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Royal Ascot courts controversy again as it polices a new dress code

19th June 2012

• ‘Dress code assistants’ will check on racegoers’ attire
• In 2011 overzealous officials led to Ascot issuing refunds

Royal Ascot begins with the event once again courting controversy by employing a team of specially trained “dress code assistants” to police racegoers’ attire.

There were complaints during last year’s meeting at the Berkshire track when small orange stickers were affixed to the clothing or badges of visitors who breached the course’s dress code.

The policy, carried out by overzealous officials, was described by some as “patronising and humiliating” and Ascot later issued admission refunds to those affected. It is believed to have cost Ascot a five-figure sum.

As Royal Ascot 2012 started on Tuesday, women were expected to wear skirts or dresses of “modest length” which fall just above the knee or longer. This clarifies previous guidance which stated miniskirts were “considered unsuitable”.

Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch (2.5cm) are not permitted and midriffs must be covered.

For men, black or grey morning dress with a waistcoat and tie are now compulsory in the royal enclosure – despite the warm weather expected on the first two days of the five-day meeting. Cravats are not allowed.

A black or grey top hat and black shoes must be worn.

In the royal enclosure, fascinators are no longer deemed acceptable. However, in the grandstand, which is open to the public and subject to less stringent rules, a hat or fascinator will be compulsory for women. For men, a suit and tie will now be imperative.

A selection of waistcoats, ties, pashminas and other items will be available at the turnstiles for those who need them.


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