The Royal Ascot is the pinnacle of the social season in the U.K., and with this year being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, you can be sure the fashions were a little more elaborate. First, a little overview for those not up on the strict social calendar taking place across the pond: much like the Kentucky Derby, the Royal Ascot is a horse race. And again, like the Derby, the race goers don their finest frippery and most outrageous hats, fascinators and accessories—and the crowds gather to watch the pageantry as much as the horses.
However, the Royal Ascot lasts for a full five days in June. There are three separate enclosures, each with a very specific dress code. For instance, if you wanted to sit in the Royal Enclosure or even to just pass through and you had bare shoulders or were lacking a hat, you would be turned away. Luckily, “fashion police” sit outside the gate with fascinators and pashminas for the ladies and ties for the gentlemen with none.
Also unlike the Derby, the British aristocrats have had centuries to perfect the most incredible race day ensembles as seen above! What do you think? Do you wish there were more formal occasion to wear large hats or are you glad that style isn’t as popular over here?