Royal Ascot Races - your guide on what to wear

The Royal Ascot is one of the most prestigious and stylish events in the British social calendar. Known for its elegance, tradition, and sartorial splendor, attending the Royal Ascot is not just about the thrill of the races but also about making a style statement. Whether you're a seasoned attendee or a first-timer, understanding the dress code is crucial to ensure you blend in seamlessly with the elite crowd. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to wear to the Royal Ascot 2024 for men.

Understanding the Dress Code

Royal Ascot has a strict dress code, varying by enclosure. The three main enclosures are the Royal Enclosure, Queen Anne Enclosure, and Village Enclosure. Each has its own set of guidelines:

  1. Royal Enclosure: The most prestigious and formal enclosure with the strictest dress code.
  2. Queen Anne Enclosure: Slightly less formal but still requiring a high level of sophistication.
  3. Village Enclosure: Offers a more relaxed atmosphere, yet smart attire is still expected.

Royal Enclosure

Morning Dress

For those fortunate enough to be invited to the Royal Enclosure, the dress code is morning dress, which includes:

  • Tailcoat: Black or grey tailcoat with matching trousers. The coat should have a single-breasted design with a step or peak lapel.
  • Waistcoat: A waistcoat in a contrasting color, such as buff, dove grey, or black. Double-breasted styles are popular.
  • Shirt: A formal shirt, usually white, with a turned-down collar and double cuffs for cufflinks.
  • Tie: A classic tie in a conservative color and pattern. Cravats are not acceptable in the Royal Enclosure.
  • Top Hat: Black or grey top hat. It should be worn at all times within the enclosure and only removed within enclosed restaurants, private boxes, or a club.
  • Shoes: Black lace-up shoes, polished to a high shine. Avoid brogues and opt for Oxfords or Derbies.
  • Accessories: Plain black socks, pocket square, and optionally a boutonniere.

Queen Anne Enclosure

Smart Formal Attire

While the Queen Anne Enclosure allows for a bit more flexibility, it still demands a high level of sophistication:

  • Suit: A matching three-piece suit in black, grey, or navy. Ensure the suit is well-tailored and fits perfectly.
  • Shirt: A white or light-colored shirt. The shirt should be crisp and ironed.
  • Tie: A tie is mandatory. Choose a subtle, elegant pattern or a solid color.
  • Shoes: Black or brown formal shoes. Oxfords are preferred, but Derbies or monk straps can also be suitable.
  • Accessories: Cufflinks, a pocket square, and a belt that matches the color of your shoes.

Village Enclosure

Smart Casual

The Village Enclosure offers a more relaxed vibe but still expects attendees to maintain a level of formality:

  • Suit or Blazer and Trousers: You can opt for a suit or a blazer paired with trousers. Light colors and patterns are more acceptable here.
  • Shirt: A collared shirt is essential. You can experiment with pastel colors or subtle patterns.
  • Tie: Optional but recommended. A tie or a smart bow tie can add a touch of class.
  • Shoes: Loafers, brogues, or smart casual shoes are acceptable. Ensure they are clean and polished.
  • Accessories: Sunglasses, a stylish watch, and a pocket square can enhance your look.

General Tips for All Enclosures

Fit is Key

Regardless of the enclosure, the fit of your attire is paramount. A well-fitted suit or morning dress will always look more sophisticated. Consider visiting a tailor to ensure your outfit is perfectly tailored to your body shape.

Fabric Matters

Choose high-quality fabrics that breathe well, especially considering the event takes place in June. Wool, linen, and cotton blends are excellent choices for maintaining comfort and style throughout the day.

Attention to Detail

Small details can make a significant difference. Ensure your shoes are polished, your shirt is ironed, and your accessories are thoughtfully chosen. Avoid overly bold patterns and colors, as they can detract from the overall elegance of your outfit.


Personal grooming is just as important as your attire. A fresh haircut, neatly trimmed facial hair, and clean nails contribute to a polished appearance. Consider a light cologne, but avoid overpowering scents.

Traditional Touches

Adding traditional elements to your outfit can enhance your Royal Ascot experience. A pocket watch, vintage cufflinks, or a silk tie can bring a touch of heritage and class to your ensemble.


Attending the Royal Ascot is a blend of participating in a historic event and showcasing impeccable style. The dress code, while strict, offers an opportunity to embrace classic British fashion and present yourself at your best. By adhering to the guidelines for your respective enclosure and paying attention to details, you’ll not only fit in but also stand out for your sartorial excellence. Enjoy the races, the socializing, and the opportunity to be part of one of Britain’s most esteemed traditions.