen Victoria visited Royal Ascot wearing a lace dress complete with a bell skirt and shawl to cover her arms. This was the year she started the trend of women wearing a porter bonnet, allowing privacy from the male gaze.
1890s – Hats became embellished with feathers and adornments. Skirts were less bulky and full, and women focussed on the look of their silhouettes with puffed sleeves and angular hips.
1900s – The 1910 Royal Ascot Meeting was called ‘Black Ascot’, as England was in mourning over King Edward’s death.
1920s – Rebelling against antiquated traditions, the stylish attendees of Ascot donned shorter and smaller outfits. To accessorise; pearls and furs.
1950s – After Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret wore Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ (a full skirt and an emphasised small waist), the country followed suit.
1960s – Royal Ascot was visited by Sophia Loren, and the event’s profile was elevated immensely. Nowadays, Royal Ascot is visited by all sorts of famous faces.
1970s – Trouser suits are allowed!
1980s – The recognisable style of the 80s made it onto the racecourse in the form of bright pops of colours and pointed heels.
2012 – This was the year that the style guide was officially launched, to explain and advise on the dress codes required when visiting the Royal Enclosure and Queen Anne Enclosure (formally known as Grandstand).
2017 – Jumpsuits are allowed (if falling below the knee). And the dress code for the Queen Anne Enclosure is now followed in the new Village Enclosure, too.
2018 – Royal Ascot curate brand new Style Guides for both the Village and Windsor Enclosures.
Flick through the slideshow below for some snippets of the Royal Ascot Style Guide official information video.
Royal Ascot: 18th – 22nd June 2019