Royal Ascot Dress code for The Royal Enclosure

For Ladies:

Hats should be worn; however, a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted.

For Gentlemen:

Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black, grey or navy morning dress which must include: A waistcoat and tie (no cravats or bow ties), A black or grey top hat, Black shoes worn with socks.

With the exception of overseas visitors wearing National dress, protocol requires gentlemen to have top hats in the Royal Enclosure.

Whilst serving military personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent, tradition in the UK is that Officers are attending a Social Event and so ceremonial dress is not appropriate (Especially if one is to be seen drinking and gambling!). So we recommend that serving UK military personnel should be dressed as other gentlemen and ladies.

Get a Silk Top hat and experience Royal Ascot and Ladies Day in true Style!

A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a Private Box, a private club or a facility's terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Gardens. The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure. Novelty waistcoats and ties are not permitted. Discreet patterns and those of a patriotic nature (for example, a national flag) are acceptable.

In other areas of the racecourse there is no requirement for top hats. In other enclosures people many still wear morning dress and top hats though it is not compulsory. Ultimately it is the etiquette in how you wear your topper, not just the protocol that makes a difference.

History of Silk Top Hats

The first silk top hat made in England was recorded in 1793. George Dunnage, a hatter in the county of Middlesex (London) made the top hat from silk shag (a form of silk plush). Initially the Silk Top Hat was never called a Silk Top Hat, nor a top hat, hats of the style were commonly called beaver hats. Dunnage's silk hat was initially described as "imitation of beaver" thus the silk top hat was born in England. The common use of the name Top Hat came into our written vocabulary later on, around the middle of the 19th Century. Prior to being made in England, the first silk hats originated in Florence c. 1760.

Top hats can be made from many different materials. Beaver Top Hats were most popular at one time, though other furs and felts were used including wool, hare even mole hair (as opposed to moleskin). Top Hats have also been made of straw, leather and even wood, if fact the straw boater could be considered to be just a low-crown, flat brim version of the old straw top hat!

Silk Top Hats made from Silk Plush are often considered the most desirable, due to their lightness and shiny appearance. Unfortunately the Silk Plush that was used to make silk top hats is no longer in mainstream production. Luckily vintage/antique secondhand Top Hats market is a good way to get one. Alternatively a modern non-silk polised Melusing Fur Felt is another option to consider.

Ascot Top Hats is a traditional gentleman's hatter providing top hats, and other gentlemen's headwear.

If you need a Top Hat for Royal Ascot or any other occassion you can contact Ascot Top Hats on 01344 638 838 to arrange a private appointment.

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