Early March means one thing for dedicated Royal Ascot attendees — time to start planning their race day look (or looks).
Each year since 2012, the course has released its official style guide; an informative brochure suggesting the labels and trends to know, with the intention of setting racegoers in good stead to nail each enclosure’s strict dress code (official guidelines can be found here).
But 2023 sees a new direction. Rather than splitting style tips up separately per enclosure, as the course has tradtionally done, the newly titled Lookbook is an editorial-led guide, focussed on personal style not segregated sectors on the track.
To curate the edit, Royal Ascot has enlisted the help of stylist Luke Day, and photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Man About Town magazine Damian Foxe. Their suggested styles make for a sure break from tradition.
“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,” says Day. “We’ve championed innovative British designers, whilst also showcasing international brands from further afield. I want to excite people to think outside of the box.”
“It has been a joy to be part of the Lookbook’s evolution as it moves away from a means to communicate the dress code, and instead towards becoming a source of fashion inspiration and a bellwether in the world of occasion dressing,” Foxe says. “We have decided to completely move away from creating a Lookbook dictated by enclosure, in favour of one which puts style centre stage.”
Rental fashion is also championed — with Hurr, Selfridges rental, Moss Bros and Oliver Brown tipped as favourites. The Vintage edit is also attention grabbing, and suggests guests dig through their wardrobes in hope of finding nipped waist, 80s Thierry Mugler jackets, classic Vivienne Westwood tartans, and generally “make like Harry Styles with opulent fabrics.”
It’s a step towards the modern at the racecourse founded by Queen Anne back in 1711. And while the actual dress codes have not been altered this year, the official advice is to go bold as dress up between the lines.