Stylish and sustainable: Ascot unveils its official 2021 style guide

Stylish and sustainable: Ascot unveils its official 2021 style guide and encourages guests to buy second-hand outfits – with innovative millinery and pastel-coloured ties predicted to be key trends

  • Ascot Style Guide features garments from British and sustainable fashion labels
  • Also sourced from charity shops, vintage emporiums and re-sale websites
  • Innovative millinery remains crowning accessory for the Royal Meeting and for gentlemen, classic tailoring and ties in pastel come to forefront of formal wear
  • Face coverings are featured from Rachel Trevor-Morgan and Marks & Spencer 

The glamorous outfits at Royal Ascot are as much a part of the day as the racing itself, which is why the annual event has helped guests out by sharing it’s tenth official style guide.

Royal Ascot, which will take place Tuesday 15th – Saturday 19th June, is a highlight of the British summer season and, after a year of uncertainty and lockdowns, it will herald the return of occasionwear when it opens its doors in the summer. 

This year’s Royal Ascot Style Guide, in association with Swiss watch brand Longines, is keen to demonstrate to racing followers around the world that the Royal Meeting is about looking your best – and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy something brand new.   

With a focus on sustainability and the art of conscious shopping, garments featured include those sourced from charity shops, nearly new boutiques, vintage emporiums and re-sale websites, as well as British and sustainable fashion labels. 

Coat dress with belt: Zeynep Kartal £1,350; Hat: Edwina Ibbotson £2,185; Shoes: Bionda Castana £425 ;Watch: Longines, £1,000. Pictured, Royal Enclosure

Dress: Erdem, £1,400; Rachel Trevor Morgan Hat: £1,395 Face Covering: £30; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, £665; Bag: Aspinal of London, £495; Garrard Ring: £18,000; Earrings: £32,000

Stylist Nicole Smallwood says: ‘Black and white as a colour combination can be as striking as a bold bright, use it in equal proportions for a chic flattering effect.’ Pictured, Royal Enclosure

Dress: Vintage Chanel at Found and Vision £550; Earrings: Vintage at eBay; £40 Hat: Edwina Ibbotson; £4,995 Shoes: Prada at My Wardrobe HQ, £13 per day to rent or £240 to buy. Pictured, Queen Anne enclosure

Dress: The Vampire’s Wife My Wardrobe HQ £17 per day to rent Flower Head Piece: Ipek Ross for Unique Flowers £140 Belt: Stylist’s Own Shoes: Prada at My Wardrobe HQ £13 per day to rent or £240 to buy

Innovative millinery remains the crowning accessory for the Royal Meeting and for gentlemen, classic tailoring, light summer suits and ties in pastel shades come to the forefront of formal wear. 

And, of course, on a hopefully short-term basis, people will be adding face covering fashion to their outfits.       

Legendary stylist and Queen of Thrifting Bay Garnett sourced feature looks by well-known names such as Chanel, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from Rellik, Cancer Care, eBay, Found & Vision, My Wardrobe HQ and Circle of Style. 

Visionary photographer Tom Craig brought his creative eye to the campaign with the duo creating images that elevate the world of pre-loved fashion. 




• Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer. 

• Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater. Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted. Dresses and tops with sheer straps and sleeves are also not permitted.

• Jackets and pashminas may be worn. Tops and dresses underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure Dress Code. Midriffs must be covered. 

• Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full-length to the ankle and of matching material and colour. 

• Jumpsuits are welcome. They should fall below the knee, with regulations matching that for dresses and tops. 

• Hats should be worn; however, a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted.  

Two-Piece Suit: Gucci at My Wardrobe HQ £34 per day to rent. Hat: Victoria Grant £2,149 Shoes: Roger Vivier at My Wardrobe HQ £15 per day to rent or £160 to buy

Two-piece Suit: Laura Green, £2,200; Hat: Lisa Tan, £390; Shoes: Jimmy Choo, £495; Bag: Alexander McQueen, £1,090; Watch: Longines, £1,000. Pictured, Royal Enclosure

Dress: Ashish @ MATCHESFASHION £2,415; Hat: Justine Bradley-Hill Millinery £635; Shoes: Alessandra Rich £735; Face Covering: Rachel Trevor Morgan £40

Dress: Zimmermann £2,400; Hat: Awon Golding, £895; Couture made-to-order; Shoes: GINA, £650. Pictured, Royal Enclosure


It is a requirement to wear black, grey or navy morning dress which must include: 

• A waistcoat and tie (no cravats or bow ties) 

• A black or grey top hat 

• Black shoes worn with socks A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a Private Box, a private club or a facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. 

Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Gardens. 

The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure. Novelty waistcoats and ties are not permitted. Discreet patterns and those of a patriotic nature (for example, a national flag) are acceptable. 

