Preparing For Ascot: A Tale of Tartan Trousers

Royal Ascot | Royal Hats Guest poster Charles gets personal in this post, sharing what he’s planning to wear to Ascot this year. Enjoy! 

It is actually a bit boring to wear the same coat and trousers three days in a row to the races, even with a daily change of waistcoat and tie. So when I originally purchased my morning attire, I included, along with the black coat, both a pair of the striped trousers and a pair of houndstooth check trousers. Even the houndstooth trousers gained bits of attention from women and men because this style isn’t as common as the traditional stripe. But, as most of you have surmised by now, I enjoy learning about fashion and trying things myself.

Ascot| Royal Hats

Houndstooth trousers from Savy Row

When I learned that it is permissible to wear tartan plaid trousers with one’s morning coat, my wheels started turning. I set out to find if my family name is associated with a tartan. Off to Google I went (how did we ever survive before Google?!?!?) Rather quickly I found a company in Scotland that assists in identifying the tartan associated with your family name and also sells fabric and clothing fashioned out of the tartan.

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 I first tried my surname, but I was pretty sure it is purely English. I contacted the company and almost immediately someone replied, that someone being a man named “Hamish.” Of course his name was Hamish! Hamish very kindly offered to perform a search to determine if my family surname has an associated tartan. In short order he contacted me with information I expected – my surname is very English, as a matter of fact it pre-dates the Norman Conquest. So no tartan associated with that name! We then moved on to my mother’s family name. Yes, indeed, there is a tartan but nonetheless, a bit rare. In order to obtain fabric in specifically that name I would have to order much more fabric than I need because it would have to be woven for me. However, it is common and acceptable to wear the tartan of the clan associated with your name. Hamish encouraged me to select that tartan and I agreed. “Let’s order the fabric Hamish!” I decided. After a brief wait my tartan fabric arrived and I moved on to the next step, having trousers tailored.Fortunately for me, living in Chicago there is actually a very good tailor just around the corner from where I live. I took a pair of the trousers from my morning attire and the tartan fabric and instructed the tailor to fashion me a pair of trousers exactly like the stripe, but using the tartan fabric. In a few weeks my trousers arrived! When I went to pick up my trousers the tailor smiled and said that, while they are very handsome, he would never wear a fabric like that! So now I’m off to Royal Ascot 2016 with three pairs of trousers for three days of racing.Ascot | Royal Hats

Tuesday I’ll wear the houndstooth check, as Opening Day is the second most interesting fashion day of Royal Ascot, Wednesday I’ll go the traditional route with the striped trousers, and Thursday (also known as Ladies Day and the highest fashions of the week) I’ll wear my tartan trousers. I’m looking forward to turning a few heads when I step out on Ladies Day. It should be great fun! Here’s hoping I win some of my bets to pay for those trousers!

Ascot Day 1: Houndstooth trousers with either pale blue or tan waistcoat. What would you suggest?

Ascot | Royal Hats Ascot | Royal Hats

Ascot Day 2: Cashmere stripe trousers with tan, grey stripe or pale blue waistcoat. What do you think?

Ascot | Royal Hats Ascot | Royal Hats Ascot | Royal Hats

Day 3: My tartan trousers with tan or pale blue waistcoat. Which waistcoat do you prefer?

Ascot | Royal Hats Ascot | Royal Hats

Charles, I imagine that you will be among the best dressed men in the royal enclosure! I love the way the tan waistcoat picks up the yellow in your fantastic tartan trousers (that’s my pick for you!). And of course- I have to end this post with another peek at your gleaming and incredibly beautiful antique silk top hat.

Ascot | Royal Hats

In his next post, Charles will share some planning details involving the Royal Enclosure that went awry. Stay tuned!

24 thoughts on “Preparing For Ascot: A Tale of Tartan Trousers

  1. Those houndstooth trousers are mouthwateringly handsome, it doesn’t matter which waistcoat you choose. I even have a tartan desk in my house, so I’m in love with the tartan trousers. I can’t remember if regulations forbid a navy or bottle green waistcoat, but either would look so nice.

  2. Get some new waistcoats Charles, don’t think much of either with either of your trousers or the trews. These days tartans are not just for the Scots my Welsh husband has a Welsh National Tartan Cilt with all the gear and there are Welsh and some English surname tartans.

    • Well Marion, I did today purchase a new waistcoat. A lovely deep coral color in linen. I hope you approve. 🙂 I’ll wear the new waistcoat either Tuesday or Wednesday. It will probably push the striped waistcoat from the lineup.

