Royal Ascot: The Official Dress Code New!

Royal Ascot is one of the most stellar dates in the British summer diary - 19 - 23 June, this year - and is famed for its bobbing sea of vibrant hats, feathers and such like. It's as much about the occasion of dressing as it is the racing... Well, a well-heeled man and lady could have a jolly good debate on the matter, at least.

The fashion desk has frequented the Royal Enclosure many a time and can confirm that the subject of dress code is strict and enforced - faux pas are not merely frowned upon. Trust us: you DON'T want to be the lady asked to leave the Champagne canopy for flashing too much shoulder.

Today, the official dress code for the Royal Meeting has been revealed (with accompanying shots of acceptable looks), to help visitors adhere to tradition and tilt a feathered hat in respect towards racing's favourite day.

Royal Enclosure - Ladies: "Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer." This replaces the less clear instruction that miniskirts are considered unsuitable.

"Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat." This clarifies that fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure.

Royal Enclosure - Gentlemen: "Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats), a black or grey top hat and black shoes." This clarifies that cravats are not acceptable and that black shoes should be worn with morning dress.

Grandstand Enclosure - Ladies: "A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times." This replaces advice that many ladies wear hats but this is not compulsory.

"Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted." This, and several other points, illustrate better what is meant by the previous guidance that ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate to a smart occasion.

Grandstand Enclosure - Gentlemen: "Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and tie." This replaces the instruction that gentlemen must wear a shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket.

We look forward to seeing stars and fashionistas alike dancing between the lines of formality. OK, the question we're really asking is, what will Pippa and Kate wear? Oh, my!