Royal Ascot is the Paris Couture Week of the British social season. Arguably the most fashion-forward event of the summer, the annual five-day festival perfectly combines the excitement of horse racing with a dress code that is more strict, yet brings more extravagance than any other.
Each year we look forward to seeing what the stylish socialites, the VIPs of the Royal Enclosure, the chicest celebrities and of course, the Princess of Wales will be wearing.
Since the event began in 1911, Ascot fashion has always stuck to the sartorial rules that still stand today and haven't changed much overtime. But the way guests have adhered to the dress codes has constantly reflected trends of their time. From fur and pearls in the 1920s, to pared back looks during the 40s thanks to fabric rationings after WW2, to bright colours of the swinging 60s, an elegant take on the boho movement during the 70s, all the way up to 2017, when Saville Row tailor Daisy Knatchbull reportedly became the first woman ever to wear a morning suit.
For 2023, it isn't just guests who will be altering their dress agendas. Ascot's official Style Guide has itself taken a new direction. Renamed this year the 'Royal Ascot Lookbook 2023', it consists of six different fashion edits: Luxe, Tailoring, Pre-Loved & Rental, Vintage, High Street and Emerging Designer.
Luke Jefferson Day, the stylist who worked on this year's lookbook said, “This season I wanted to encourage unexpected freedom, under the guidance of the enclosure dress codes, and inspire racegoers to be a little more unconventional and inventive in the way they dress up, and how they source their looks. [...] 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.”
Still not sure what you're wearing? Hello! Fashion's digital editor Natalie Salmon has put together five unbelievably chic outfits that are pretty major in every way, shape or form.
The 23 best Royal Ascot outfits of all time:
Nina Baden Semper
Queen Elizabeth II
Diana, Princess of Wales
The Duchess of Sussex
Emma Thynn, Marchioness of Bath
Lady Kitty Spencer
The Princess of Wales
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