I had my first experience of Ascot last weekend, Royal Ascot that is. Clearly I was attracted to the thought of dressing up. I have no weddings to attend this summer so was in major need of an excuse to get my hat on. The horse racing was really just a by-product, albeit a very fun one. What I wasn’t expecting was the panic that overwhelmed me in the fortnight prior to Royal Ascot, suddenly finding myself unsure of what to expect from a day at the races.
At the start of the year I wrote about the new Royal Ascot dress code. At the time I didn’t even plan on attending the event, yet I argued, do we still need fashion rules? For the 301st year of Ascot, the organisers had upped the ante, publishing an even stricter dress code. Women in the Royal Enclosure had to wear skirts of modest length, hats rather than fascinators and men in full morning suits.
Alas, I had a cheap ticket in the Silver Ring which had no enforced dress code. That said, everyone still makes an effort, proving that the style stakes is not just an important attendance factor for myself. With anxiety looming over the weather forecast, I knew I had to build an outfit based on practicality as well as style. Wedges were essential as heels would (and did for many) sink into the ground – I opted for New Look red wedges. I would have been very upset had I worn expensive heels.
I then wore a cream lace dress bought from a craft fair, red printed tux style jacket for warmth, and a classic cream M&S hat borrowed from mother. Goose pimples were in abundance for those without a jacket, although a pashmina was a good bet too. I didn’t get lucky on the races, but would I go again? Yes, but next year I might upgrade to the Grandstand. I’ve got a whole year to find the perfect hat.