Within betting circles, Royal Ascot may be one of the biggest and most discussed events of the year. However, there is another group of people who are equally crazy about the horse race meeting but for a very different reason. This group is the fashionistas.
March's Cheltenham Festival and April’s Grand National may be jump racing events, while Royal Ascot is flat racing, but they prove a similar build-up for both bettors and fashionistas. Whilst punters cannot wait for the chance to win a bit of money, fashion lovers are equally engrossed by seeing what outfits will be on show at the Ladies Days of Cheltenham and the Grand National. They want to see how these will influence the fashion choices of those impeccably groomed women who will be descending upon Ascot in June.
This year, for example, saw glamour girl Katie Price reveal a much more demure and classic look than usual when socialising with Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall at Cheltenham. However, regardless of if you want vibrancy or sophistication to embody elegance or make a splashy statement, there are a few ground rules you must follow for dressing for Royal Ascot or any other horse racing event.
Be A Mad Hatter
Hats are not just traditional attire for a day at the races but, in many cases, a required part of the dress code by organisers. Whilst eccentric and gravity-defying examples tend to be the ones which are splashed across the tabloids, there is no need to be O.T.T. with your hat choice if you are not comfortable with it. However, for the more out-there dressers amongst you, a day at the racecourse is the perfect excuse to dust-off your most outrageous and complex headwear that can double as a radio receptor.
However, if this does not sound like your bag – or hat – there are plenty of more simple designs that will still give you that injection of traditional horse racing glamour. A pillbox hat, favoured by royalty, is a great example of this. If selected in a bold colour, this sturdy and unfussy design is practical whilst still being fashionable.
See You In Heels
Although not exactly a match made in heaven from a practical standpoint, a pair of killer heels and the racetrack have been going steady for years. The key when selecting an appropriate pair of heels for these type of events is to go for simple and sturdy without being frumpy or lumpy.
A solid heel is a must, unless you want to see a mud-embedded heel send you sprawling to the grassy floor. However, a sturdy heel does not have to give off a matronly vibe. Pick an elegant pair, with rounded edges and a smooth finish. This will neutralise the hefty heel without compromising on practicality. An open toe or an abundance of straps will make the look fussy or tacky, so pick a simple design perhaps jazzed-up with a bold colour or glittery embellishment.
A Dress that Impresses
Most racetracks operate a strict no-shoulders policy. Spaghetti straps, in particular, are a massive no, no. The overall look for the Royal Ascot races should be both striking yet understated. Your dress should have clean lines and minimal embellishments. A statement design feature or two is fine, but do not go overboard.
With huge hats and bold colours, your dress should complement rather than overshadow these other flashy elements of your outfits. You do not want too much going on and less is really more. Another golden rule is showing off either your legs or cleavage but not both. There is nothing wrong with letting your endless legs do the talking or emphasising your curves in a tasteful way, but attempting to do both will somewhat jar against the formal yet earthy ambiance.