One Horse Race
Get ready for the races with our guide to looking sharp at one of The Season’s most important occasions.
Royal Ascot is a wonderful cocktail of horse racing and couture. The Royal Enclosure’s strict dress code means that dressing for Royal Ascot takes some careful planning – especially coupled with the fact that June is a tricky month given that the fickle weather flirts between hot sunshine, cold winds with, perhaps, a sprinkling of rain in-between.
Dress for the Royal Enclosure requires “formal daywear” and the rules prescribed are stringent: for women, hemlines have to be on the knee or longer, straps must be more than an inch wide and, of course, absolutely no midriffs. For men, black or grey morning dress is required with black shoes and a waistcoat. A few years ago, cravats were officially declared unacceptable, and similarly, men are not allowed to customise their top hat with different colours. Once inside the Royal Enclosure they’ll have to wear their top hat at all times, unless within a restaurant, a private box, a private club, balcony or garden.
Women are required to wear a hat too and will need to ensure that their hat’s base covers "a sufficient area of the head - four inches or 10cm" – so no fascinators please. Go-to milliners include Jane Taylor and, of course, Philip Treacy.
After the event, if storing your hat for an extended period of time, then ensure you clean it beforehand. A gentle hand clean by Jeeves will ensure the hat is treated with care. Any DIY attempts can cause some hats to break down and eventually collapse as they have supports inside made of stiffened card that can become warped. Jeeves will ensure your hat will be wrapped in layers of acid free tissue to preserve it.
Store the hat in a hatbox that supports both the brim and crown. Keep it in a cool, dry place, as both heat and moisture can be damaging. But beware of moths making a snack of your hat and use lavender or cedar (which both smell lovely) to keep them at bay.
Of course, Royal Ascot is not complete without a glass or two of champagne. Do watch out though because as quaffable as it is, it’s a very difficult stain to remove. When spilt and dried on a garment it goes into camouflage mode – that is until it starts to oxidise and then it will start to go yellow. So if a companion has become rather over-zealous with their post-race celebrations and their champagne has overflowed onto your outfit – don’t fret! Just dab off the excess (don’t rub), and then continue to celebrate with them. Then ensure you transport your garment to Jeeves as soon as possible after the event to ensure the stain is removed safely.
Above all, enjoy the day, back a winner and leave any wardrobe mishaps for Jeeves to take care of. Happy racing