Morning Dress Guide




Morning dress, or formal day dress, is the traditional attire worn by men at weddings, memorial services, daytime events in the presence of H. M. The Queen, and at some events during 'the Season'. Perhaps most famously, morning dress is worn in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. 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.


There are some fixed rules to wearing morning dress, the outfit (in contrast to evening dress) should be playful and colourful, and there is a lot of room for variation. Read on to find out what to wear:







  • A black silk or grey fur top hat (antique silk plush if possible). The hat should sit 1” above the ear and sit forwards so that it is positioned flat over the head.

  • A black or grey morning coat, single-breasted with peak lapels and ‘cutaway’ tails. If you opt for a grey morning coat, the trousers and waistcoat should be made of the same, matching cloth. The tails of the coat should fall to the back of the knee, the coat should button across the natural waistline, and the top of the collar and shirt cuff should show the same amount (about 1/2”).

  • ‘Cashmere stripe’, houndstooth, or matching grey trousers. Braces will help the trousers hang well and prevent a gap between the trouser waistband and waistcoat. Trousers should have a plain bottom.

  • Traditionally, a plain white shirt with a detachable stiff collar and double cuffs, but today pinks, blues, and stripes are seen in equal measure.

  • While a grey or buff double-breasted waistcoat is most traditional, we offer a wide range of colours and styles to suit the modern palate in blues, yellows, pinks, and cream. Any of these can be either single or double breasted. Black can also be worn but is usually reserved for funerals or more formal ceremonial occasions.

  • A simple tie in a grey, red, light blue, or yellow (a tie pin is traditional, but not necessary).

  • A plain or patterned silk or linen pocket square.

  • Highly polished lace-up Oxfords (not patent leather).

  • Accessories such as a pocket watch, gloves, or a cane are all optional but can still be seen as a part of morning dress.



Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne and has been priviledged to retain Royal Patronage ever since. The members-only Royal Enclosure is one of the most prestigious destinations in the world, rightly worthy of its epitaph 'Like Nowhere Else'.

While the basics of morning dress have already been covered, the specific requirements for Royal Ascot are described below. The following guide is taken from the official style guide and will help you prepare for a day at the Royal Meeting.


Gentlement are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress which must include:

  • A waistcoat and tie (no cravats).

  • A black or grey top hat.

  • A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility's terrace, balcony, or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.

  • The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.

  • For further information about what to wear to the Royal Meeting, follow the link here.