Today was Ladies’ Day at Ascot and I am so pleased to be joined by two talented ladies, British Milliner Katie Vale and American milliner Jill Courtemanche, for a review of the day’s hats. What a day it has been!
Queen Elizabeth in Rachel Trevor Morgan
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Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
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JC: The color on this hat (and coat) is stunning! I still think the sharp upturn of the brim is not my favorite shape on her, but I applaud her for mixing it up and embracing a variety of silhouettes. The detail on the trim of this hat is really great. The shading in the flowers and darker edging on the ribbon all make for lovely accents and give the hat a real three dimensionality which is very pretty.
KV: It’s a nice inoffensive hat. I like the asymmetrical brim, which is different to others we see from the queen; usually she has more of wide brim with an upturn. The colour matches her dress perfectly and the flowers are quite pretty. The size is good and it’s well balanced, but it doesn’t excite me.
RH: Does anyone where these saturated shades of blue better? I have long been a fan of Rachel Trevor Morgan’s feathered flowers and these blooms, with the two-toned blue and navy straw bow loops, make this such a pretty hat. I also really like the shape of both the brim and the crown. This might not be the fantastical, whimsical show-stopper hat we associate with Ladies’ Day but I think the Queen looks beautiful.
Princess Beatrice in Sarah Cant
KV: Oh I love this! A pretty colour and I like the stitch detail on the felt. It’s not often that you see felt being worn in the summer, but I like the brightness of it. The size of the button base is delicate. My only negative is that I don’t think it actually goes with her outfit.
JC: I really want to like this, but I think the fact that it is felt is throwing me. I love the color (even though it is the wrong shade of orange to match her skirt) and the shape is very nice on her especially the profile, I just wish the hat was in a straw so the whole thing would be lighter. I like that’s it’s youthful and fun yet I just don’t think it’s quite right.
RH: I also love the shocking, vibrant colour, the sculptural quality of the shape, and the stitching detail. Like Jill, I am perplexed with the choice of a felt hat for an event in June. Pair it with a navy or grey winter coat for Christmas this year and I will swoon!
Princess Eugenie in Robyn Coles
KV: I bet those two dangly bits have got in her way all day! The rose seems too high from the base and whilst the colour goes well with her outfit I just think overall it’s a tad bland. It’s a nice size though but I’ve seen her in nicer designs.
RH: I desperately want to pivot this hat so that those two tails are not over her face. If they were dangling down over her ear, I think the eye would be drawn up and the effect of the hat would be really pretty.
JC: The color is perfect with her jacket (which I covet) and the shape is vey clean and modern, overall very nice on her but I do not know how she can stand having the ends of that bow in her line of vision all day! I don’t like anything that creates a focal point on the face like that, I think it’s distracting I would have preferred to see the trim a bit more off to the side. That said she looks incredibly ladylike and pulled together which is fantastic!
The Countess of Wessex in Jane Taylor
KV: Zara has always been my favourite royal hat wearer, but at this rate Sophie may be over taking her! I love the shallow crown, and the shape of the brim gives lots of lovely movement. The design of the loops is also really well placed both on top and underneath the brim. My only criticism is that she is in a completely black outfit and it looks a little somber.
JC: Another gorgeous silhouette, this hat is divine! A definite show stopper and it feels light for being all black. The way the trim loops through the brim to frame the right side of her face is genius. Her overall look could have used a pop of color, it’s bordering on dowdy especially with the weight of the fabric (I would take 4″ off the length of that skirt and add a brightly colored belt) but she looks demure and feminine, this look is classic.
HR: Is it black or is it navy? In the closeup shots, it looks navy. Even with questions of colour, this hat is spectacular. The gentle wave shape of the brim contrasted with the large bow loops is brilliant. Like Jill and Katie, I’m not sure this dress was the right pairing for it. The hat however, was my favourite of the day.
Princess Anne in Snoxell Gwyther
JC: I am glad that for Ladies’ Day Princess Anne clicked it up a notch. I adore the bright color on her and it’s fantastic with her coat I just find the crown a bit too heavy for her delicate features. The trim is not my favorite but it is simple and allows the coat and her other accessories to have a place. When I just see a headshot I think this is way too much but in full length it really works nicely and I think this is her best look so far this week.