Favourbrook Navy Morning Coat: £690; Navy Trousers: £240; Pale Pink Waistcoat: £290 White Shirt: £145; Silver Tie: £85; Pocket Square: £35; Top Hat: Oliver Brown £500; Cufflinks: Deakin & Francis @ MATCHESFASHION, £125 Shoes: Russell & Bromley £275; Face Covering: Marks & Spencer £9.50 pack of 5

Dress: Simone Rocha @ Mytheresa, £1,795; Hat: Lock & Co Couture by Awon Golding, £1,200; Shoes: Jimmy Choo, £595. Pictured, Royal Enclosure


Boys (aged 10-17) should either dress in accordance with the gentlemen’s Dress Code; or alternatively may wear a dark-coloured lounge suit with a shirt and tie. Girls (aged 10-17) should dress in accordance with the Ladies’ Dress Code. However, they may wear a headpiece or fascinator as an alternative to a hat, without any size restriction. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site. Face masks must be worn as per Covid-19 protocols. It is requested that these are of a tasteful nature and selected with the same considerations in mind as when choosing a hat, waistcoat or tie. 



Ladies within the Queen Anne Enclosure are required to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion and are kindly asked to take note of the following:

• A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times. 

• Strapless dresses and tops are not permitted – including off-the shoulder, Bardot and one shoulder. Dresses and tops with sheer straps and sleeves are also not permitted

• Trouser suits must be full-length, and jumpsuits should fall below the knee. Both must adhere to the neckline regulations above

• Midriffs must be covered

• Shorts are not permitted 

Blouse: Vintage at Found and Vision £375; Hat: Victoria Grant £2,149; Bag: Fendi at Cancer Care Shop £120; Shoes: Vintage at Rellik, £145

Coat Dress: Laura Green, £2,900; Hat: Vivien Sheriff, £850; Couture Made-to-Order Shoes: GINA, £680. Pictured, Queen Anne Enclosure

Dress: Vintage at Found and Vision; Archive Hat and Face Covering: Beverley Edmondson, £475; Necklace: Vintage Louis Vuitton Stylist’s Own; Shoes: Vintage at Rellik, £145

Dress: Vintage at Found and Vision, £375; Hat: Stephen Jones Millinery, £2,070. Pictured, Queen Anne Enclosure

Vintage YSL at Found and Vision; Blouse: Archive Skirt: Archive Hat: Vintage at Rellik, £150; Belt: Stylist’s Own; Shoes: Jimmy Choo, £1,850

Blouse: Vintage at eBay, £45; Vintage at Found and Vision Culottes: £250 Shoes: £250; Belt: Oxfam Online, £20; Hat: Philip Treacy, £POA. Pictured, Queen Anne Enclosure


Gentlemen are required to wear a full-length suit with a collared shirt and tie, and kindly asked to take note of the following: 

• Jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern

• A tie should be worn at all times. Bow ties and cravats are not permitted

• Socks must be worn and should cover the ankle

• Jeans, chinos and trainers are not permitted

Oliver Brown Jacket: £345; Trousers: £105; Shirt: £70; Tie: £59; Shoes: £240; Watch: Longines £1,750. Pictured, Queen Anne Enclosure

Stylist Bay Garnett says: ‘I love an outfit that is rich in accessories; it adds glamour and individualism. So, as well as a hat, add a cool vintage belt. It can also give a stylish throwback to the 1970s which were so stylish in the way that accessories were used.’ Pictured, Queen Anne Enclosure


Boys aged 10-17 should wear a suit or jacket with a shirt and tie. Younger boys nine and under should be dressed smartly but are not required to wear a jacket or tie. Girls aged 17 and under should be dressed for a formal occasion. Smart summer dresses are suggested. Hats, headpieces and fascinators may be worn but are not compulsory. 


This is particularly relevant in today’s climate when the pandemic has affected so many around the globe. 

Bay Garnett comments: ‘Royal Ascot is one of the most glamorous and traditional events of British sporting life. 

To have an opportunity to bring second hand into this context was very exciting and I jumped at the chance!

This is exactly the sort of event that can change the perception around second hand clothes. I hope that this year’s Style Guide shows that by buying second hand, it is not only a better choice for the environment but is also a way to dress in a fun, individual and stylish way.’

Three-piece White Suit: The Deck, £2,900; Hat: Jane Taylor, £1,950; Shoes: Bionda Castana, £395; Earrings: Garrard, £4,000

Dress: Simone Rocha @ Mytheresa, £1,795; Hat: Lock & Co Couture by Awon Golding, £1,200; Shoes: Jimmy Choo, £595. Pictured, Royal Enclosure 

Dress: Taller Marmo @ NET-A-PORTER, £805; Hat: Lock & Co Couture by Awon Golding, £850; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, £725. Pictured, Royal Enclosure

For 2021, the Royal Enclosure Style Guide features British brands, paying homage to the incredible talent and style found across the nation, as well as established international names. 

