There are few occasions on the British social calendar more sartorially daunting than Royal Ascot. The Queen herself is in the habit of attending this legendary thoroughbred racing meet, and the bold and the beautiful have been flocking here for the big event for more than 300 years. (Well, not the same people, mind you, although a few attendees appear so well-preserved that you might wonder).
Rocking up in the proper attire is essential. In fact, Ascot has devoted an entire section on its website to the dress code, which varies according to where you sit.
For the coveted Royal Enclosure, men must wear a top hat, and everything from the size of a lady’s headpiece to the width of her dress straps is specified down to the inch.
Exposed midriffs are verboten in the Royal, Queen Anne and Village Enclosures.
“Fancy dress” (as in costumes, not “fancy dresses”) are forbidden everywhere…and Daisy Duke cut-offs are, presumably, right out.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bit of fun and stand out in the crowd.
If your feathered fascinator needs refreshing and last year’s dress is looking bedraggled, Danish-born designer Isabell Kristensen, whose clients include Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Katy Perry and Monaco’s Princess Charlene, has the couture cure for what ails you.
Read on to see a few of Kristensen’s “racy” Royal Ascot fashions from seasons past.
Get geared up: For more information on Isabell Kristensen’s boutiques in London and Monaco, click here.
Getting there: From London’s Waterloo Station, the train to Ascot takes less than an hour. For rail tickets, visit http://www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Getting in: Royal Ascot tickets sell faster than a racehorse on crack, so you had better pony up ASAP! You can buy your tickets here.
Get tucked in: Coworth Park, a five-star country house hotel and a member of The Dorchester Collection, is conveniently located on 240 acres in Ascot near Windsor. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were spotted here in the spring of 2017. Temptations include a sunlit spa with an indoor swimming pool and several dining options, such as afternoon tea in the drawing room, the Michelin-starred Restaurant Coworth Park, and the cozy barn, with spectacular sunset views. If Royal Ascot has awoken your inner equestrian, the hotel can also arrange horseback riding and polo lessons.
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