Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hats and Horses

I'm not sure if it was nostalgia for my Grandmother Zaza, who bred horses, or too much Julian Fellowes on my DVR and my Kindle--not to mention a memoir from the Duchess of Devonshire. Or maybe simply a case of Royal Wedding hangover, but I got a little obsessed with Royal Ascot this year...

...checking the British press every day of it's five-day run last week for updates on the horses....



...and the hats.


Clearly, it's not a party until someone wears a Flamingo on her head... 

 Pretty much since Queen Anne started the Royal Ascot tradition in 1711, horses, pageantry and the desire to see and be seen have contributed to the popularity of the races. Whether the event has retained it's cachet over the past 300 years is subject to debate: "Royal Ascot is Back" The Telegraph proclaimed this year, while Vanity Fair said, "Ascot is not what it used to be."

No matter. Whatever your opinion-- of if you have no opinion at all -- it is fun to watch the parade of fashion that is Royal Ascot unfold through the years, don't you think?






And while hemlines have climbed and fallen, the Dress Code for Royal Ascot remians pretty ridgid, and really hasn't budged much for the boys in the past 100 years or so:

"Only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and color. Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat. A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden."

Some say the strict Dress Code preserves the event's old world charm:

Perhaps not. Some stick to tradition a bit more than others:

Here's the Honorable Deborah Mitford, circa 1936, looking chic by today's standards in her leopard print:


And the current Duchess of Devonshire on Day 5, 2011 -- clearly, matching the Queen's attire does not fall outside of the Dress Code:

 Personally, I'm all for any excuse to wear a garden on my head:


 Images from The Daily Mail, Telegraph UK and New York Magazine

I'm now rethinking my work attire for the day. Maybe instead of a floral print on my dress, I should choose a flower for my head.

Hope your Wednesday is as pleasant as just another day at the races!


  1. It's so fun checking out the hats : ) Love it.

  2. I love seeing their hats it's soo much fun!

  3. Hello,

    This is so much fun and chique at the same time!


  4. wow it's amazing how lovely some of these can be and how awful some hat can be too. I mean come on... flamingo????

    - Sarah

  5. Would love any excuse to wearing a floral themed hat and some of these are really amazing! Thank you for the royal roundup!

  6. fabulous... my fav is the horsie with the feather hat... xx

  7. What a fun fun post!! I love seeing Ascot through the decades as well as the fun this year! I won a bottle of Bollinger in an Ascot twitter contest they held!!

  8. I want to go to an event where a "substantial fascinator" is required! Great post, I love seeing the outrfits over the years..

  9. Fantastic fashion coverage! The only one I actually saw was the older woman with the daisy hat - she was adorable! XOL



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...