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Occasion wear: dressing for Royal Ascot

What to wear to Royal Ascot? Oh the dilemmas …

by Bernadette Fallon

As Audrey Hepburn demonstrates in ‘My Fair Lady’, nothing works as well as monochrome at the races. Taking her lead, I decide to follow her styling to a point – though instead of opting for staid black and white, I am going to switch black for navy to warm up the look.

Navy is smart and more flattering for the skin – black can be a bit draining - and a polka dot pattern is timeless and fun. The red belt sets off the navy perfectly and is a colourful finishing touch.

The dress is by Precis Petite – I’m quite short, though unfortunately ‘petite’ doesn’t quite sum up my girth! – and is currently on sale at £79 (reduced from £129),

It would also work very well for a wedding or evening drinks party. See more occasion wear fashion ideas here.

I’ll wear a short jacket with it; a neat box-shape will flatter the high waist and show off the shape of the dress – no point dwarfing it with long lines or wide cuts.


As I’ll be in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, a hat must be worn at all times. There’s a ban on fascinators (head-pieces can be worn but must be at least 4 inches in diameter), so I need to be careful my hat measures up – quite literally. If you’ve got a dressy wedding or Ladies Day at the races coming up and you don’t want to break the bank, Marks and Spencer has a great range of terribly stylish hats at great prices. They won’t look out of place in the winners’ enclosure beside the designer numbers and you’ll still get change from a fifty! I'm currently trying to choose between the wide-brim organza at £29.50 (folds for packing - useful for weddings away), or the head-piece with feather, £25.

Unsure of what hat to buy? Have a look at this clever little tool which matches your face shape to your ideal hat.

And so to shoes. Almost anything goes with this dress, it’s so easy to wear; from classic courts to the slightly more forgiving wedge heels, strappy sandals would also look great. But sinking into paddocks in spiky heels isn’t much fun, and with the weather being its usual unpredictable self, I’m going to wear high heeled brown leather knee-length boots, which will work with the navy and white combo. Who knows, I may even get a go on a horse ...

Dressing for an occasion: see our complete guide to outfits, accessories and hats

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About The Authors

Alice  Jones

Alice Jones

Alice Jones is intern on All About You; she has an obsession for all things fashion and beauty related.

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Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Nola  Ojomu

Nola Ojomu

Freelance contributor to All About You. Mission - to have the perfect eyebrows

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Harriet  Edgar

Harriet Edgar

All About You intern; likes fashion, jogging, blogging and EastEnders

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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Rachael  Ashley

Rachael Ashley

SHE's deputy editor and single mum of two embodies the SHE motto 'Busy and loving it!'

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Kate Gilbert

Kate Gilbert

Lifestyle Co-ordinator Good Housekeeping; believes in style,substance and big girl shoes.

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Marie  Campbell

Marie Campbell

Marie Campbell is assistant to the editor at SHE and also writes for the lifestyle pages.

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Natalie  Glock

Natalie Glock

Editorial assistant on All About You; a Parisian in training and amateur baker.

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Ruth  Chandler

Ruth Chandler

Assistant features editor on Country Living, Ruth lives on a smallholding in rural Essex.

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Julia  Goodwin

Julia Goodwin

Editor of House Beautiful since 2006, Julia has been a journalist for over 30 years.

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Josa Young

Josa Young

Josa Young is a writer, cook and internet content consultant.

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