How to dress for Royal Ascot

Fashion model and social media influencer Mariano DiVaio wearing morning wear by Black Tie during his time at Royal Ascot 2016

When attending Royal Ascot it is essential that you are correctly attired for the event. The appropriate attire can vary depending on where you are situated at Royal Ascot, with there being two key areas: The Royal Enclosure & The Grandstand. 

These two areas have very different dress codes, and the purpose of this blog is to not only inform you on the correct dress code for these areas, but also to help you look your best with a wide range of style tips on waistcoats, accessories, shoes and more.

At Black Tie we make sure everything we discuss in this post is also available in our own shop either as part of our hire-range or available to purchase with links below - this includes everything from top hat & tails to shoes and custom neck-wear. There is also the option of bespoke and made-to-measure tailoring through our Bespoke department Healy & Son.

The dates for Royal Ascot 2019 are as follows:
Tuesday 18th June - Saturday 22nd June

What to Wear for the Royal Enclosure

For the Royal Enclosure men are required to wear full morning wear. This includes:

  • A morning coat in black or grey
  • Matching or striped morning trousers
  • A waistcoat and tie (cravats are not permitted)
  • A top hat in black or grey
  • Smart black formal shoes


The Royal Enclosure has a very strict dress code which needs to be adhered to very closely. Black morning coats with striped trousers are very much in the majority so you should only consider a grey coat if you would like to make a statement.

Traditionally a grey top hat is worn with either colour of coat and this is perfectly acceptable, but the trend at Ascot is to wear a silk top hat in black where possible, however these are generally very expensive and not a necessity. If you are looking to treat yourself to an antique or fur top hat then remember to check out our Silk Top Hats page!

We would always recommend a classic black Oxford style shoe with morning dress however any smart black shoe is fine. We would strongly recommend lace-up shoes but an older gentleman looking for comfort may opt for something like a highly polished black formal loafer (black or grey socks only please gentlemen!). Be sure to polish your shoes before arriving as there is nothing worse than a smart morning suit with a tired old pair of shoes!

The only area to really express yourself is with the waistcoat and tie, however a gentleman should never be too bold in this department. A single breasted waistcoat in dove grey or buff is traditional but pastel colours work wonderfully and if you prefer a little more detail then double breasted might be a better option. The tie should contrast with the waistcoat but compliment the rest of the outfit, and a subtle pattern helps to add some life. Fine polka dots work beautifully but you can't go wrong with a club stripe or even a classic paisley.

Soft coloured shirts are acceptable but a true gentleman always wears white with formal attire to help frame the tie which should be the focus. Finish the look with a pocket handkerchief in white linen, or if you prefer more of a statement then use one to match your tie or opt for a silk rolled-edge hankie with a bright and bold design.

What to Wear for the Queen Anne Enclosure (Grandstand)

Within the Queen Anne Enclosure (also known as the Grandstand) men are required to wear:

  • A suit (lounge suit)
  • Shirt & tie
  • Smart shoes (no trainers or similar)


The dress code in the Grandstand is much more relaxed, however we recommend dressing appropriately for the occasion. A business suit is perfectly OK but think about buying or hiring something a little more formal. A formal lounge suit should be made from a plain fabric and is generally worn as a 3-piece with a matching waistcoat, however the waistcoat is optional. Grey is the obvious choice as it is the most versatile in terms of pairing accessories, however navy or charcoal are also good choices - stay clear of black because of the connotations with funerals and freemasonry.

A white shirt will always look the most formal and will help to make your tie choice pop, however pastel colours or even soft patterns work well as long as the suit is plain - use your imagination! If you do choose a shirt with a pattern, be mindful of your tie choice, you don't want your outfit to look too busy. Pair a patterned shirt to a plain tie with a complimentary colour, or stick to a plain shirt and make a bolder statement with your tie - this is the direction we would sooner take.

Any colour of shoe is fine, however your shoe choice should be smart and fairly formal. The etiquette for shoes is to pair the colour to the colour of your suit buttons, which more often than not are black. If your suit has cloth covered buttons then choose the shoe colour based on the colour of your accessories - black goes with the cooler colours on the spectrum such as blue and green, and brown works better with cream, pink and red for example. It is ultimately down to personal preference but this tip goes a long way to creating an elegant and well conceived outfit.

If you are wearing a 2-piece suit then pair your belt colour to your shoes, if you decide to wear a waistcoat then DO NOT wear a belt as it spoils the lines of the suit - wear braces instead to keep the trousers in the right place and to keep your outfit looking neat and tidy!