Preparation for Royal Ascot
Anyone who ever reads the newspapers or watches society pages or hears a radio knows about Ascot. It’s a horse race but Royal Ascot, one week in June, is all about the dressing up, the parading about, the cheering, and royal watching, the betting, and the drinking and eating and fun. One thing it is NOT about is comfort! Those shoes, those dresses, those hats! While fun to wear, most are not very comfortable.
Anyway, I digress. We knew we would be in town for the Royal Ascot week so I purchased tickets as soon as I saw them come on line for sale. Could not figure out how to get into the Royal Enclosure where you are close to the Royals that might be attending and get to do all the glorious race stuff. Apparently that’s really hard to get into the Royal Enclosure so I’m working on it for next year or the year after maybe. But I did buy tickets for the Grandstand which is the next level.
It took me weeks to find the ensemble to wear. I had attended a hat show through my women’s club and the fascinators (small headpieces) started at 200 pounds. I needed a definite hat though according to Ascot rules which meant a base of 4”. The hats at this show started at 500 pounds and I could arrange for a private fitting to have a hat made especially for me. Well, I have over spent funds on a few things since we’ve been in the U.K. but a hat for Ascot was not going to be one of them.
Spent a few hours in House of Frasier department store and I swear the lady salesclerk didn’t have a real clue on what people wear to Ascot. She had me decked out in Roaring 20’s flapper style dresses dripping with sequins. Thank goodness I thought I looked like a movie star matron and declined to purchase that dress. I saw only one lady at Ascot in sequins and it wasn’t a flapper dress. Finally I tried Marks and Spencer and found a nice black hat that wouldn’t fall off in a high wind and wouldn’t fall off if I shook my head. The saleslady and a store patron walking by and recruited for her opinion both thought it looked good on me.
Next for the dress! I found a couple of dresses at Marks and Spencer and bought them both along with some proper underwear for one. Am still looking for the proper underwear for the other dress. Still I wasn’t completely satisfied but I’m running out of time. On a completely different mission, I was getting a couple of plants at Notcutt’s and walked by their dress section and there on the hanger and on sale was my Ascot dress! So a hat at Marks and Spencer and a dress from Notcutt’s of all places (Notcutt’s is a nursery that happens to also sell toys, clothes, housewares, food, bird feed, tropical fish, etc. My Ascot budget came under 100 pounds. AND once there, I never felt like I was underdressed.
Shoes are always a problem for me but I did have a pair of black heels that would work, a small purse that would work and I was set. We also carried with us another pair of shoes in case I couldn’t make it through the day in the heels.
For my husband, we did have to go buy him a suit. He will probably need it for different things anyway. Got it at Marks and Spencer too. Luckily it wasn’t too much either. So we are all set to head to Ascot. We decided we will take the train that day as the parking might be too crowded and hard to find a spot. We are ready to go. The big day approaches.