Royal Ascot style guide encourages second-hand clothing: We'd love to see the royals re-wear these outfits

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent

One of the Queen's favourite events has announced a big change as it prepares to make a return to in-person events.

Royal Ascot, the annual race gathering in Berkshire, has highlighted second-hand and charity shop items in its annual style guide, and encouraged race goers to consider avoiding buying new items for the 2021 event.

The event worked with fashion stylist Bay Garnett, the "Queen of thrifting" to show how race goers could get dressed up but still wear sustainable clothes.

The Queen, 95, is a keen horse racing fan and she attends Royal Ascot with members of her family most years, so she might choose to rewear one of her favourite outfits for this summer's races.

Her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, has taken sustainable themes onboard before, so she may also be ready to re-wear. 

At the Baftas in February 2020, Kate showed support for the ceremony's theme of sustainable fashion, by rewearing an Alexander McQueen gown that she had first worn on tour in 2012.

Princess Anne will also appreciate Ascot's new style guidance - as she has reworn some of her favourite dresses on multiple occasions, including to royal weddings.

Read more: How the Duchess of Cambridge told a national and personal story with a dress when Prince Louis was born

The Duchess of Cornwall has gone further than most with recycling fashion - so far she is the only royal bride to rewear her wedding dress. She had two outfits for her big day in 2005, and one made a second appearance at the opening of the National Museum of Wales in 2007.

Royal Ascot, which this year is being held between 15-19 June, is known for its strict sartorial rules, including the requirement for women to wear hats and guidelines on skirt lengths. However this theme will not be a rule, meaning no one will be removed from the event if they wear a new outfit.

Garnett said: "Royal Ascot is one of the most glamorous and traditional events of British sporting life. To have an opportunity to bring second hand into this context was very exciting and I jumped at the chance. 

"This is exactly the sort of event that can change the perception around second hand clothes. I hope that this year’s Style Guide shows that by buying second hand, it is not only a better choice for the environment but is also a way to dress in a fun, individual and stylish way."

Felicity Barnard, commercial director of Ascot Racecourse, said they wanted to "shine a spotlight on pre-loved fashion and encourage racegoers to ‘shop their wardrobes’", adding "whilst Royal Ascot is an elite sporting event, dressing for the occasion is not in itself an elite sport".