It would be almost blasphemous for a British fashion blog to allow this week to pass without mentioning the Royal Ascot races and the fashion flurry that it sends us into. Although it is of course a week-long, internationally acclaimed horse-racing event, Royal Ascot is now equally famous for the style (or sometimes lack of), of its patrons. Channel 4 have even brought on board television presenter and luxury boutique owner Brix Smith-Start, to host fashion items within its daily racing coverage.

Ascot has become more of a social event than a sporting event and you can imagine that many Silver Ring and Grandstand ticket holders have more interest in Champagne, Pimms and the chance to dress up, than the names of all the trainers, owners and the history of the event. Celebrities are often photographed attending Ascot, although, contrary to popular belief, many don’t get the chance to enter the Royal Enclosure, where the dress code is very strict. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t subject to the same dress code as the general public, who no matter what ticket they have, are still required to follow a formal dress code to uphold the traditional, upper class nature of the event.

I don’t want to go through the usual ‘Ascot fashion talk’ about exactly what the dress code entails, but rather provide for you a few tips on how to avoid a first place fashion faux pas. And of course, these tips can also be kept in mind for the wedding and garden party season, although the hat might be a little too much for a picnic in the park.

1. Firstly of all, there is no need to go overboard on the fake tan – there’s nothing wrong with a healthy glow, but nothing will cheapen your classy look more than an uneven, over-the-top orange hue.

2. Unless you have been sponsored by a milliner with a unique sense of style, there is no need to wear a strange hat or a hat so large that it requires its own postcode. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stand out with your choice of hat, but it needn’t be for the wrong reasons – a simple design in a bright colour would suffice, or perhaps a smaller design with embellishments as opposed to the usual mesh and feathers.

3. Heels are a must, but they needn’t be 6 inch stacked platforms, especially if you are in the Silver Ring because unless you get in early, chances are that you will be standing on grass and nobody wants to sink in their heels!

4. Watch your hemline. Despite the rumours that crop up year after year, it is perfectly acceptable to have a hemline that falls above the knee, but don’t go too far – I would suggest no more than 3-4 inches, depending on your height. This also applies to necklines, which shouldn’t be too plunging.

5. Finally, don’t forget to paint your nails! You’ve made lots of effort so far and probably spent a fair amount on your dress, hat, bag and shoes – don’t ruin it by forgetting to finish your outfit with finesse.

6. Above all, enjoy your day. The Royal Ascot Races are fabulously British so do what we do best and enjoy the traditional festivity.

By Louise Hayward

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