Tuesday 12 December 2017

Royal Ascot has kicked off with the usual understated style we've come to expect

Racing style at Royal Ascot
Racing style at Royal Ascot
A racegoer during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 20, 2017
Racegoer Sara Davidson during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoers pose before the races at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Mrs Max McNeill during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoers pose before the races at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Ines Fernandes, from the Dominican Republic, during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Miss Edite Ligere during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoer Jackie St Claire during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoers pose before the races at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Racegoer Isabelle Kriastiansen during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

It's billed as the most cilivised event on the British racing calendar, but ths year's Ascot fashion is more risqué than regal.

The racing event began early this morning and will later see the upper echelon Britain's royal family including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Camilla, among others, in the royal box.

But in this year's bid to impress and out-dress, racegeors have opted for even more out-there fashion usual with all the weird and wonderful style getting an early show as guests arrived soon after the doors opened.

Unlike Aintree in Liverpool which has "style code", the dress code at Ascot, a decidedly more illustrious affair, has been heavily scrutinised for its restrictive rules.

Racegoers pose before the races at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Racegoers pose before the races at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic

Formal daywear is required, which means no hemlines should be shorter than your knee or thin-strapped tops, trouser suits needs to be full length and all one colour; jumpsuits are also permitted, but must also fall to the knee or lower (so no rompers).

"Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted, the website reads. "Midriffs must be covered. Fascinators are not permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a solid base covering a sufficient area of the head."

Hats are not only allowed, but encouraged, which explains the OTT fashions on display..and the royals haven't even arrived yet.

Meanwhile, haute couture designer Isabell Kristensen, among others, has praised the Berkshire race meeting which is as much a social occasion as a celebration of sport.

Racegoer Jackie St Claire during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoer Jackie St Claire during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

"It's the fabulous tradition of Ascot that keeps me coming back, I love the horses, I like to gamble - although I always lose. It's fantastic to come here and see clients and friends and have a glass of champagne," she told the Press Association.

"And I love seeing the fashion, what people are wearing - it's a fabulous fashion show."

Stephanie del Valle, the current Miss World, said in her homeland of Puerto Rico she was a big fan of the sport of kings.

She said: "I've heard so much about Royal Ascot, my family are all big fans of horse racing and I practically grew up at the race track back home, so coming here is so exciting."

Racegoer Heidi Lorton-Hill during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse
Racegoer Heidi Lorton-Hill during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse

After the royal arrivals, crowds will pay a minute's silence to pay their respects to those who died in recent events around the UK.

Johnny Weatherby, chairman of Ascot Racecourse, said: "We have all been deeply saddened by recent tragic events around the country.

David Seaman poses with wife Frankie Poultney at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
David Seaman poses with wife Frankie Poultney at Royal Ascot. Picture: Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic

"At the beginning of this important week for racing, we at Ascot Racecourse wish to pay our respects to the victims and offer support to the families who have been so terribly affected."

Additional reporting by the Press Association

For all the pictures of the action at Ascot, see the gallery here:

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