Royal Ascot is fast approaching, and with it comes a formal dress code that presents an opportunity to impress for both men and women alike. While the guidelines can be strict, there’s also plenty of potential for self-expression, from footwear and frocks to those all-important hats. Read on for our essential guide to navigating Royal Ascot dressing in 2019.

The hat

Royal Ascot presents a rare opportunity to wear a hat, particularly on Ladies’ Day. Head to Maison Michel, where the Chanel-owned house offers a number of classic silhouettes with a tongue-in-cheek twist. We especially love the new summer capsule collection, which is exclusive to the Burlington Arcade boutique.

The wallet

Stow your cards, cash and betting slips in a classic bifold wallet from Church’s. We love the emerald green colourway. Over at the Gentleman’s Journal pop-up is a selection of wallets and card holders from Ettinger – we love two-tone bridle hide flat credit card case in black and tan.

The bag

A favourite with royals and A-listers alike, Strathberry is fast becoming a go-to for sleek, elegant leather goods. We love this feather-trimmed clutch bag, dramatic enough for a special occasion, yet surprisingly roomy inside – it’ll hold your makeup, phone, keys and more. Kwanpen’s 1819 Pochette Clutch is another sound choice – the miniature version of the house’s signature bag will go with almost anything.

The cover-up

The British weather is notoriously unpredictable, so bring a pashmina stole in case the temperature plummets. N.Peal’s ultrafine version folds so small, it could fit in a clutch bag, while House of Cashmere offers a curated array of cover-ups from the world’s top cashmere brands.

The shoes

A heel is de rigueur for women at Royal Ascot, but when you’re likely to be on your feet all day, it’s wise to keep it low. Look no further than Manolo Blahnik for designs that are as much works of art as they are footwear. We love this season’s Josima pumps which offer a play on the pleated ribbon detail of a rosette.

Next-door is the Manolo Blahnik men’s boutique, home to these coral suede Oxfords with contrasting lavender laces. Go for Church’s black patent Whaley shoes with a top hat and tails, or Crockett & Jones’ dark brown antique calf Audley shoes if you’re wearing a blue or grey suit.

The jewellery

Lend drama to a classic dress with statement jewellery. Azza Fahmy’s designs are inspired by global travel and ancient cultures and we love its pearl and diamond collar. Head to Susannah Lovis for vintage finds such as Art Deco diamond drop earrings, and Carat* London for more contemporary ear jackets and cuffs.

The sunglasses

Statement shades are an essential part of the summer season kit. Lean towards classic shapes for an occasion such as Royal Ascot – Chanel’s black frame Shield sunglasses echo the look of Jackie O.

The watch

Don’t let a lack of timepiece be the reason you miss any of the day’s most important races. Official Omega vintage store Somlo is remembering the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings with vintage editions of the Omega Speedmaster, the watch chosen by NASA for the astronauts to wear during the mission.

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