Fascinators in ban at Royal Ascot's Royal Enclosure

Ascot race goer wearing a fascinator
Image caption Fascinators have fallen foul of the strict dress rules for the Royal Enclosure

Women will have to wear hats, not fascinators, as part of a tightening of the dress code in Royal Ascot's Royal Enclosure this summer.

Under the rules, racegoers will also have to wear skirts or dresses of "modest length" falling just above the knee or longer.

For men, a waistcoat and tie will be compulsory in the enclosure and cravats will not be allowed.

Organisers said the decision was part of a move to restore formality.

The annual week-long event in June attracts about 300,000 visitors each year.

The popularity for elaborate fascinators, which are a cross between a hair accessory and a mini hat, continued last year after the Duchess of Cambridge wore a feathered one on her first official engagement in Anglesey.

Image caption Popularity for fascinators rose after the Duchess of Cambridge wore one

In the less formal grandstand, which is open to the public, it will now be compulsory for women to wear a hat or fascinator.

In previous years, when female racegoers were simply advised that "many ladies wear hats".

Strapless or sheer-strap tops and dresses will also be banned.

For men, a suit and tie will now be obligatory.

Ascot spokesman Nick Smith said: "It is probably fair to say the dress code hasn't necessarily been enforced quite as rigorously as we might have liked.

"There is no doubt our customers would like to get back to a situation where it is universally acknowledged this is a formal occasion and not an occasion where you might dress as you would at a nightclub."

'Cherished' code

Charles Barnett, Ascot's chief executive, said the intention was to be "as helpful as possible" to visitors and to help racegoers in understanding what is "cherished" about the dress code at Royal Ascot.

"It isn't a question of elitism and not being modern in a world where there is less and less requirement to dress smartly - far from it," he said.

"We want to see modern and stylish dress at Royal Ascot, just within the parameters of formal wear."

The less formal Silver Ring will not be affected by the changes.

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