The tradition of formalwear at Royal Ascot can be traced back to the days of Beau Brummell. The notorious 19th-century dandy and confidante of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) shaped an impetus on sophisticated style which continues to this day.
Brummell dictated that “men of elegance” should wear “waisted black coats and white cravats with pantaloons”.
Times and tastes have changed, of course – and over the years, the dress code has become rather more complicated, too, with different rules for the various enclosures.
The most draconian is unsurprisingly the Royal Enclosure, followed by the Queen Anne, then the Village and finally the more relaxed Windsor.
We’re here to guide you through what outfit you should wear – and which watch to pair with it…
Lucky enough to have bagged an invitation to Ascot’s Royal Enclosure? Then it’s morning suit and top hat for you. Although navy has officially been added to the approved colour list, we’d still opt for this classic grey Favourbrook Norfolk morning coat (£720) and trousers (£275).
The watch: Longines Dolcevita
The tradition of formalwear at Royal Ascot can be traced back to the influence of the 19th-century style icon Beau Brummell. We’ve no doubt the notorious dandy would be a fan of the Longines DolceVita. Classic and elegant, the DolceVita elicits an air of a bygone era and a life of luxury.
The eye-catching rectangular face and traditional hour markers create a chic silhouette. And the black leather and stainless steel case make it a perfect partner for traditional morning dress.
Queen Anne Enclosure
In the Queen Anne Enclosure, morning dress isn’t required, but you will need a matching suit jacket and trousers, and a tie is compulsory. Amusingly, bow ties are strictly forbidden. Choose a summery pastel like this pink Sidmouth Ebury jacket (£620) and Windsor trousers (£260) by Favourbrook to stand out from the crowd.
The watch: Longines Master Collection
Longines’ passion for the equestrian world dates back to 1869, when it crafted its first equestrian pocket watch. It followed this up in 1878 with a chronograph fitted in a case engraved with a jockey and his mount.
To this day you’ll see Longines is the official timekeeper for many of the world’s most glamorous equestrian events including, of course, Royal Ascot. So when it comes to choosing your timepiece, there’s only really one watch brand for the job.
All watches from the Longines Master Collection are fitted with self-winding movements and transparent case backs with sapphire crystal. This model includes a moonphase for an extra dose of panache.
If you’re in the Village Enclosure, the sartorial rules are slightly more relaxed. But only slightly. Either a tie, bow tie or cravat is compulsory – and you will need a jacket and trousers, but they don’t have to match. But why not go the whole hog and rock a three-piece, like this Sharkskin suit (£399.95) from Charles Tyrwhitt?
The watch: Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary
Longines has been crafting watches since 1832. More than 190 years’ experience definitely entitles the watchmaker to claim the ‘Master’ moniker for one of its main collections, launched back in 2005
To mark its 190th anniversary, Longines has launched a series of exclusive timepieces from the Master Collection. Details include a sandblasted silver dial and soft, anthracite grey leather strap. An ideal complement to a grey three-piece suit.
While there is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure, gentlemen are encouraged to dress in ‘smart daywear’. Cue: the linen jacket – every man’s best summer friend. This sage green number (£199.95) – pictured right – from British brand Charles Tyrwhitt is a shoo-in.
The watch: Longines Spirit Zulu Time
The more casual vibe of the Windsor Enclosure means you’re no longer tied to a dress watch.
Instead, opt for a sports watch like this 42mm Spirit Zulu. This beauty from Longine’s Spirit collection boasts a COSC-certified chronometer, a 72-hour power reserve, and a stainless steel bracelet with double safety folding clasp.
With a 24-hour hand and time zone mechanism, this is a watch for the worldly-wise. But sadly it still can’t tell you which horse to lump your money on.