Royal Ascot horse race encourages patrons to wear second-hand outfits



For over 300 years, Royal Ascot has been a major social event in the UK. It is the biggest horse race in the country, but also a major fashion event. For five days in June, wealthy members of society mingle with the royal family to admire and bet on equestrian excellence, while showing off outfits that dazzle and delight.

There are strict rules for what to wear and what not to wear. Every year, an official style guide reiterates these rules with occasional tweaks, such as women’s suits first allowed in 2017 and men’s socks made mandatory in 2018. to be selected with the same care as you would for a tie or hat.

The style guide for 2021 stands out for an interesting and unusual reason, however. He made sustainability a main theme, and not just in a symbolic sense. The guide actually encourages customers to wear second-hand clothes. He declares in the introduction,

“We want to show racing fans around the world that the Royal Reunion is about looking your best – and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy something new. Resale websites can be found in the Style Guide alongside British and sustainable fashion brands. ”

In the 48-page booklet that follows, photos inspired by the outfits and illustrating the different rules use a mix of new and pre-loved elements.

Royal Ascot has teamed up with Bay Garnett, known as the Queen of Thrift, for their expert advice on how to create a thrifty haute couture outfit worthy of the classiest enclosures in racing. Garnett was involved in the styling of the Royal Ascot photoshoot, writing on Instagram that she “loves the idea of ​​second-hand clothes moving into spaces that are usually or primarily associated with new things.”

Garnett also sees second hand as a fashion statement: “Dressing is fun and Royal Ascot is the perfect event for that. Doing it secondhand makes it even more fun.”

While it’s surprising (and rewarding!) To see the opportunity take center stage at Royal Ascot, it reflects a larger trend. Second-hand clothing has exploded in popularity over the past year. The 2020 resale report from online thrift store thredUP reports that the second-hand market is expected to be twice as big as fast fashion by 2029. There are many reasons for this, but two particularly seem to be. relevant to this story.

The opportunity could be the next frontier of sorts. Scrubbing a vintage store poses a level of challenge that you don’t get by buying new, where all styles and sizes are featured. There is the thrill of the pursuit and the ultimate discovery and the pride one can feel in saying that the item has been saved – in other words, that it has worked.

Another reason could be environmental awareness, as second hand wearing has a quantifiable benefit. thredUP reported that if everyone wore thrifty attire to a wedding, it would save 1.65 pounds of carbon dioxide per person, which is roughly the equivalent of taking 56 million cars off the road for one. day. Reselling a dress instead of throwing it away reduces its CO2 impact by 79%, and committing to second-hand clothing will reduce its own carbon footprint by 527 pounds per year.

If you’re feeling inspired to create your own thrifty Ascot outfit (and post about it on social media, as people were urged to do last year), Garnett has some shopping tips for you. These useful tips for any second-hand shopping trip:

“Look around the store or market two or even three times – it’s amazing what you can miss the first time around” and “Always try it. If something catches your eye, but you think it might not be “YOU”, give it a try! So often it can be an eye opener and surprise as to how beautiful she is and how much you love her. ”


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