The first royal garden party of the 2015 summer season was held yesterday at Buckingham Palace. And a royal garden party, dearest readers, means royal hats!
Queen Elizabeth looked very summery in her textured yellow, grey and white striped hat and coat. The hat, with a square, stove pipe crown, was trimmed in a waterfall of overlapping yellow organza leaves. When we first saw this hat least year, I was not a fan of either its shape or the messy looking trim. While it still, sadly, looks like an overturned bucket to me, I thought the colour was perfect for this outdoor engagement. No matter the occasion, the Queen knows exactly how to dress so that she stands out.
Designer: Angela Kelly
Previously Worn: June 25, 2014
The royal princes all added dapper black silk top hats to their morning suits. The Duchess of Cornwall surprised in a new hat in the most beautiful shade of cornflower blue. Made of straw, the focus of this large hat is a sweeping, rounded brim that grandly curves up over the crown. The dramatic shape and scale of the hat is further emphasized by a wide band of textured straw around the outside of the brim. Camilla has several hats in this shape but the beautiful colour of this one makes it a stand-out for me.
Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: This is a new hat
The Countess of Wessex repeated one of her embellished cocktail hats. While very few photos of this event were released, this one of Sophie gives us a view of the delicate appliquéd lace on the beret-base of this ecru design and the wonderfully balanced pale peachy-pink feathers and handmade silk cabbage rose. It’s a hat with exquisite detail that works perfectly with Sophie’s fair colouring and was beautifully complimented by her cream coat and rose dress.
Previously Worn: June 17, 2014; May 17, 2013
HM has pretty stringent criteria for how her hat are designed. This one meets all the marks she sets. She never really goes wrong. The Duchess finds something that works and sticks with it. I love the color on her. Just the right amount of pop! Sophie, although the hat is lovely, looks to washed out. My favorite would have to be the Duchess of Cornwall.
I haven’t commented before but the comments here are feeling pretty 1 sided these days so here goes! The Queen’s hat isn’t great but to the person who said she needed a bigger brim so she didn’t squint and get crow’s feet….um…. I think the Queen has more important things to worry about. She seems pretty no nonsense about her hats so if she likes it, that’s good enough for me. I really don’t thing anyone in their right mind chooses a hat so that their chance of getting crows feet decreases.
Camilla’s hat is nothing new. It’s a different colour but nothing else about it is new. That’s OK by me because it’s great on her. She knows what works and repeats it. And repeats it. And repeats it again. I don’t think she’s actually as creative with hats as everyone thinks she is but I also don’t think she’s trying to be.
The winner for me here is Sophie. Someone said this hat should be worn with a flouncy dress and NEWSFLASH flouncy dresses went out of style 20 years ago. Cocktail hats are super stylish and this one is amazing. Wearing it with such a modern (and amazing) coat shows off how great the hat is. Modern dressing is all about contrast- like wearing something detailed against something stark- and Sophie is the only one here dressed in this decade.
Heather, I’m with you with regard to the Countess of Wessex. That hat is gorgeous, and she looks wonderful wearing it. As for the Duchess if Cornwall, oh dear Lord, a new hairstyle once in 40 years is A Good Thing. Is she just waiting for this to come back in style? And the same style of hat, over and over and over… *yawn*
The Queen: Her Majesty’s hat looks like a school Arts and Craft project where the teacher gave the children fabric scraps to decorate a bucket. The stunted brim looks odd, especially when the crown is so high, and the Queen really needs a brimmed hat for the outdoors, especially at her age, when she is at increased risk of skin cancer, and squinting like that can cause crow’s feet. The black bag and shoes don’t coordinate with the outfit. I appreciate that the Queen probably chooses those particular type of shoes for safe walking on uneven surfaces, but surely the designer can make these bags and shoes in other colors.
