Stricter rules makes it harder than ever to get it right at Ascot

Punters having trouble with holding onto their wine glasses, betting slips and cash are now faced with a new challenge: Ascot Park has drawn a line in the turf and tightened up their dress code and the options for not looking good have just been taken down a peg.

Hats are mandatory in the Royal Enclosure, with fascinators being shown the door along with hemlines above the knee. In common areas like the Grandstand, strapless dresses are out and some kind of headpiece is a must-have.

Ascot’s Charles Barnett, the chief executive claims that it is “not a matter of elitism,” but rather wanting patrons to embrace a culture where smart styles and class become the normal attire for a day out at the races.

With the season of classic black type races approaching, punters need to check out their wardrobes to ensure they’re up on the pace in the fashion stakes. One way is to find out what the some of the leading designers are saying.

Amanda Wakeley says keeping with the trend and the racetrack environment is the way to stay ahead of the pack. Sexy, modern and chic is what any racegoer should be aiming for, she says.

If you’re not keen on showing your legs, there’s nothing wrong with a stylish trouser suit on Ladies Day. Fashion-wise you’re always onto a winner with killer heels and bright colors; just make sure your heels won’t leave you stranded as they dig into any soft mud you didn’t notice on your arrival.

The good thing about “racewear” is that it needn’t be exclusive to the track. Smart casual daywear can easily be worn to other formal occasions such as garden parties and weddings. And of course you’ll know how to accessorize and transform your outfit into something even your closest friends may not recognize.

Headwear designers will be delighted with the tightening of rules at Royal Ascot. Oversized hats have always been popular, but now they are being used to add that touch of glamour and class to any lady’s race day wardrobe.

Remember not to choose any old headgear though. Make your selection as you would any other item of fashion; find something that suits your particular look by trying as many different styles and colours as you can.