Skip to main contentSkip to footer

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Read our full commerce guidelines here.

11 beautiful Ascot-appropriate dresses for a day at the races

Royal Ascot dresses 101

Ascot dresses
Hollie Brotherton
Lifestyle & Commerce Senior Writer
Updated: 12 hours ago
Share this:

Royal Ascot 2024 will take place from Tuesday 18 - Saturday 22 June. With just weeks to go, now is the time to start thinking about what to wear if you haven't already, and brush up on the rules before choosing your all-important outfit.

One of the most high profile events in the British sporting calendar, it's attended by royalty, celebrities and paparazzi, and there's arguably nowhere more important to be sartorially savvy.

With its famously strict dress code, it has become as much about what you wear as it is the races. Everyone is encouraged to dress up for the occasion, but each enclosure has slightly different rules, from guidance on shoulder straps to hem lengths, and headpieces.

The best Royal Ascot dresses at a glance

  • The floral dress: Hobbs Vita Floral Midi Dress, £189 / $425
  • The royal-inspired dress: Phase Eight Philippa Long Sleeve Midi Dress, £139 / $250
  • The white dress: Self-Portrait Belted Cloqué Pleated Chiffon Midi Dress, £380 / $555
  • The fitted dress: Monsoon Garda Shift Dress, £125 / $169

Royal Enclosure dress code

- Dresses and skirts should be a modest length, falling no shorter than just above the knee.

- Dresses and tops must have straps that are a minimum width of one inch or more. 

- Strapless, off-the-shoulder, halterneck and spaghetti straps are not permitted. 

- Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but tops and dresses underneath must still comply with the dress code. 

- Trouser suits are permitted but should be full-length and of matching material and colours.

- Jumpsuits are also permitted and have the same regulations as dresses.

- Hats must be worn. However, a headpiece with a minimum base of four inches (10cm) is acceptable.

Princess Kate wears a bespoke Alexander McQueen dress to attend Royal Ascot 2023© Dave Benett
Princess Kate wore a bespoke Alexander McQueen dress and matching Philip Treacy hat to attend Royal Ascot last summer

Queen Anne Enclosure & Village Enclosure dress code

- A dress or top and skirt, with shoulder or halter neck straps (no minimum length)

- A trouser suit of matching material and colour

- A jumpsuit that falls below the knee and complies with the shoulder strap requirements

- A hat, headpiece or fascinator

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall attend Ladies Day at Royal Ascot 2023© Max Mumby/Indigo
Zara Tindall wore a white lace midi dress by Scanlan Theodore and a bespoke floral hat by Emily London Headwear at Ladies Day 2023

Windsor Enclosure dress code

- Attendees are encouraged to dress in smart daywear with a hat or fascinator, but there is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure.

Is there a theme for Ascot 2024?

The Royal Ascot dress code remains unchanged, but fashion designer Daniel Fletcher has been appointed the Creative Director of the 2024 Look Book. In recent years there has been a shift towards inspiring racegoers to be a little more inventive with their ensembles, moving the focus towards outfits that represent their individual style, and Daniel says guests should be bold and creative: "Whether it’s a hat with an unexpected shape or trying out a new silhouette, this is the chance to embrace dressing up and channelling freedom of expression. So step out of your comfort zone and push the boundaries by embracing your own unique sense of style".

If you want to get your outfit planned out with plenty of time, I've found the most stylish pieces available to shop now. I also got in touch with celebrity stylist Miranda Holder (@mirandaholder) to get her tips on what to wear to Royal Ascot 2024.

3 styling tips for Royal Ascot - according to a celebrity stylist

  • Channel a Grecian Goddess: "White - and similar shades such as ivory and ecru - have been a major fashion story on the runways recently, and appropriately for Race Day, floaty, feminine white dresses have been heavily favoured by designers. Frothy, diaphanous creations with oodles of fabric offer the perfect solution to Ascot's tricky dress code, ensuring plenty of coverage in their ample folds. Choose a light fabric which drapes well, such as chiffon or silk, and allow these feminine, romantic styles to speak for themselves."
  • Smell the Roses: "Floral prints, and in particular patterns featuring roses, are going to be a key trend, so this might be a direction worth considering. Prints, particularly the larger scale designs, are fantastic at helping to disguise any lumps and bumps, so if you are feeling a little figure-conscious, this could be a great way to go. With the exception of red, last year's brighter tones have been swapped out in favour of slightly more muted shades such as soft apricot, lilac and sky blue, so opt for a soft, romantic colour palette and select one of these hues to accent with accessories."
  • Don’t forget the dress coat: "The British weather is notoriously tricky, so why not make things simple and add a sprinkle of Royal sartorial panache to your racing look by choosing a dress coat and matching dress combination. A tried and tested formula loved by our fashion-loving Queen Camilla, the tailored dress coat worn over a simple but stylish matching dress feels formal enough to carry you through the grandest of guest lists. It's suitably modest for Ascot guidelines and has the added benefit of keeping you on the warmer side if the wind should pick up. If this outfit feels marginally too classic for you, try a vibrant colour clash by teaming pink clothes with red accessories for example."

