The Gentlemen’s Etiquette Guide to the Royal Enclosure by Oliver Brown

Since its beginnings during the reign of Queen Anne in 1711, Royal Ascot has remained one of the world’s most prestigious events in the racing calendar. Oliver Brown are delighted to be appointed, for the second consecutive year, an Official Licensee.

Beau Brummel, the nineteenth-century style icon, first dictated a dress code for the Royal Enclosure, when he stated that ‘men of style should always be simply but elegantly dressed’. Although fashions have come and gone in the nearly two-hundred years hence, the foundations of the dress code remain the same.

With Royal Ascot just around the corner, it is our pleasure to impart our definitive etiquette advice and gentleman’s sartorial dos and don’ts, courtesy of Oliver Brown’s proprietor Kristian Ferner Robson.


  • Wear black or grey morning dress.
  • Wear a single or double breasted waistcoat. When wearing a single breasted waistcoat, ensure the bottom button is left undone. When wearing a double breasted waistcoat, you can button all the way up.
  • Show ¾ inch of cuff.
  • Ensure your jacket tail is ½ an inch above the back of the knee.
  • Wear your top hat flat on the head.
  • Wear black shoes. Loafers, lace ups and tassel loafers are acceptable.
  • Wear braces so your trousers are above your hips, buttons or clips are fine to use however buttons are preferable.
  • Try different colours however remember, if you have a brighter tie or pocket square, then you should keep your waistcoat subtle and vice versa.
  • Gentlemen may remove top hats within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden.
  • Tie a Windsor knot in your silk tie.
  • Your waistcoat should be flush or below the top of your trousers – you shouldn’t be able to see your shirt untucked.


  • Wear a customised top hat (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) – these are NOT permitted in the Royal Enclosure.
  • Wear your top hat tilted.
  • Place your top hat on its crown when taken off.
  • Wear shoes without socks.
  • Wear a cravat.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Reshape or stretch your top hat.
  • Remove your jacket within the Royal Enclosure.
  • Have a gap between waistcoat and trousers.
  • Wear brown shoes.
  • Wear a wing collar shirt.