The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023

Words by
Sphere Editors

12th June 2023

We bring you the Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023. This five day horse racing festival is the style event of the season, and it's taking place from Tuesday June 20th until Saturday the 24th of June. But who, and what to wear, and where to find it?

The five day horse racing festival that is Royal Ascot 2023 is just around the corner, with the style extravaganza of Ladies Day taking place on Thursday June 22nd. If ever a style guide was needed, it is for Royal Ascot, and as many people know, luckily it comes with its very own set of very strict sartorial rules for attendees.

Don’t assume one size fits all! Research is essential, as the dress code alters depending on which enclosure you’re going to, and fine details really matters – including the width - in centimetres - of the base of your hat. Any less than a width of 10cm, and you headpiece is a 'fascinator'. At a width of 10cm or more your headpiece is a 'hatinator'. 

The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023
Ascot Royal Enclosure Dress Code 2023

The Royal Enclosure is the most formal space on the racecourse, which  allows skirts and dresses to the knee or longer, straps must be a minimum of an inch wide, and both sheer fabrics and fascinators are forbidden – though a ‘hatinator’ with a base of 10cm is permitted. The good news? These days both trouser suits (matching) and jumpsuits are welcomed, but must follow the rest of the rules in length, colour and shoulder straps.

The Queen Anne Enclosure allows a little more freedom. There is no minimum length of skirt, and while a fascinator – aka a fripperie on a slim headband – is acceptable, midriffs on show are most definitely not.  The  Windsor Enclosure contains the least strict style rules, and in fact merely suggests women wear smart day wear, and a hat or fascinator.

If you’d like the inside track on how to dress for Royal Ascot 2023, scroll on.

The Royal Ascot Fashion Lookbook 2023 

For the first time in over a decade, Ascot Racecourse has taken a new approach to sharing how to dress for the event. While a deep dive to the dress code is provided by the racecourse to avoid any faux pas, they have also provided an inspirational new look and feel for their annual Style Guide, which has been renamed The Royal Ascot Lookbook.

Created by respected fashion stylist Luke Jefferson Day and photographer Damian Foxe, the looks put together feature a diverse range of labels from vintage Westwood and contemporary Roksanda to high street classics All Saints and L.K Bennett. The idea, says Day, is to "encourage unexpected freedom, under the guidance of the enclosure dress codes."

"I want to excite people to think outside of the box – whether that be shopping resourcefully on the high street or by being more eco-conscious through hiring a look or finding a rare vintage gem.”

The aim is, says Damian Foxe, is for Royal Ascot's Lookbook to become a source of  "fashion inspiration and a bellwether in the world of occasion dressing."  

Fenwick - The One Stop Shop for Royal Ascot 

The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023
The Millinery Collective at Fenwick is a one stop shop for Royal Ascot hats in 2023

Fenwick is the London department store that truly comes alive during The Season. It's raison d'etre is to dress women for their most formal and fun life moments, and this year it has done almost all the work and thinking about dressing for Royal Ascot, so their customers don't have to - almost.  

The edit in the store this summer includes a phenomenal selection of milliners, including Rachel Trevor Morgan, Rachel Henry, Alexandra Harper, William Chambers and John Boyd. This group have created the Ascot Millinery Collective, which offers a bespoke service to create unforgettable hats for the occasion.

Fenwick's edit of occasionwear includes Vampire's Wife, Emilia Wickstead, Self Portrait, Needle & Thread and Roksanda, so if Royal Ascot is on your radar, make an appointment

The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023
John Boyd is creating Royal Ascot hats at Fenwick, alongside one of the best edits in London for Royal Ascot style

Fashion Rental is the New Gamechanger for Royal Ascot 

For decades men have thought nothing of hiring a suit for an occasion like Royal Ascot, and they have their own one-stop-shop in the shape of Moss Bros who offer multiple stylish options that adhere to each enclosure at the racecourse. 

The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023
This navy tailored suit is suitable for the Queen Anne Enclosure, and the full look shown here can be hired for £159.95

While men have always found it easy to get themselves kitted out for Royal Ascot, women have had to play catch up on the rental game. That is all changing with the growth and proliferation of fashion rental companies, and some are even specifically catering to Ascot racegoers this year.

The Royal Ascot Fashion Guide 2023
Milliner Jess Collett - the woman behind the Princess of Wales' beautiful headpiece worn at the Coronation - is working with HURR to rent out her hats for Royal Ascot. This piece 'Marie' is £125.58 to rent for four days.

Up and coming dress rental company Hurr Collective, has gone so far as to partner with Royal Ascot as the racecourse encourages visitors to think more sustainably about how they source their outfits. Their Ascot page  offers an edit of fabulous dresses as well as shoes and bags from Rixo, Reformation, Ganni, Prada, Rodarte and Vampire's Wife, all available to rent for four days at a time at the fraction of the price of buying new.

Perhaps best of all, Hurr has also partnered with Royal milliner Jess Collett, the designer behind the Princess of Wales stunning Coronation headpiece, with an array of modern hats for rent. 

Royal Ascot