Royal Ascot made a massive statement about its stature and class this week with its imposition of a strict dress code patrolled by their own fashion police name tagged as “Dress Code Assistants”.
Modesty and dignity have become a priority to an occasion once associated with Gentry. Is it old money against new money? Well if it is, the old money won this race hands down.
In recent years, Royal Ascot has opened its doors to anyone who can afford to go. It has proactively tried to move away from its elitist image; for example by encouraging more and more corporate boxes. However, with that comes a price. Modesty and dignity have been lost in dress as women rock up baring as much flesh as possible.
So this year, dresses must fall no shorter than just above the knee. No bustiers or spaghetti straps. Shoulder have to be covered. Headpieces in the Royal Enclosure must have bases of 4 inches which rules out the ever popular fascinator. Amusingly, the fascinator is allowed in the Grandstand Area as a bare head would be totally unacceptable.
The statement that is coming out loud and clear from Britain’s upper class, is that if you want to join our event, you better damn well do as you are told. And that means dress appropriately. If you don’t, our “Dress Code Assistant” will take you to one side and provide you with a pashmina, fascinator or the opportunity to hire a hat. Otherwise, stay at home.