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Fashion crimes of Royal Ascot: The women who got past the fashion police...and the ones who were ordered to cover up
Published: 23:39 BST, 19 June 2012 | Updated: 15:13 BST, 20 June 2012
Bare shoulders, bare heads and high hemlines were banned – and at the merest hint of a transgression, the fashion police were on hand to issue pashminas and hats.
Yet even as Royal Ascot’s strict new dress code was brought in, plenty of guests managed to push the regulations to the limit.
Following criticism that the genteel meet was becoming dominated by a rather less distinguished breed of racegoer, organisers have imposed tough sartorial rules this year.
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THE WOMEN WHO GOT PAST THE FASHION POLICE
Back off: One visitor's dress did little to conceal her underwear
Slinky: This racegoer revealed her shoulders and plenty of leg
Taking the plunge: One daring backless dress made the cut
Dressing up: Fashion police were on hand throughout the day to hand out pashminas and hats to visitors not properly attired
In the royal enclosure, that means hats with a diameter of four inches or more are mandatory. Skirts must sit no higher than just above the knee, and dresses that are strapless, off the shoulder, halter-neck or with straps narrower than an inch are off limits.
Even in the less formal grandstand, ladies must wear a fascinator or hat, and ties are a must for gents. Oddly, though, there is nothing in the new style guide to prevent racegoers displaying their tattoos.
While the distinctive cherry hairpiece worn by Joanna Southgate, 34, paled into insignificance compared to the inkings on her arms below the short sleeves of her red dress, she was still deemed appropriately dressed.
But she did avoid coming in for too much scrutiny from the fashion police by covering up with a leather jacket as she entered the grounds.
Taking a bow: A patriotic Jackie St Claire, the former girlfriend of Simon Cowell, in red, white and blue
They'll never stop the British eccentrics: Hat designer Tracy Rose matched her outfit from head to toe, left, while one visitor was a bright spot one couldn't fail to notice
Model Anneka Tanaka-Svenska wore a £3,000 headpiece, left, and another visitor with an oriental themed outfit which certainly met the hemline regulations, right
The dress code was enforced by an immaculate team of 60 young women (with a few young men thrown in) in uniforms of purple linen dresses and jackets from High Street store Hobbs, along with Ilda Di Vico hats.
The fashion officers – who preferred to be called ‘dress code assistants’ – prowled the entrances carrying baskets packed with colourful fascinators, pashminas and ties. Guests who fell short of the dress code for the grandstand were given appropriate attire for free.
Meanwhile, anyone heading for the royal enclosure who had failed to bring a hat was ushered discreetly to an office in which there was a huge array to choose from for a £50 deposit. However, as no identification was taken, one assistant admitted she was ‘not that hopeful’ of getting them all back.
Despite some racegoers in rule-breaking attire apparently slipping through the net, Ascot’s head of communications, Nick Smith, declared himself ‘delighted with the standard of dress’.
He added: ‘We always said that we would adopt the new rules sensitively, using common sense and discretion, especially in the first year, and that is what we are doing.
‘The most important thing is that people have an enjoyable time.’
Best dressed: The Queen looked splendid in a powder blue coat and dress as she arrived by carriage with Prince Philip for the opening day
Beware the Fashion Police! Two so-called dress code assistants inspect a racegoer's outfit as she enters the Grandstand at Ascot today
Hemlines were often higher than guidelines should allow - but stewards were turning a blind eye. 'It's not gentlemanly to point it out,' they said
Hats off! Wide-brimmed headpieces were trimmed with feathers
Off to place a bet: Thousands of racegoers are expected to flood through the gates of the Berkshire course today
Like the Jubilee all over again! Union flag bunting is strung across the course ahead of the Queen's arrival today
Little Bridge ridden by Zac Purton wins the Kings Stand Stakes during day one of the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting
A cherry hat tops Joanna Southgate's colourful look, left, and artist Pugh on the fashion police and clothing rules at Royal Ascot