I'm a Fashion Editor—These 6 Ascot Outfits Get a Yes From Me

The annual Royal Ascot may take place on a racecourse, but for us fashion obsessives, the catwalk of extravagant outfits is undoubtedly the main event. Think feather-adorned headpieces and floor-sweeping lace gowns. It's a lot. That being said, if you're lucky enough to have scored a ticket to Ladies' Day, or if you plan on attending other races around the country, there's no need to be intimidated by the extravagant dress traditions.

The Ascot rules have loosened up over the past few decades (though it took until 2017 for jumpsuits to be permitted), so as long as your skirt sits no higher than knee-length and your shoulder straps are thicker than one inch, the rest is relatively flexible. All you need is a couple of pieces that feel a little fancy, and yes, if this includes a hat it must be one with a base of 4 inches in diameter, to be precise (unless your ticket is for the Windsor Enclosure, this accessory is mandatory).

You might see the event as an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone—particularly if your regular uniform consists of jeans and a T-shirt—and try something statement-making. A bright print or a silhouette you've never tried before, for example. But if your priority is to feel like yourself so you can relax and sip rosé while you watch the race, that's okay too.

We've got you covered with six stylish outfits you don't need to think too hard about. Keep scrolling if you've been wondering what to wear to Ascot this summer.

1. Black Dress + Statement Heels


(Image credit: @nlmarilyn)

Style Notes: Given that we're talking about a centuries-old tradition, a vintage-style a-line dress feels like an appropriate choice. Maximise the nostalgia with a pair of eye-catching heels and a sleek occasion bag.

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2. Pastel Suit + Shoulder Bag


(Image credit: @melissareannejohnson)

Style Notes: As of the 1970s, you don't have to wear a dress to the races. Show up in a well-tailored suit in a mood-boosting colour, and I guarantee you'll be showered with compliments.

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3. Floral Dress + Sandals

@aimeesong wearing a floral dress

(Image credit: @aimeesong)

Style Notes: Let's face it—florals are a staple that will never leave our wardrobes. For Ascot, simply choose a more formal silhouette and you're good to go.

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4. White Dress + Neutral Accessories


(Image credit: @katherine_ormerod)

Style Notes: Don't overlook the simple white dress you have hanging in your wardrobe, and put aside the need to hide it behind loud accessories. Choose unfussy, elegant finishing touches and your refinement will speak for itself.

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5. Blazer + A-Line Midi Skirt


(Image credit: @amagodson_a)

Style Notes: Races attire doesn't have to completely deviate from your everyday style. Just pair your favourite blazer with an a-line midi skirt, then add some barely-there heels to give the outfit a smart flourish.

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6. Slip Dress + Flat Sandals


(Image credit: @bubblyaquarius)

Style Notes: Just because it's a formal event, you definitely don't have to wear heels. If anything, flats are a far wiser choice for this occasion—trudging through grass in stilettos isn't fun, no matter how skilled you are at walking in them.

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Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.