Royal Ascot Leads the Way in the Fashion Stakes

Rocco Forte Hotels

A Quintessentially British Affair

The Season is a quintessentially British affair. The bright and the beautiful flit from society event to society event in a succession of ever more glamorous outfits, while the sporting, floral or artistic activity provides a convenient backdrop to constantly flowing champagne and conversation. 

After two years of restrictions, 2022 promises to be an extraordinary year, as the jeunesse doree makes up for lost time. In order to seamlessly blend in you need to not only understand the vocabulary, but the dress code - the wrong coloured shoes or a mismatched outfit may have you marked out as an imposter.

The Season

While the horse racing at Royal Ascot and Wimbledon’s lawn tennis championship are the sporting highlights of the summer calendar, they vye for prominence with the oarsmanship of Henley Royal Regatta and the sheets to the wind competitiveness of Cowes Week. For the more culturally minded there are the inspirational gardens and beautiful blossoms of the Chelsea Flower Show, the artistic ambitions of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition or curatorial collections of new kid on the block, Masterpiece.

Whether you’re having a flutter at Royal Ascot, enjoying an operatic picnic at Glyndebourne or making most of centre court seats at Wimbledon, the most stylish summer occasions present the perfect excuse to buy a new hat and dress in the season’s hottest colours.

Expressing Yourself

The cornerstone of the British social scene – Royal Ascot – recently released an updated style guide for 2022, encouraging visitors to express themselves and try more contemporary takes of traditional styles. The idea, says Rachel Bakewell, the stylist who helped to write the guide, is “to shift the perception of what occasion dressing can be”. Casual dress is never appropriate. Top hats in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot are de rigueur and it is morning suits for the gents, and magnificent, showy hats for the ladies. In the other enclosures (Queen Anne and Village) the strictures of tradition are loosened and racegoers are encouraged to express themselves more freely, although hats remain essential wear.

Ibbotson, Edwina
“Stunning silk flower trims are also a must this year”

Milliner Edwina Ibbotson believes that, “Hats are even more important than ever this season. With 2022 being The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebration year, expect to see more eye-catching hats than ever before.” Head turning hats will be, “beautiful contemporary takes on the 1950s, the 1960s celebrating the different decades of the Queen's reign”.

Edwina expects to see lots of silver and platinum at this year’s Derby Festival and Royal Ascot. “Stunning silk flower trims are also a must this year,” she adds. She advises having a headpiece made especially for you: “Whether it’s a beautiful neat pillbox or a more flamboyant feather headdress, the important thing is comfort.” 

Celebrating all the summer season occasions – whether it’s a wedding, the Chelsea Flower Show or Cowes Week – ensure you invest in an elegantly outlandish hat to get conversation buzzing and make you the talk of the town.

Whether you are looking to book a hotel for Wimbledon, a wedding or another social occasion, make Brown’s Hotel your home while you’re in London. Ask our Concierge, David Young, about arranging a picnic hamper for you to enjoy in the summer sunshine too, email or call +44 20 7493 6020.


You may also like

Infinite Landscapes - The Melancholy World of Caspar David Friedrich

Few people outside of Germany know much about the man behind the canvas, but times are changing. 2024 marks Friedrich’s 250th birthday and throughout this anniversary year, there are exhibitions all over Germany celebrating the country’s greatest landscape painter.

Fabric of life: Loretta Caponi’s lasting legacy

From precocious child to household name, Italian designer and embroidery legend Loretta Caponi’s story is truly remarkable. Guido Conti Caponi, Chief Operating Officer at her eponymous fashion house, is devoted to continuing his grandmother’s legacy.