For those of you attending Royal Ascot this year, remember that new guidelines have been offered with the intention to clear up any ambiguities regarding “what constitutes appropriate attire for this formal occasion”. Ascot chief executive Charles Barnett has stated that “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. We want to see modern and stylish dress at Royal Ascot, just within the parameters of formal wear.” Ladies visiting the Royal Enclosure are asked to wear skirts that fall beneath the knee or lower and a hat or “a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter”. Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch (2.5cm) are not permitted. Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code. Trouser suits are welcome but should be of full length and of matching material and colour.Outside of the Royal Enclosure, the rules are slightly more relaxed – in the Grandstand Enclosure ladies are permitted to wear fascinators but aren’t allowed to wear strapless or sheer strap dresses or tops.
There are many ways of getting the look appropriately formal without feeling frumpy. Go for a fitted dress in a pencil shape with the waist fully accentuated. This 1940s silhouette never goes out of fashion and can be kept modern with a capped shoulder. You could also go for a 1950s prom shape with a nipped in fitted waist to accentuate a more petite upper body and create drama appropriate to the occasion with your skirt. Alternatively, try a maxi or ankle skimming length.