What To Wear To Royal Ascot

If you thought the dress code for cricket matches was over the top, wait until you see how Royal Ascot is taking a bit of the fun out of the world’s most formal sporting event. The new dress code was first announced in January and this week organisers sent out reminders with badges and tickets for this year’s races at the course in Berkshire, southern England.

As a reminder, strapless, halter or spaghetti-strap dresses are banned, as are obvious midriffs. Straps must be wider than an inch; dresses and skirts must be at least knee-length. Hats are a must in the Royal Enclosure and Grandstand. Fascinators are forbidden, as is any headpiece with a base of less than 4in (10cm). Trousers must be full-length. Hold on! Fascinators forbidden? That’s rubbish (actually, what I really wanted to say was f*** that)! Let me just say that fascinators should definitely NOT be banned. I much prefer them to hats for formal occasions. They’re just so much fun!

According to the Metro, everyone remains unanimous on one thing. That is, to steer clear of excess:

‘Less is more’…‘Less skin, less jewellery, less booze, fewer layers, simple trims – but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Keep it simple but you can still have great impact. Just look at the Queen’.

Perhaps we should agree to leave the Queen out of this. Call me a church girl or whatever you want, but I’m definitely with the idea that ‘less is more’. Quite frankly it’s a bit embarrassing that some women need to be reminded that dressing up doesn’t mean tarting up. Of course if you don’t like all these rules you could always opt for the Silver Ring, but it just wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?

Wardrobe infringement: These ladies would be asked to wear a pashmina over their shoulders due to Royal Ascot’s strict dress code this year.

I believe the base of this headpiece is more than 4 inches (10 cm), so it should pass the test.

This is my absolute favourite! Simple, yet elegant and not the slightest bit boring. Doesn’t she look lovely?

Risky Racing at the Grand National

The Grand National is arguably one of Britain’s most magnificent sporting events, which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool.  The air of excitement is contagious even if you’re only watching the race on television–the horses exude such grandeur and beauty. You simply never know what will happen on the course, which adds to the excitement. The favourite does not always win and sometimes you’ll end up with a surprise winner at odds of 100/1.

The 1967 Grand National saw one of the race’s most remarkable incidents when most of the field were hampered or dismounted in a mêlée, allowing the then undistinguished outsider Foinavon to triumph.  Perhaps it’s not the most glamourous victory, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.

Stephen Moss is spot on in saying, “The Grand National is irrational, unpredictable, emotional, vivid, dangerous. It probably should not exist, yet it has enriched our imaginations”. It certainly gets your blood pumping and your heart racing.  Each year my matey N gets me to choose my own favourite to win. I usually go with the best name and this year I picked Junior, who if I’m not mistaken, fell at the second fence. I have never been known to pick winners so it’s good that you don’t follow my betting advice if you’re in it to win.

Sadly, as with any sport, there is a certain amount of risk involved and in this case it is equally risky for both jockeys and race horses. This year, following the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete, the question everyone is asking is if the race should be allowed to continue. I must admit I’m torn on this one.  It’s not like race officials haven’t tinkered with the course to try and make it safer and it’s not like the horses are mistreated in their daily lives.

To ban the races would be like banning people from running marathons. The risk of death is not low in these long runs and it seems that there is always someone that dies or is hospitalised after a race. That said, I think we’re in agreement that it’s not that simple. Race authorities are in a difficult position–they’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. In the end perhaps it doesn’t make much sense to try to rationalise the race.

I was looking forward to experiencing the magnificence of the National in the flesh one day with hubby and N, so for selfish reasons I hope the race will continue.