The Duchess of Cornwall: The Duchess definitely upstaged the Queen and the Countess in this dramatic brand new hat. I love the cornflower blue color, and I have seen the Queen look good in this color before too. There’s no way a short lady like the Queen or me could pull off the Duchess’s hat, but I do think the Queen should see what Philip Treacy could come up with for her for a change. There are many large picture hats that shorter women can wear if the design is right. The Duchess’s coat is such a better design than the Queen’s coat.
The Countess of Wessex: it would have been nice to see her debut a new hat for the first Royal Garden Party of the season. I thinks this hat suits her well, but (call me old-fashioned if you like), I refuse to accept that these cocktail hats are right for Garden Parties. They don’t provide sun protection for the skin of your face for a start. That hat in particular, is very classic and demure, so it really goes with an elegant, feminine dress, rather than a coat.
Not really a fan of any of these hats, but I was wondering, do hats have time of day/occasion rules like dresses? In other words is a cocktail hat appropriate during the day or is it just a style term? Is a brimless hat really suitable for a garden party? Is there such a thing as an evening hat?
I think this post will help answer your questions about cocktail hats.
While there used to be strict style rules about what hat to wear when, such things have relaxed considerably. It’s now perfectly acceptable to wear a cocktail hat in the morning. As for evenings- if an event doesn’t warrant a tiara, we sometimes see royal headpieces (not hats). Here are some examples:
Queen Elizabeth at the evening opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics
Princess Victoria of Sweden at the Swedish Royal Academy earlier this year
Queen Letizia in two beaded evening headpieces
A number of British Royals (including the Queen) at the late afternoon wedding of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, back in 1999
I hope that answers your question!
Oh to be honest, I did not like any of the hats, HM, that hat is to tall on her, and the color is bland, it washes her out, she needs more vibrant colors to wear. DofC, that hat is over powering on her, way to big, it looks like it is lop sided and heavy, the color is perfect and I do like her coat and the Countess, why do ladies wear hats so far down in the front, it looks like it is falling off her head, and the color white is not good on her, a soft shade of pink would have been perfect.
I always thought Sophie’s hat was cream but it’s also pink! So pretty.
My first impression of this yellow hat was that it resembles a chamber pot. I don’t like it any better this time around. The matching fabric to the coat plus all the yellow leaves trimming it, are too much. The brim is too narrow in proportion to the hat, and not wide enough for a sunny day, resulting in the Queen squinting. This coat isn’t elegant, with its collarless style, shapelessness and old-fashioned fabric. I was excited to see the Duchess of Cornwall in a new hat. The cornflower blue is a beautiful shade of blue, and the hat and outfit were dramatic and fashionable too. I was disappointed that we didn’t see a new hat on the Countess of Wessex. While I quite like this hat, I don’t think it was right for a garden party. Her outfit was good, but I would have preferred some more colour for this type of event.
As I can’t wear yellow (it makes me look jaundiced, not to mention I just don’t care for the color much), I find it great HM is able to pull it off so well. This isn’t my favorite hat on her, but she still looks lovely, even if the brim seems a bit short for such a sunny day. Camilla has answered my prayers for a new hat, and what a gift it is! I adore this color and shape on her and can’t wait to see it repeated soon so we can get even better looks at the details. I think Sophie looked great here, but she really needs to branch out beyond the beige, blue, and black she so often wears; I think red would be a great color for her to try out sometime. Always nice to see some great morning outfits and top hats be put on parade as well; the Duke of Edinburgh still has it after all these years, and I think it’s great how Charles bucks the trend ever so slightly with his all grey morning suit (as I also love to wear this shade of grey).
When I don’t like the Queen’s hat I feel like I’m criticizing my grandma but here goes- I’m sorry but those yellow leaves look like a craft project gone bad. Camilla’s hat is fantastic and Sophie looks amazing as usual. Her hat is GORGEOUS.
