The move towards cross-dressing was set out in Ascot's recognition of "key trends in the ever-evolving world of fashion." According to the released Royal Ascot Dress Code, women are permitted to dress in men's clothes and vice versa, as long as some strict guidelines remain upheld.
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) March 5, 2019
Transgender racegoers are also meant to feel welcome at the world-famous race meeting. Commenting on the rules, Britain's first transgender jockey Victoria Smith said:
"If someone identifies as a woman, they should be allowed to wear ladies' clothes, as long as they stick to the rules."
Men must put on an ensemble that includes a waistcoat and tie (no cravats or bow ties), a black or grey top hat and black shoes worn with socks. The rules stipulate that gentlemen are not allowed to customize their top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) in the Royal Enclosure.
For ladies, strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted, while jackets and pashminas may be worn. Female visitors may wear trouser suits and jumpsuits and must wear hats.
Social events are merely one part of the controversial debate on accommodation of transgender persons in British establishments. A discussion is ongoing on whether to allow transgender patients in before they have begun transition in all-female hospital wards.
Dating back to the beginning of the 18th century, the Royal Ascot is annually attended by the Queen and other members of Britain's royal family. According to the strict dress code, overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal national dress of their country or service dress.