Summer is high season for horseracing, culminating in the crown jewel of meets: Royal Ascot. The Berkshire-based gathering was a favourite of the late Queen and it remains the place to experience the pomp and ceremony of the Sport of Kings. But at an event where the formality is dialled up a notch or two, navigating the style hierarchy successfully can feel like a gamble.
If you’re bound for the summit of the sartorial pecking order – the Royal Enclosure – full morning dress is mandatory. Dress conventions are often easier to follow with a set uniform. But the three additional enclosures at Ascot – the Queen Anne, Village and Windsor – all have their own differing levels of formality, which require a little more consideration.
To ensure you don’t fall foul of the style rulebook, we’ve curated three distinct looks for each of these enclosures using T.M. Lewin’s range. Follow this guide and we’ll have you looking as well groomed as the thoroughbreds on parade.
Suitable for: The Queen Anne Enclosure
Formality level: High
After the Royal Enclosure, the Queen Anne Enclosure is the most formal and while top hat and tails aren’t expected, the rules are pretty stringent: suit components must match and , ties are obligatory, while cravats and bow ties are off the menu. With that in mind, stick to the sleek and sober path – this single-breasted navy suit cut from a Italian-woven super 110s wool is a considered choice. Dressier double cuffs are the way to go here and if anything, offer a chance to showcase a refined set of silver cufflinks. A navy silk tie with pink fleur-de-lys accents feels natty without shouting too loud, while down below, stick to classic black Oxfords and you won’t put a foot wrong. And for the final formal flourish? A freshly cut carnation for your buttonhole, naturally.
Earn Your (Micro) Stripes
Suitable for: The Village Enclosure
Formality level: Medium
The Village Enclosure takes the formality down a peg from Queen Anne’s realm, and tailoring doesn’t have to match. Neckwear is still obligatory, but bow ties and cravats will also pass muster here. Essentially, there’s a little more slack to express your style persona. But keep your mankles out of sight – going sans socks is frowned upon – while denim and trainers are blacklisted. This linen suit, in a versatile navy hue, is a summer-appropriate alternative that’ll tick all the right boxes. It will also serve you well for weddings and weekdays in the city, too. Finish it with a crisp, blue micro-striped cotton shirt, a knitted navy tie spotted in white, and a pop of pink for your pocket square. And if you’re in a particularly urbane mood, consider a waistcoat or patterned bow tie.
Suitable for: The Windsor Enclosure
Formality level: Low
Despite the name, the Windsor Enclosure is the least formal of the four. That doesn’t mean you can’t loosen up a little with your patterns and palette, though. An ecru linen suit is a safe, yet effective option that definitely won’t run roughshod over the dress code. Verve up the neutral tones with a classic blue striped shirt and, to go the extra mile, a charming white pocket. Last but not least, finish your look with a winning combination of a dark-brown leather belt and leather brogues in the same hue. As the least dressy enclosure, you can forgo the tie altogether – keep the first few buttons of your shirt undone for that cool, casual finish that’ll serve you well if the heat is pushing 30°C.