Oh how wonderful, Spring has sprung and it’s Garden Party time . . . wahoo! Hats, hats and more hats. HM’s hat was . . . boring and pastel, which means it can make her look washed out at best and sallow at worst, and it did. And yes, the brim was too narrow because squints on a Queen are best avoided. Prince Philip looking very dapper in Morning suit with an umbrella, which seems to have replaced the Edwardian ornamental walking stick.
Ah Camilla, she never looks better than when wearing one of her magnificent, gorgeous, positively luscious, tributes to the art of Millinery, and this one is one of the best I’ve seen. Moving away from her neutrals and into this fabulous deep cornflower blue was a masterstroke. Actually, the entire ensemble was fabulous. I love the fitted top and the flared skirt, so elegant and feminine without being fussy. And don’t you just love Charles grey morning suit with it’s pale blue tie and kerchief picking up the pale blue of Camilla’s dress.
Sophie is a rare miss. While her hat can be admired for it’s artistry, it’s too fussy and her oat and dress look too washed out.
I liked this hat on Her Majesty the first time and I still like it — even though yellow is so tricky to wear. She looks very springy.
The Duchess of Cornwall looks like her usual, well-turned out self. She wears those big hats so well. And, she has the best tailor in Britain. Her coat fits beautifully.
The Countess looks looks very nice. Her hat perfectly ties together her coat and dress. It’s a demure look, but this isn’t the racecourse, for goodness sake!
I love the top hats on the gentlemen! There are just so few occasions to wear them. They all look so perfectly turned out. Also, I love that they are each carrying a brolly. You just never know!
In a way, many of Camilla’s hats seem similar to the style so loved by the Queen Mother. Does anyone wonder if this is a coincidence due to Charles being close to QM. Remember, although the QM wore this style regularly throughout her life, she also wore Pillboxes and floral hats up until about late 70s/1980. After this point I think she only wore a hat which wasn’t a halo brimmed hat at Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones wedding although this may be wrong?
I was pleased with everyone’s hat this time. I continue to like the Queen’s overturned bucket hat: the yellow fabric is beautiful, and I think the waterfall of yellow leaves is nice addition. It was a perfect choice for a garden party. Unfortunately some of the pictures do show the Queen squinting, indicating that the brim was a little narrow for such a sunny occasion.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s hat is even more over the top, so to speak, then usual. I love it.
While the Countess of Wessex’s outfit does not stand out from a distance, it’s nicely coordinated and looks excellent in close-ups. Well done!
The Queen and Camilla look lovely head to toe. Sophie missed the mark entirely this time IMO.
Sophie’s had is terrific – and that’s saying something for me since I am not a fan of cocktail hats typically – they look too much like facinators often I find – this one is just a tad larger and it makes the cut on my book. The trim on HM’s hat is something that reminds me of the 60s and not in a good way – it’s got a semi-cheep look with the idea of that polyester voil they made so many peignoir out of in the 60s. I am a fan of yellow typically (my bedroom has been done in yellow many times in my life and I am one who can also wear yellow without looking sick. Cam’s hat is great – the big ones do so well on her!
Not too keen on HM’s hat; the trim is too fussy for my taste. Duchess of Cornwall dazzles in cornflower blue. Countess of Wessex’s hat is pretty and suits her.
I still really like this yellow hat on Her Maj, the embellishment is somewhat u expected and rather lovely. Yes the shape is slightly too big, but that’s a quibble. I think this is a lovely outfit.
Camilla is a wow! This is clearly becoming her signature hat shape, and when I first saw the shape Years back I thought it was too much, but I’ve come to love it (could there be a hat quadruple feature coming up?!) This colour is great on her, it’s a lot of one colour, but she looks fab!
And Sophie, in her go-to beige, which I could do without, but she looks elegant and very well put together!
While HM always looks immaculate, I am not a fan of this yellow on her. In the closeup, the yellow reflects on her face, making her skin a sickly color. Camilla’s hat is her usual large hat that suits her so well. I prefer to see Sophie in. Color. I love her hat, but she is so fair that the pale coat and hat do nothing for her. I do like that style of hat on Sophie, but wish the coat color and hat had been the pink of her dress. The rose and the lace on the hat, staying the color that they are, would look so beautiful with the right shade of pink.