KV: This hat is totally unbalanced! The crown is too big and the brim is too small. However it is lovely to see her in a nice colourful hat, as the previous two days I’ve just thought the hats weren’t enough for Ascot.I do love the hot pink / navy colour combination though and think the decoration is very elegant, yet striking.
RH: I don’t care about the slightly off proportions of this hat. It’s a hot pink hat on Princess Anne! That alone is cause for major millinery celebration!!. It is also really pretty with her gorgeous coat.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Princess of Jordan, Sheikha of Dubai in Philip Treacy
KV: YES!!! Now that’s an Ascot hat. The overbrim trim is delicate lace that matches her dress, and it really does work well decorating the brim like this. The underside decoration appears to be a large flower with feathers then on top of that; I think if you can’t go OTT at Ascot when can you? However, I think it should be either a flower or a feather spray. Overall though I’m a fan of this hat; it really makes me smile.
RH: You can always count on Princess Haya to wear something astounding on Ladies’ Day and she certainly didn’t disappoint today. I love the lace trim around the brim although I agree that the feather explosion on the side is a little large (it looks even larger than her head!). That being said, Ladies’ Day is all about fantastical hats and Princess Haya carried this one off with impeccable style.
JC: This is gorgeous, she looks absolutely stunning by far my favorite look of the day. Dare I say a modern Eliza Dolittle! In America most people are so uneducated on hat wearing that the movie My Fair Lady is their only reference for race day hats and I really feel this is a modern take on that and it’s perfectly executed. The detail work on the trim is beautiful, she’s wearing it perfectly so it’s frames her face and her dress is simple enough that the hat is really the main dish (which I love). This is what Ladies Day at Ascot should be.
That leaves you, dear readers. What do you think of the royal hats on display at Ascot today?
Photos from Getty as indicated
I LOVE Sophie’s hat. It looks navy to me and not black.
Apparently Autumn Phillips was at the races and was in the third carriage. No luck with a photo so far.
Have we seen Anne in this outfit before? It looks kinda familiar. Whilst I’m here – this is by far Princess Haya’s best outfit, classic black and white and out there hat! Very nice. I thought Sophie looked good too, love the high neckline. Apparently it was her wedding anniversary, nice way to celebrate I would have thought. Loving the commentary from the milliners – learning lots! Thanks again.
Yes, Anne has worn this dress and coat before (you can see it here) but it was for an evening event so was worn without a hat.
Bea’s hat looks like a cheesy nacho chip.
Princess Haya was my first choice for best dressed, and she was certainly channeling Eliza Dolittle’s Ascot appearance in the film My Fair Lady. I always admire her impeccable style. My second favorite was Sophie’s hat, and I did like the 50s style outfit, though I don’t really love all dark outfits at the summer races. The Queen ran a third in my fashion stakes. While I do love her in blue, I felt this hat and outfit were a bit too similar to others she has worn before. My least favorite hat was Princess Beatrice’s, because not only did it not match her skirt and was made of a winter felt fabric, but it looked like giant orange peel on her head. My second least favorite hat was Princess Eugenie’s hat, which was too far forward on her head for someone with a round face, and the ribbons hanging down on her face looked like they would be really annoying all day. I liked Princess Anne’s hat, but not on her, as it didn’t suit her face at all, and while I am pleased to see her in a bright color, her outfit was just too busy.
Sophie and Haya for the win, though I’d like Sophie’s hem a tad shorter.
The York gels have that brilliant English indifference to style, can buy well, but don’t. I do like B’s hat, but she’s wearing it with the wrong outfit.
E. looks a right mess, the top adds pounds in the front view, whereas it looks quite slim in the side on profile.
Anne! In a month of Sundays she will never get it right – that neckline is so un-flattering. The hat is just too pudding basin for my liking. She looks a bit goofy in it. Less is more Anne – check hat + choker+neckline+plus buttons+pocket flaps+embroidery. The embroidery is the stand out here, a slim unfussy coat – talk to Cams, she has the ability to achieve that sort of tailoring, and this outfit could have looked wonderful.