Featured looks throughout include pieces from Alessandra Rich, Erdem, Simone Rocha, Alexander McQueen, Manolo Blahnik, Zeynep Kartal, Ashish, Zimmerman, Taller Marmo, Garrard and Longines. 

Sustainable fashion can be found throughout the Style Guide from labels including L.K.Bennett, Galvan, Monsoon, Hobbs, Hugo Boss, Essen, and Hasanova @ Wolf & Badger. 

These are labels which follow ethical practices, use natural and organic fibres, or modern materials which cause less stress on the environment. 

For gentlemen, classic tailoring, light summer suits, and ties in pastel shades come to the forefront of formal wear. 

Recognising emerging trends in formal menswear, navy morning suits are now permitted in the Royal Enclosure. Featured brands include Favourbrook, Oliver Brown and Harrys of London. 

The Royal Ascot Style Guide features millinery from the likes of Philip Treacy OBE, Stephen Jones OBE, Edwina Ibbotson, Lock & Co, Sarah Cant, Rachel Trevor-Morgan, Jane Taylor, Awon Golding, Lisa Tan, Vivien Sheriff, Victoria Grant and Justine Bradley-Hill. 

The history of fashion at Royal Ascot – Key Dates: 

Late 1700s – Beau Brummell, a close friend of the Prince Regent, who decreed that ‘men of elegance should wear waisted black coats and white cravats with pantaloons’ and this set the tone for the dress code that is still adhered to by men in the Royal Enclosure. 

1830s – Queen Victoria’s visit to Royal Ascot saw her arrive in a pretty lace dress with a full bell skirt and shawl. She also started a craze for the porter bonnet, shielding the wearer from male eyes. 

1890s – As the dawn of a new century arrived, fashion took on an almost celebratory tone. Skirts were less full, but silhouettes made a greater statement with angular hips and puffed sleeves. Hats were large and full of feathers and adornments. 

1900s – One of fashions most iconic images; that of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady was inspired when costume designer Cecil Beaton saw images of Black Ascot, The 1910 Royal Ascot meeting was in full mourning over the death of King Edward. 

1920s – Hemlines were shorter and cuts were smaller in the 1920s reflecting a post-war generation’s rebellion against old traditions. Pearls and furs were the accessories of the day. 

1950s – Christian Dior’s New Look, a small waist and full skirt, was proving popular however it was when the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth and her stylish sister Princess Margaret wore the style at Royal Ascot that it was cemented in history. 

1960s – Royal Ascot’s glamorous profile elevated when Italian actress Sophia Loren was photographed in the Royal Enclosure. In modern times some of the biggest names in Hollywood and fashion have attended.

1970s – Trouser suits became more popular following their introduction to the dress code in 1971. Gertrude Shilling, The Ascot Mascot, delighted press with her extravagant outfits. One year, one of her son David’s millinery designs outgrew the Shilling’s long-wheel-based Rolls Royce, so the hat had to follow in a van behind. 

1980s – Sharp lines and bright colours took centre stage during this decade. With statement hats and pointed heels, there was little room for floaty florals in 1980s glamour. 

2012 – Royal Ascot officially launches its Style Guide to racegoers outlining dress code regulations for the Royal Enclosure and Queen Anne Enclosure (formally known as Grandstand). 

2017 – The jumpsuit is formally accepted in the Royal Enclosure Dress Code and the Queen Anne Enclosure Dress Code is extended to the new Village Enclosure. 

2018 – Royal Ascot introduce Style Guides for the Village Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure. 

2020 – Royal Ascot runs behind closed doors for first time in the event’s history during global COVID-19 pandemic.  

This year face coverings are featured from Rachel Trevor-Morgan and Marks & Spencer. 

These images were created in conjunction with stylist Nicole Smallwood, Fashion Director at Country & Town House, and fashion photographer Rachell Smith. 

Felicity Barnard, Commercial Director, Ascot Racecourse, comments: ‘We anticipate Royal Ascot 2021 will be an important event in this year’s calendar as the highest profile formal occasionwear outing in Britain for over a year. 

The event is known for setting the trends but more than anything, we see 2021 as an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family. 

‘We have chosen this year’s 10th anniversary Style Guide to shine a spotlight on pre-loved fashion and encourage racegoers to ‘shop their wardrobes’. 

We were thrilled with the images Bay and Tom produced for 2021. They demonstrate that whilst Royal Ascot is an elite sporting event, dressing for the occasion is not in itself an elite sport.’ 

‘We look forward to celebrating the festivities with everyone in June, be they with us at the racecourse or watching all the action from home.’ 

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