Liked 2 out of 3: HM the Queen is a definite miss due to the waterfall of overlapping yellow organza leaves. The Duchess of Cornwall gets two thumbs up for the beautiful cornflower blue color and the appliquéd lace beret styled hat worn by the Countess of Wessex works perfectly with her cream coat.
HM looks fit and happy. I would love to be so healthy at her age! The organza petals are so delicately placed, I like them even though the hat underwhelms me. The colors she has chosen today really brighten up her pearl 3 strand necklace. I never saw it as being so yellow before. Camilla chose perfectly. A large enough hat to balance her hair, brim wide enough to shade her eyes but not to hide her face and all in a color she wears so well. The rose on Sophie’s hat is delicate and great with her coloring. But the lace on her hat is too fussy for me. BTW, I like the seafoam green color hat on the lady Camilla is speaking with
Always nice to see the Duchess of Cornwall is something other than taupe. She’s had a couple of engagements recently where she’s worn light blue – very nice on her. And she and the Prince of Wales looked great together. I especially like the flair of the skirt of her coat – reminds me somewhat of the pleating on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress. I also posted the following comment on the Jewel Vault site – the Duke of Edinburgh is said to wear the same morning coat he’s worn since the 1950s! You can see that the coat he’s wearing in the photos above has seen many parties and other events. I’m most amazed that he can continue to wear into his 90s a morning coat that was tailored for him when he was in his 30s. Good on him!
Wow! Thanks Chuck for the info. Very impressive
Do you think his silk hat is the same as well?!
Not sure if you know this so I will add it in – up here in Scotland it is traditional for a man to receive a kilt on his 21st birthday as his present which can be used at any formal event throughout his life e.g. Weddings, garden parties, dinner dances, cruises etc. However, kilts really only made a comeback for most Scots in the late 70s/early 80s and till then most men received “top hat and tails” for their 21st birthday, again to be used at all formal events. Hope that is some use.
Yes, the Duke of Edinburgh’s hat is most certainly the one he’s been wearing since probably the 1940s at least – probably the only black top hat he’s ever owned. That’s the beauty of a well-made and well-cared for silk hat. They truly last decades. And they never go out of style (that is how I justified buying a 75+ year old black silk top hat a few years ago – I figured if a woman has to buy a different hat for each day of Royal Ascot I can certainly buy one nice hat to wear every day!) The Duke of Edinburgh rotates between his black and his gray hats. The gray one is more obviously old as the brim on the front of the hat is “squared off” and you can see the beginnings of this odd brim in photos from years ago. I recently saw a photo of him in his gray hat from the 1970s and the brim was already taking on that squared off look. You have to say this for the old Duke, he gets his money’s worth out of his duds. He still uses the same Garter robes, hat, and sash as he was originally issued – 60+ years on. Or look closely at any of his dress uniforms – they show lots of wear in the gold braiding.
Great insight! I hadn’t noticed before that the Duke’s grey hat (with black band around the base of the crown) is the SAME hat he’s worn for the past 40+ years. Now we know where Princess Anne gets her knack for thriftily recycling hats from several decades ago.
Since we’re talking male attire – is the umbrella strictly part of the morning coat look or just a simple concession to the garden party setting/British weather?
Kat, the answer is “sort of both.” There was a time (back in the days when men wore morning attire and top hat for business) when a man would always carry either a walking stick or an umbrella. Of course those days are gone. So it is arguably part of the outfit. But I always find it humorous when the Duke of Edinburgh, especially, or really any member of the Royal Family is carrying an umbrella when it isn’t raining. Would they really be caught in the rain if it suddenly started raining, or would more likely someone run up with an umbrella and give it to them? Probably the latter I’d say.