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This New Royal Ascot Dress Code Is Really Intense

England's Royal Ascot horse race is old (pre-Downton Abbey, founded in 1711 old) but its dress code just got an update. As of tomorrow's opening rounds, those watching from the Ascot's most prestigious section— the Royal Enclosure—are subject to stipulations so strict they'd deem half of Kate Middleton's wedding guests innapropriate.

Lest spectators in the super-fancy, entry-by-application-only section deviate from the approved attire, the Royal Ascot team posted the revamped guidelines on their website, as well as photos of approved outfits. Among the highlights:

  • Hats are required, but fascinators (which I thought were just smaller, more fanciful hats?) are prohibited. To distinguish between tiny hats (acceptable) and large fascinators (deplorable), the Royal Enclosure will ban any headpieces with a base smaller than four inches.
  • Straps of blouses and dresses must be at least one inch wide. Tossing a wrap or jacket over a skimpier top (i.e., my go-to move for weddings and stuffy things) doesn't count: they'll measure your shirt underneath even if you plan to wear the jacket the whole time.

Under those rules, it seems like a Royal Enclosure guest might want to invest in a ruler. Or she could head-to-toe copy one of the acceptable outfits below, or, perhaps, borrow a uniform from someone in the military— they might be one of the only ensembles Ascot-approved for the Royal Enclosure—no nips, tucks or measurements needed.

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