Whether a cane is needed for balance and support or is purely worn as a formal accessory, it is important that it is in keeping with the rest of its user's outfit. For very smart events such as Royal Ascot, as much care should be taken over the choice of cane as with hats, bags and shoes, for the right cane will make the outfit and the wrong one can destroy the elegance of the overall ensemble. So, which cane to choose?
Canes for the Royal Enclosure
The most formal enclosure (with the best view of the finishing line), the Royal Enclosure has the most stringent dress code. Gentlemen are required to wear black, grey or navy morning dress, so a formal cane
is appropriate. Their use is not restricted to those who need a cane for mobility reasons: the formal walking sticks is an elegant an accessory as the top hat or waistcoat. The occasional glass of champagne may even be consumed so, as at weddings, the subtle support of a walking stick to lean on can be very welcome by mid-afternoon.
The classic cane choice for a gentleman in morning dress is a silver or silver-plated handle on an elegantly-tapered black shaft. By convention, when black shoes are de rigeur (would you wear brown shoes with a formal suit in front of the King?!), the shaft of a gentleman's cane should be black too. Ebony wood
is traditional but difficult to obtain these days, so hardwood lacquered black is quite normal now. A simple capstick
is elegant, but a discreet equestrian-themed handle such as our two horses
or frolicking horses
silver-plated canes would also be very appropriate. On wet days, and it is a rare Royal Ascot when there is not some rain, a formal black umbrella is appropriate, such as our acacia wood crook umbrella
or, if more support is needed, a derby handle umbrella
Ladies in the Royal Enclosure have a wealth of women's cane
colours, styles and patterns from which to choose. A classic combination for Royal Ascot is black-and-white (thank you Cecil Beaton), so our black-and-white marbled acrylic derby
would be a well-coordinated option, with similar styles available in other colours. Floral prints are popular too, in which case a Classic Canes floral derby in one of our wide array of colours is a charming way for a lady to match her cane to her outfit. The lavender
colourways are particularly ladylike, whilst the black
florals will elevate many an understated look. A pastel pink outfit calls for our subtle dragonflies
cane, whilst the bees
canes is made for a gentle aqua ensemble. Ladies making bold fashion choices may prefer a simple and chic black derby
, or they might like a very exuberant, contemporary pattern such as our kingfishers
patterns. Alternatively, we are there for the horses after all, so our horses and ponies folding cane
would be a lovely choice, including as it does the British Thoroughbred.
Overseas visitors are allowed to wear the formal national dress of their country. This could mean a tartan derby
for a Scot, or a vividly-patterned Tropicana Parrot derby
could be the perfect accesssory to flowing, brightly-coloured robes.
Canes for Other Enclosures
The rules for those within the other grandstands are not so exacting, but it is still a smart occasion and guests are expected to dress in a manner befitting a formal occasion. For men, brown shoes look best with brown hardwood canes: crook handles
are convenient to hook over your arm when your binoculars are raised, whilst derbys
are very comfortable for day-long support. However, dressing up should be nothing if not fun, so if you fancy a sparkling cane set with Swarovski Elements crystals
or an amusing aviator duck cane
, this is the moment. Folding canes
are also very useful choices: those grandstand seats are not very big and a folding cane can be easily folded up and tucked away when not required.
Whatever cane you choose, remember that the right one will improve your outfit and never detract from it, so take care to find one that will make you feel your very best on this special occasion. Finally, when the horse you backed at 20-1 draws alongside the favourite at the two furlong marker, you'll be glad to have that walking stick in your hand to help you encourage him home.