The annual Royal Ascot may take place on a racecourse, but for us fashion obsessives, the catwalk of extravagant outfits is undoubtedly the main event. Think feather-adorned headpieces and floor-sweeping lace gowns. It's a lot. That being said, if you're lucky enough to have scored a ticket to Ladies' Day, or if you plan on attending other races around the country, there's no need to be intimidated by the extravagant dress traditions.
The Ascot rules have loosened up over the past few decades (though it took until 2017 for jumpsuits to be permitted), so as long as your skirt sits no higher than knee-length and your shoulder straps are thicker than one inch, the rest is relatively flexible. All you need is a couple of pieces that feel a little fancy, and yes, if this includes a hat it must be one with a base of 4 inches in diameter, to be precise (unless your ticket is for the Windsor Enclosure, this accessory is mandatory).
You might see the event as an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone—particularly if your regular uniform consists of jeans and a T-shirt—and try something statement-making. A bright print or a silhouette you've never tried before, for example. But if your priority is to feel like yourself so you can relax and sip rosé while you watch the race, that's okay too.
We've got you covered with six stylish outfits you don't need to think too hard about. Keep scrolling if you've been wondering what to wear to Ascot this summer.
1. Tea Dress + Mary Janes
Style Notes: Given that we're talking about a centuries-old tradition, a vintage-style tea dress feels like an appropriate choice. Maximise the nostalgia with a pair of classic Mary Janes and cat-eye shades.
2. Blazer + Pleated Midi Skirt
Style Notes: Races attire doesn't have to completely deviate from your everyday style. Just pair your favourite blazer with a pleated midi skirt, then add some strappy heels to give the outfit a smart flourish.
3. Printed Suit + Mini Bag
Style Notes: As of the 1970s, you don't have to wear a dress to the races. Show up in a well-tailored suit in an eye-catching print, and I guarantee you'll be showered with compliments.
4. Ribbed Dress + Mules
Style Notes: Let's face it—there's no guarantee that the sun will be shining for the races. You'll be spending most of the day outside, so a knitted dress is a smart move other attendees will wish they thought of first.
5. White Dress + Neutral Accessories
Style Notes: Don't overlook the simple white dress you have hanging in your wardrobe, and don't feel the need to hide it behind loud accessories. Choose unfussy, elegant finishing touches and your refinement will speak for itself.
6. Frilly Dress + Woven Flats
Style Notes: Just because it's a formal event, you definitely don't have to wear heels. If anything, flats are a far wiser choice for this occasion—trudging through grass in stilettos isn't fun, no matter how skilled you are at walking in them.