The Queen? Usual uniform.
I liked Sophie’s hat and dress very much. Her brooch looked intriguing. Beatrice’s outfit was simply three separate pieces that did not match or make sense as a whole. The hat would be delightful with a sharp charcoal grey winter suit but not this mishmash.
Like you I was wondering about Sophie’s brooch. It doesn’t look like any I’ve seen on the Queen or other royals, so it doesn’t seem like it was borrowed from the royal vaults, so perhaps it was a gift from someone. It certainly works well with her outfit. I wonder if any readers know where it’s from?
Haya’s hat is fun but it might be a tad too much of channeling Liza Doolittle with the colors/look for Ascot. Still I love it. Love Sophie’s hat. HM looks like she’s ready to do business – gads she’s been sooo busy of late. I can’t believe how many appearances she has made day in and out for the past month! Ann in magenta is really a surprise to me. The hat is good, but a bit out of proportion for her face. That said, not too sure it would look right if it were made smaller.
As JamesB noted, the Queen’s outfit looks dangerously similar (coat color, hat shape, hat flower, even white with turquoise and green dress) to this one:
Rachel Trevor Morgan seems fond of that bumped-up ridge around the center of the crown. It’s a lovely hat.
Other winner of the day was Princess Haya. As Katie Vale said, “THAT’s an Ascot hat.”
The Queen wears her hat it doesn”t wear her. A good professional outfit. Fabulous brooch. A serious regal race goer.
Beatrice. A pretty girl but tries too hard to be different and out there. Colourful but nothing much else.
Eugenie. Awful. a mess of different styles. A shame and a great waste of money which could be better spent on wardrobe planning lessons.
Sophie. A beautiful “out there” hat and a disappointing outfit overall. IMO the Countess tries too hard to win the hat contest and doesn’t spend enough time on really getting the details of her outfit to “sing” . I know others won’t agree but IMO she rarely “nails it”. Her clothes wear her.
Ann. Colourful outfit and hat but the shape of the hat is ghastly on her. Very neat and proper but a long way from “wow” IMO.
Haya. Absolutely gorgeous Ascot hat. Not so sure about the dress.
All good fun and I just love to see people wearing hats. Chapeaux!
Lovely all around, but my favorite is Princess Haya. Oh, my word, how lovely she is!
Sophia and the Sheika win this round. Notice the dress length Sophia is wearing. Yesterday someone had the same length ..interesting. I think Ann looks negative and the Yorks are running a close second. They all need some new designer input.
Do you think the longer dress lengths are a reaction to the Princess Grace movie (just as “Gatsby” influenced that season’s fashion)? Sophie’s homage to the Fifties, maybe. Rationing was disappearing and Dior created his “new look” using more fabric than had been seen in a while. http://www.dior.com/couture/en_int/the-house-of-dior/the-story-of-dior/the-new-look-revolution
Queen: Fab, much better than the previous day. And what a stonking brooch!
York1: Wrong shade of orange so doesn’t work so well
York2: Okaaaay, but the ribbons are weird. Must say that both young women appear to be trying, their hair is looking good.
Sophie: Brill. She’s gorgeous and I don’t mind that it’s a;; black because it’s all drama.
Anne: Brill x 2. If only Anne looked this good even five times out of 10. Sigh.
Haya: Looking like a princess from top to toe. What a hat, what an outfit!
a;; black = all black. Apologies.
So chuffed to see Princess Anne in magenta! Brilliant!
Whilst I like the Queen’s hat, it’s so similar to one she had new for Canada in 2010 (and has worn frequently), at first I thought it was the same.
Bea’s hat I love. It’s so fun. Yes I do agree though, the outfit isn’t quite hanging together. I’m okay with the differen oranges, but the fussy jacket throws in one too many design features. Nearly! And Eugenie’s look makes me sad. So much beige from one so lovely. That jacket adds pounds, but the hats nice enough.
I love Sophie’s black – it’s quite a statement to go for all black at Ascot, but she looks 50stastic. I love this.
But Anne… Wow. She looks amazing. Has she hired Zara’s stylist?