Royal Ascot and Summer events

And we're off!


Remind yourself that the Summer party event season is THE time to be a more dramatic version of yourself. There's no bride to be mindful of at the races, or Henley so go nuts - try patterns you wouldn't usually wear and clash colours!  Whatever event you are attending this summer, you want a WOW dress that fits the rules for the occasion but blows everyone's mind at the same time.

This week on the blog I am focussing on Royal Ascot as that event is coming-up the week after next. Royal Ascot has dress codes that must be followed but it definitely doesn't mean you need to dress in a 'safe' way.  This year, the Ascot dress code regarding hats has changed - for the Royal Enclosure 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. Elsewhere in the Grandstand, all ladies must wear a hat or fascinator.

The dress code for ladies at Royal Ascot is 'formal daywear' and is as follows:

• Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.

• Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.

• Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.

• Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full length and of matching material and colour.

• Jumpsuits are welcome. They should be of full length with regulations matching that for dresses.

Fancy Pants

I love the idea of a jumpsuit for the races as something different but overall, when it's a formal event, personally I would rather opt for a fancy knock-out dress. If I was attending my first choice would be a 'Susannah' designer but 'ready-to-wear' dress. Her dresses are beautifully tailored and British designed in a vintage style - very classic.

Gorgeous Hydrangea print in fail-safe navy with flattering cinched-in waist in a 50's style. This would look fab with a vintage hat and the Jimmy Choo Antique tea rose satin mules below.


Susannah Dress


Tea rose heels



Another dress by Susannah, this Dita dress in a striking Kyoto print would work well with the tea rose mules above or the black Alaia laser cut sandals below. I love the Phillip Treacy hat with this dress - a riot of pattern and texture makes an interesting outfit!


Dita Dress


Phillip Treacy hat



Black Alaia heels will go with lots of outfits after Royal Ascot too!

Alaia Heels


One more Susannah dress - I could have featured all of them from her website they are so amazing for events! BUT in the interests of variety, have stuck to three. This one is the Dancehall trailing rose dress. The bow at the tummy will give even the straightest person some waist definition. Wear this dress with the black Alaia heels to give it a bit of edge and take the girly-ness down a notch. Finish with a classic cream hat like this one by Juliette Botterill Millinery. Or pick out the blue or green and wear a hat in one of those colours - it's good to match your hat colour with your eyes as it brings them out more.

Dancehall trailing rose dress


Cream Juliette hat


Moving on from classic/retro to a couple of trendy/cool options for the more fashion focussed. I love this fun lip print dress by Prada at Net-a-porter and it's quirkiness would take a whackier hat - in fact it would need one! Phillip Treacy does an amazing range of hats and Fenwick's is a great place to shop for a selection. Anyone would stand out in this dress - wear with black or white heels.

Prada lip print dress


Black net hat


Another British designer, Emilia Wickstead does romantic but current dresses. Pink is the colour of the season and this dress with a fitted bodice and cropped balloon sleeves is a stunning choice, quite unusual and eye-catching for Royal Ascot. Would look great on a blonde or a brunette. Wear this with black heels (they are working with everything in this blog!) and a black hat to anchor the prettiness or go full pretty with a white hat or fascinator (and white shoes).


Emilia Wickstead Dress


Back to a vintage style but this time 1940's. This green, georgette trimmed crepe midi dress by Dolce & Gabanna is another stunna'! This shape would flatter curves and because it is plain, it would look good with a fussy, statement hat like those below by Rachel Trevor-Morgan. White shoes would work with this too and match the white buttons on the dress.


Dolce & Gabanna green event dress


Apricot flowers


Netted hat


Moving on from high-end to high street and I've spotted a couple of great options.


This gorgeous Warehouse frilly lemon yellow dress would look amazing with a very wide brimmed straw hat and gold strappy heels like these from Kurt Geiger. An event like Royal Ascot is not the time to be understated and plain!


Lemon yellow dress

Gold shoes


Last dress today, this show-stopper from Coast Stores 'race-day' collection is beautiful.


Floral Coast Dress


And to accessorise... these should be kept to a minimum and especially if you are wearing a big old fussy hat - stick to studs if that's the case. If you have a more simple hat, these vintage style sparkly earrings from Stella and Dot will go with all the dresses above except the yellow one!

Sparkly Stella & Dot earrings


These for the yellow dress with gold shoes, simple sparkly gold drop earrings.


Gold drop earrings

Happy race days!

If you have a question about event outfits I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below or contact me directly with the 'get-in-touch' link here and below.

Lisa Gillbe is a Personal Stylist and Image Consultant based in London. If you would like help finding an outfit for a special occasion this summer or need a whole wardrobe refresh, get in touch.