Royal Ascot racegoers are certainly accustomed to dressing to impress for this most social of events and in what is a stunning turnabout in policy, as part of what’s being called a ‘diversity drive’, Ascot has relaxed some of the dress codes to be more ‘inclusive’ for some race fans. Co-ordinators of the event have announced that guests will be able to pick a sex clothing regulation they ‘feel most comfortable with’ meaning for the first time ladies will be permitted to dress like men and of course, the other way around – providing the garb they choose still adheres to the Royal Ascot guidelines.
Since the Regency times of the early 19th century in England, Ascot has insisted on a strict dress code for the Royal Ascot event. It was the iconic Beau Brummell, a one-time close friend of the Prince Regent (Later King George the 4th) who is remembered as the preeminent example of a fashionable ‘dandy’ man and as the driving force behind the dress code for men in the Royal Enclosure. Beau even advised gentlemen that they should always clean their boots with champagne ‘for a better shine’. Many of Beau’s influences and dress guidelines for the event unbelievably still remain to this day.
The exclusive Royal Enclosure, often referred to as ‘the heart’ of the event, has always had tight rules in regards to dress. But in 2018, the event broke with usual convention by permitting racegoers to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure for the first time and organisers this year have announced they would try to appeal to a wider range of visitor by putting on a ‘party atmosphere’ and incorporating a ‘more vibrant feel’ to the enclosure.
The relaxed dress codes have been welcomed by respected LGBT and Transgender figures here in the UK with Britain’s first transgender jockey Victoria Smith commenting that it was ‘really positive’ and that racing was ‘starting to become more accepting of difference’.
The commercial director of Ascot, Julie Slot, has said: ‘Fashion and style are an important part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers’ and certainly this year, more than any other, Ascot appears to be embracing change like never before.
There have been other alterations in the dress code policy with regards to all enclosures and its recommended that if you are attending Royal Ascot Ladies Day or any other day of the horse race festival that you view the all the information contained in the The Royal Ascot Style Guide (In association with Cunard) which can be viewed and downloaded via the official Royal Ascot Website.
For further information on Royal Ascot including details on enclosures, great value day trip hospitality options, dress codes and more please do check out the Ladies Day Ascot website.