Today is Ladies Day, or Gold Cup day, at Ascot and it’s also the busiest of the year. There are often questions on what is and what isn’t permitted, so I’ve put together this dress code.
GENTLEMEN – FORMAL DAY EVENTS
Black or grey morning dress which includes a morning coat, striped trousers, shirt, tie and waistcoat. The name derives from the time when weddings took place in the morning and gentlemen naturally wore their morning attire.
Headwear – A top hat must be worn and this may only be removed in a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.
Men’s morning suit in the City is always with a black (not a grey or coloured) waistcoat.
WOMEN – FORMAL DAY EVENTS
If you’re lucky enough to be invited to Royal Ascot, there are rules:
1 Only formal day dress is permitted.
2 Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable.
3 Midriffs must be covered, heaven forefend that women would consider to enter the Royal Enclosure and display what I’ve heard called a ‘muffin top’.
4 If you are brave enough to wear a trouser suit it must be full length and of matching material and colour.
Headwear – a hat or substantial fascinator, that means that a single feather in your hair is not acceptable! Don’t forget that ladies should not wear hats in the City of London after 6 pm.
GENTLEMEN – FORMAL EVENING EVENTS
White Tie for Men
This is full top hat and tails and often worn at grand events, ceremonial occasions. This comprises evening tailcoat and don’t forget to sit on the tails, don’t flick behind you. Only those without a valet flick the tails behind. After the tailcoat there is a starched wing collar shirt, a white hand-tied bow tie, which is worn with a white Marcella cotton (known in the United States as piqué) waistcoat.
Rules of white tie dictate that shoes are not patent leather but opera pumps – often called ‘dancing shoes’.
The final polish to the white tie outfit is dress studs and matching cufflinks. I usually wear White Gold Onyx Cufflinks with Diamond Centre as they add greater finesse to the occasion.
Black tie for Men
Black tie in the City means a white shirt with white buttons and a black bow tie with no coloured cummerbund or waistcoat or white jackets. Men’s black tie formal shirts may have “white buttons” or a tailored front. I wear mine with dress studs that match my cufflinks. My favourites are my Gold Dress Studs with Mother of Pearl.
WOMEN – FORMAL EVENING EVENTS
Black Tie for Women
This is where I hear that phrase “it’s so easy for you, but I have nothing to wear.” For women, Black Tie in the City is usually a long frock. A calf-length dress is acceptable but trousers are a no-no, unless part of national costume.
White Tie for Women
Dresses for formal events should be full length. Shoulders are often covered.
Whatever the occasion, whatever the dress code, don’t forget the cufflinks!
Share this with friends in need of sartorial assistance.