The best Royal Ascot dresses to shop for 2024

  1. 1/11

    Hobbs Vita Floral Midi Dress

    Hobbs Vita dress

    Hobbs Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-18

    Colours available: Purple Floral

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    With its flattering ruched waist, this elegant midi dress from Hobbs is reminiscent of a Jacquemus number. Adorned with a very feminine floral print, it has flutter sleeves and a fit-and-flare shape that makes it perfect for Ascot.

  2. 2/11

    Phase Eight Philippa Long Sleeve Midi Dress

    Phase Eight Midi Dress

    Phase Eight Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-26

    Colours available: Pink/Red

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Channel Princess Kate in this bright midi dress from Phase Eight. It has a super flattering wrap cut with long blouson sleeves and a midi length. Style it with barely-there metallic accessories or matching brights if you're feeling bold.

  3. 4/11

    Self-Portrait Belted Cloqué Pleated Chiffon Midi Dress

    Self Portrait Ascot dress

    Self-Portrait Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-16

    Colours available: White

    Shipping: £7 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £300

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    This dreamy dress is by Princess Kate-favourite Self-Portrait. Reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour, the white cloqué midi dress has a tailored, fitted bodice with a waist-cinching belt and pleated chiffon skirt. It's ideal if a floral piece isn't your thing.

  4. 5/11

    LK Bennett Lois Neon Garden Print Dress

    LK Bennett race dress

    LK Bennett Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-18

    Colours available: Pink Floral

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    LK Bennett drops a stunning Royal Ascot collection every year. If you like your dresses to be a little bit romantic, you'll love this gorgeous floral midi that just dropped in the edit. Made from a slinky viscose-silk blend with a squiggle jacquard, and a reimagination of a French mid 19th century print, it features pleating detail, puff shoulders, and voluminous balloon sleeves.

  5. 6/11

    ME+EM Cotton Jacquard Gardenia Maxi Dress

    ME+EM dress

    ME+EM Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-16

    Colours available: Light Cream/Blue Floral

    Shipping: £4.95 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    How gorgeous is this floral maxi dress from ME+EM? Adorned with a delicate and feminine print in a soft colour palette, it can be worn open or with a chic high neck and features ruching on the shoulders. It even has pockets to keep your bets handy.

  6. 7/11

    Rixo Melanie Silk Midi Dress

    Rixo Ascot dress

    Rixo Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-26

    Colours available: Floral prints

    Shipping: £5 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 14 days

    The Melanie dress is a Rixo icon. Made from 100% silk, it has a Bias cut with an Empire waist and features the brand's signature clashing print style with navy florals and polka dots.

  7. 8/11

    Ted Baker Lounia Fluted Sleeve Midi Dress

    Ted Baker dress

    Ted Baker Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-16

    Colours available: White, Navy, Black

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £100

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    For a more structured piece, Ted Baker's popular Lounia dress comes in this season's trending hue and has a sleek fitted shape. It made from a luxurious-feeling heavy material and features short statement fluted sleeves.

  8. 9/11

    Really Wild Abbey Silk Midi Dress

    Really Wild dress

    Really Wild Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 6-16

    Colours available: Blue Floral

    Shipping: £4.95 Standard Delivery or free over £200

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    Made from 100% silk crepe de chine in the most beautiful floral print, Really Wild's midi dress is lightweight and breathable. It features long romantic sleeves, ruffled cuffs, a flowing skirt, and a closed back, with a relaxed cut that will keep you comfortable all day. Dress it down with boots once Ascot is over.

  9. 10/11

    Monsoon Garda Shift Dress

    Monsoon green dress

    Monsoon Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 8-24

    Colours available: Green

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £50

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    This Monsoon midi dress is a beautiful sleek and fitted option. Featuring cap sleeves and a twist neck, it hems just below the knee and has a flattering asymmetric cut with a front slit.

  10. 11/11

    Nobody's Child Floral Chiffon Anya Midaxi Dress

    Nobody's Child dress

    Nobody's Child Ascot Dress

    Sizes available: UK 4-18

    Colours available: Red Floral

    Shipping: £5 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £100

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    With its wildflower print and voluminous puff sleeves, I think Nobody's Child's Anya dress would look amazing for Ascot. Falling to a midaxi length, its made from a floaty fabric and has a fitted waist with a pretty line of fabric covered buttons.


Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Shopping

See more