Since its inception in 1711 fashion has been at the heart of Royal Ascot every bit as much as the strained galloping beasts. Perhaps now the focus has shifted further still towards style. Traditionally viewed as a chance for women to reveal their hideous tastes, with the crazed fervor surrounding the hats (the hats!) and the news-friendly outlandishness of ‘Ladies Day’. Men have often been left behind in the fashion stakes at Ascot. However, men can compete with one another and on a much more subtle, stylish level.
Classic outfitters such as Ede & Ravenscroft offer just the right tone of apparel one would wish to sport at Ascot, hopefully off-set by the gaudiness of the canary yellow dresses and bleary pinks gotted liberally around the stands. In fact, they have even offered their own style guide to the event to give the well-prepared gentleman a headstart:
One aspect of male attire that will never lose its composed, stylish aspect is the ascot tie itself. It’s the Oscar Wilde of ties, there is an unflappable wit to the garment that frames a man like nothing else. In fact, in recent times, the ascot has been given a fashionable airing by celebrities, as ever, determined to knot themselves a little credibility. Wardrobe daredevil Lord Beckham is one of the new-traditionalists keen to pay his respects to the tie. From Cary Grant to Hugh Hefner, and from the Odd Couple’s Felix Unger to Raef Bjayou from The Apprentice, many men have been seduced by the alluring pull of the ascot’s gentle grip.
An ascot is for life, not just for weddings and race events. But it can be a little tricky for the uninitiated. However, it couldn;t be simpler and it’s hard to think of such a delicate touch that can transform the tome of a look – indeed, a man – so radically, with so little effort. Here’s an easy step-by step to get you through those first few attempts:
Quite simply, you wear the ascot and you’re not the same. Do take care, however, to use your power wisely. The ascot isn’t for every occasion, it shouldn’t be something you wear to B&Q or Nandos – it’s not something for ‘downtime’, the ascot switches you on, so make sure you provide it with an environment that compliments its touch of class.