      Keep in mind, waistcoats are very hard to come by in the US so it is difficult to find options for a lowly American like me.

      Yep, tartans are available to all these days. I could have designed my own if I’d preferred. But I decided to go with an already established tartan. Between you and me, I would have much preferred the tartan of my mother’s name but I didn’t want to purchase many more yards of fabric than I’d need. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of attention from the trousers as it is!

  3. Thank you so much for your interesting posts, Charles. They make for fascinating reading and will enhance my enjoyment of Royal Hat watching this year. Hope the weather and the horses go your way!

    BTW: Tartan with tan; cashmere strip with pale blue … go mad with the other (striped waistcoat?).

  4. Charles, The planning and preparation that you have put into your wardrobe for Ascot week is impressive! I would have no idea where to start. Will look forward to seeing what you choose for each day.

  5. Charles, these posts have been so interesting that my husband (who teases me about reading this blog every day) has been reading them word for word! We both love your plaid trousers and agree that the tan vest is a perfect match.

    Thank you for sharing these posts. I feel like I’ve enjoyed a week at Ascot before it even begins! Thank you so much.

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! If I were a man, I would find ways to be unique with my clothing too.
    Here are my votes–
    Pale blue with houndstooth trousers (very classy)
    Striped with striped trousers (I like the two stripes together)
    Tan with plaid (like Hat Lady, I love the way it picks up the yellow in the plaid)

    I hope we’ll get to see photos of you each day!

    • Yes what a FAB post. I love your plaid pants. They look so fabulous with that tan vest.

      Have a great trip and make sure to take lots of photos to share with us when you get back! Toodles.

  7. Charles, I like the tan waistcoat with the tartan. I can’t decide with the houndstooth–I keep waffling back and forth. I’d wear the light blue with the stripe because I’m conservative, but you, with your very choices of trousers. obviously are not, so go with the striped waistcoat, too. Just out of curiosity, what does the striped waistcoat look like with the houndstooth? I’m sure you will look very dapper whatever your choices.

  8. I did smile when I read your tartan search and having to get it special order. Been there done that. We too are a lesser clan.
    Enjoy the races. Thanks for your writings.

  9. Dear Charles, Thank you very much for these wonderful insights! I prefer the cream waistcoat with all three outfits – it looks the best on screen, but maybe it is different live. Have a good time at Ascot!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing all your preparation and style choices Charles! Love the tartan trousers, I hope you get a lot of compliments on them! Will your ties be patterned as well or just go for a solid?

    • Solid tie? Perish the thought! LOL! I’ll probably take about 10 ties for the 3 days and choose morning of each day. I do have several ties that “read” solid but, upon closer inspection, are actually designed silk on silk. Stay tuned…

  11. I could not be enjoying this series from Charles more!! What I love so much is the joy that you are taking in all aspects of the experience. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us, HQ and Charles!!!!

  12. Great post, I loved reading it and it’s a great story.
    My picks: cream waistcoat for Day 1 / grey stripe for Day 2 / by popular request tan for Day 3
    Have a great time at Ascot!

  13. What a fantastic story Charles! I love this and can’t wait to see photos of your time at Ascot! And I’m certain you will look great no matter which combos you choose.

  14. Hat Queen, you are much too kind to let me go on and on!

    One note – the waistcoat that HQ describes as “cream” is actually a beautiful powder blue linen. It doesn’t look very blue in the photos (that’s my bad work I’m afraid) but I love the fresh, linen blue.

    Also, the striped waistcoat is also light blue (with a bit of gray undertones) with white stripes. I had it made in China when I visited in 2014, specifically for a day at Ascot. I’ve seen a photo of King George V & Queen Mary where he is pictured wearing a waistcoat almost exactly like this one (of course I can never find that photo when I look for it) so my inspiration for having this waistcoat tailored came directly from King George!

  15. Wow, this is great planning indeed – I cannot wait to see the pics. Tan with the tartan. Um not sure about strip with stripe so I just might go for tan and/ or cream with the other two. But Heck within the rules pretty much anything goes – if you like a stripe – pile it on and enjoy I say!

  16. Charles, you are a brave man. Way back in the 70’s, my husband had a pair of tartan trousers that he bought in London. He wore them with aplomb until they wore out. I definitively think you will be the hit of Ascot. Good luck with your “flutters”. By the way, I think the tan waistcoat is better with the tartan.

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