Where else can you wear the most outlandish hats and have professional ‘Dress Code Attendants’ with the power to stop you in your tracks, (pun intended) if you don’t meet the strict style rules set out by officials. The annual Royal Ascot 2013 has been underway from 18th to 22nd June in Windsor Park and as per tradition saw ladies observe the style guide, which we will shortly share, to the letter in ever more imaginatively astonishing hair fascinators.
Queen Elizabeth and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
We suppose the intrigue is magnified tenfold as the concept is so alien to us, however if you can get past the initial shock, the head gear is simply a joy to witness. It seems there is a whole other competition in the background as genteel and courteous women battle it out in the race for the most extremist character hat. But to be fair they are obliged by the centuries of honored traditions and royal connotations associated with the event.
Ladies Dress Code for the Royal Enclosure
Formal day wear requirements are defined as follows:
• Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
• Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
• Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
• Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full length and of matching material and colour.
• Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
Additionally ladies are kindly asked to note the following:
• Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch (2.5cm) are not permitted.
• Midriffs must be covered.
• Fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches/10cm)
There are separate rules for the Grand Stands but you get the general idea. What we simply adore about the accessories is that even when we hate them, we love them! Milliner Phillip Treacy had a field day designing memorable creation for most of the famous faces at the races, and thanks to him so far there have been more hits than misses.
The vibrant shocking pink and matching orange beret he designed for Katherine Jenkins reminded us of a delectable swirly scoop of ice cream with elegant tuiles adorning it.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Who knew Aishwarya could pull of a hat like an expert. She was picturesque in matching lace on lace and the pounds have completely melted away since we saw her at Cannes 2013. The towering floral head piece crowned her twirled locks beautifully.
We are all for oversize accessories however we would draw the line at this dangerous looking contraption that could take someone’s eye out! The pearls and pink roses however are brilliant; in fact pearls on anything as far as we are concerned are a great idea.
The ‘Dress Code Attendants’ we spoke of earlier; they may seem lovely in their red lipped hats but they are ruthless when it comes to abiding by the dress code.
Jackie St. Clair
If you’re going to wear a floral hat, Orchids are a radiant choice and the cheerful hue is just loud enough to balance this lady’s classic navy dress. GB Olympian Victoria Pendleton wore the exact same wide brimmed Phillip Treacy hat with a stately white Emilia Wickstead dress. Another way to go is with a sprawling petal rose sculpture as seen on Jackie St. Clair.
Cloche hats are always adorable being the most innocent of the hat family, but they may not get you the same attention as perhaps wide brim hats with protruding antennas or birds sitting in a hat nest. Pill box hat shapes are by far the most style savvy and we love them as much as the similar statement side beret.
We haven’t had this much fun scoping hats since the royal wedding. But on a more serious note, a hat is a sign of propriety and quintessential grace and none wore it more gracefully than Aishwarya Rai Bachchan this year at the Royal Ascot 2013.
Photo Credit: Rex Features
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