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9 beautiful Ascot-appropriate dresses for a day at the races

9 beautiful Ascot-appropriate dresses for a day at the races
9 beautiful Ascot-appropriate dresses for a day at the races

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Royal Ascot will be here before we know it. Taking place this year from 18-22 June, it’s become as much about what you wear as it is the races, so make sure you’ve brushed up on the rules before choosing your all-important outfit. Attended by royalty, celebrities and paparazzi, there’s arguably nowhere more important to be sartorially savvy.

The strict dress code includes rules on hem lengths, shoulder straps and headpieces, and while everyone is encouraged to dress up for the occasion, each enclosure has slightly different rules.

Royal Enclosure dress code

– Dresses and skirts should be a modest length, falling no shorter than just above the knee.

– Dresses and tops must have straps that are a minimum width of one inch or more. 

– Strapless, off-the-shoulder, halterneck and spaghetti straps are not permitted. 

– Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but tops and dresses underneath must still comply with the dress code. 

– Trouser suits are permitted but should be full-length and of matching material and colours.

– Jumpsuits are also permitted and have the same regulations as dresses.

– Hats must be worn. However, a headpiece with a minimum base of four inches (10cm) is acceptable.

© Dave Benett
Princess Kate wore a bespoke Alexander McQueen dress and matching Philip Treacy hat to attend Royal Ascot last summer

Queen Anne Enclosure & Village Enclosure dress code

– A dress or top and skirt, with shoulder or halter neck straps (no minimum length)

– A trouser suit of matching material and colour

– A jumpsuit that falls below the knee and complies with the shoulder strap requirements

– A hat, headpiece or fascinator

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall attend Ladies Day at Royal Ascot 2023© Max Mumby/Indigo
Zara Tindall wore a white lace midi dress by Scanlan Theodore and a bespoke floral hat by Emily London Headwear at Ladies Day 2023

Windsor Enclosure dress code

– Attendees are encouraged to dress in smart daywear with a hat or fascinator, but there is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure.

Is there a theme for Ascot 2024?

The Royal Ascot 2024 theme and Look Book is yet to be released, but the dress code remains unchanged. Last year it hoped to inspire racegoers to be a little more inventive with their ensembles, moving the focus towards outfits that represent their individual style.

Sustainability continued to be at the forefront and guests were encouraged to consider looking in charity shops, boutiques, vintage emporiums and resale websites for their outfits.

Most brands are yet to drop their Race Day collections, but if you want to get your outfit sorted early and you’re looking online for a dress, I’ve found the most stylish pieces available to shop now. I also got in touch with celebrity stylist Miranda Holder (@mirandaholder) to get her tips on what to wear to Royal Ascot 2024.

The best Royal Ascot dresses to shop for 2024

  • Hobbs Skye Dress

    Hobbs Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-18, Petite-Regular

    Colours available: White Floral

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Made from 100% silk, this luxurious midi dress from Hobbs is adorned with a delicate and feminine floral print. With its long sleeves and fit-and-flare shape, the timeless piece is perfect for Ascot.

  • Phase Eight Midi Dress

    Phase Eight Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-26

    Colours available: Pink/Red

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Channel Princess Kate in this bright midi dress from Phase Eight. It has a super flattering wrap cut with long blouson sleeves and a midi length. Style it with barely-there metallic accessories or matching brights if you’re feeling bold.

  • Reformation Winslow

    Reformation Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-16

    Colours available: White/Blue Floral, Navy

    Shipping: £6 Standard Delivery or free over £100

    Returns: £6 within 30 days

  • Self Portrait Ascot dress

    Self Portrait Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-16

    Colours available: White

    Shipping: £7 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £300

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    This dreamy dress is by Princess Kate-favourite Self-Portrait. Reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour, the white cloqué midi dress has a tailored, fitted bodice with a waist-cinching belt and pleated chiffon skirt. It’s ideal if a floral piece isn’t your thing.

  • Nobody's Child dress

    Nobody’s Child Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-18

    Colours available: Green Floral, Sage Green, Lilac, Pink

    Shipping: £5 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £100

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    It’s technically from the bridal collection, but I think Nobody’s Child’s satin dress would look amazing for Ascot. Falling to a midaxi length, it has an ankle-grazing hem, fluted sleeves and stunning watercolour print.

  • ME+EM ascot dress

    ME+EM Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-16

    Colours available: Red/Lilac

    Shipping: £4.95 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    How gorgeous is this colour clash maxi dress from ME+EM? Adorned with a hand-drawn bespoke Scribbled Floral print in a bright colour palette, it has a chic high neck and ruching in the mid section. I’d style it with barely-there heels or even wedge esparilles.

  • Rixo Ascot dress

    Rixo Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-26

    Colours available: Floral prints

    Shipping: £5 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 14 days

    The Melanie dress is a Rixo icon. Made from 100% silk, it has a Bias cut with an Empire waist and features the brand’s signature clashing print style with navy florals and polka dots.

  • Ted Baker dress

    Ted Baker Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-16

    Colours available: White, Navy, Black

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £100

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    For a more structured piece, Ted Baker’s popular Lounia dress comes in this season’s trending hue and has a sleek fitted shape. It made from a luxurious-feeling heavy material and features short statement fluted sleeves.

  • Monsoon Ascot dress

    Monsoon Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 8-24

    Colours available: Black

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £50

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    If you only wear darker colours, this Monsoon maxi dress is a beautiful option. It’s made from a lustrous fabric adorned with a floral print and finished with cutwork trims, fabric-coated buttons, and a cinched waist. Style it with black stilettos.

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