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A 'right' Royal Ascot!

Posted on May 02, 2012 by Paul Tiernan

250 years on the social calendar makes Royal Ascot a grand institution. Traditions upheld, pageantry galore and one of the most beautiful racecourses in the country. Dress codes depend upon the enclosure but those heading for the Royal Enclosure should pick out morning dress. To maintain sartorial standards, course stewards are dispatched to pick out miscreants who don’t quite come up to scratch. We trust that Savvy Chaps would never find themselves in such a pickle! 

Black morning coat in herringbone weave or plain brushed finish, all wool, light to medium weight, or vintage coat in Barathea wool (slightly heavier, and useful as a standby in the event of chillier than expected conditions). Charcoal grey and pick & pick weave coats are also becoming popular with discerning chaps; we have some especially nice vintage examples.

Waistcoat classically in dove grey or buff. Canary yellow, powder blue, and even baby pink can also be spotted. Fine lightweight worsted cloth or linen. Double-breasted waistcoats are especially favoured by ourselves, but you won’t go wrong as long as you adhere to the above rules on colours. Shiny polyester waistcoats belong at footballers’ weddings and on Canadian snooker players!

Trousers in grey cashmere stripe. Black & white houndstooth check are a distinctive alternative. If pushed, a good pair of grey flannels would suffice. If you’ve selected a vintage coat, look for English-Cut (curved waistband, notch- back, high-rise, buttons for braces).

Plain white shirt with turn down collar (a detachable collar is an especially attractive detail). Ensure that the sleeves are of sufficient length to leave approx. 1/4 inch of cuff showing. A detachable stiff high wing collar works well with a pre 1960s vintage outfit.

The tie is the one opportunity for expressing a little (discrete) individuality. We like diagonal stripes (repp). A plain white pocket square may be worn. Novelty ties might result in immediate ejection from the enclosure!

Highly polished shoes must be black, ideally plain Oxfords, not loafers.

Top Hat either black felt or silk, or grey felt with black band. Vintage silk toppers in larger sizes are highly prized, and priced. Polished fur felt is considered next best, all-wool felt is a good budget option.

Vintage Royal Ascot


  • Hi David. Usually because they are badly done by low grade hire companies. Detachable stiff wing collars with studs are a different matter, of course, and recommended as part of a vintage ensemble.

    Posted by Savvy Row
  • You mention that wing collars have a bad name. Why is that? I personally like them.

    Posted by David
  • If you have a badge for the Queen’s Stand at Epsom on Derby Day, the same dress code applies – and is rigorously enforced!

    Posted by Rowland Wateridge

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