Ascot Day 1: Duke & Duchess of Sussex

We certainly didn’t have to wait long for the Duchess of Sussex to make her Ascot debut! All eyes were on the newest British royal couple today- no surprise as the Duchess wore the most elaborate hat we’ve seen her in so far. A statement design in white sinamay, the hat’s upsweep is counter balanced by a down facing teardrop point on the opposite side. The fluid shape is punctuated with a wide black straw binding stripe around the piece and a gossamer-light black crin brim around the upswept side of the hat. The design is completed with trimmed black quills and a knotted patent leather figure-eight bow.

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I think it’s a fantastic hat for Meghan. The organic shape has such a delicate lightness, it appears from some angles almost to float over her head. The crin brim factors significantly in the hat’s airness, softening the graphic, monochrome colour scheme and lending subtle sheen that beautifully frames Meghan’s face. Black and white ensembles sometimes carry a harsh edge and while the colour contrast still brings punch to this one, the shape of the hat, the crin brim, the lace trim and flow of Meghan’s silk dress all combine to create a softer, layered look. What we’ve seen of Meghan’s style so far is that it is the anthesis of fussy and while this hat certainly makes a statement, it also appears to fit her style well.

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Designer: Philip Treacy. It is OC 423 from SS 2018. Givenchy dress.
Previously Worn: This hat is new
Prince Harry repeated his black silk top hat and while it looks in marginally better shape than during its last outing, it could still use a good polish. As the new Duchess of Sussex learns to care for her expanding millinery wardrobe, let’s hope she extends some TLC with this hat as well.

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I suspect Meghan’s hat will yield much response- what did you think of it?!
Photos from Getty as indicated

42 thoughts on “Ascot Day 1: Duke & Duchess of Sussex

  1. Terrific hat! Refreshing to see a new look on her. I love the whole ensemble but I’m not sold on the handkerchief hem of her dress.

  2. The hat is fabulous!! I actually looked at some hats on Philip Treacy’s website and saw a very similar hat and thought to myself, “This is what Meghan should wear to Ascot.” I wasn’t sure she would be that bold, but I am so happy to see her wear a bold hat. I love her entire look. It has Audrey Hepburn vibes.

  3. A beautiful hat for sure, and a great debut at Ascot for Meghan! I like the details on this one better than when Priyanka Chopra wore the same shape to their wedding, but I still think this design looks odd when viewed from the wearer’s right side. I don’t care for the dress’s hemline and wished the skirt flared out a bit more, but otherwise it was a great look overall!

    Harry looks amazing in his top hat, and that denim blue waistcoat needs to be in my closet ASAP!

  4. Gorgeous hat! and so creative! I love it from every single angle. It suits Meghan so very well, I just hope she loves it too!
    I agree there is a 1930s vibe to this hat, especially when worn with the dress, which looks like crepe (such a thirties fabric!), and observing the length of the dress, the handkerchief hem, the front button closure, the thin belt and the drapey narrow silhouette. I am not convinced that the angular collar is in tune with the curvy hat; and the horizontal black line of the belt actually distracts a little from the beautiful curving black lines of the trim — but overall, the dress supports the hat very well indeed.

  5. I love her hat. My first reaction to seeing it was that it could have been a hat from the ‘30s which to me was a great era for hat designs. I wish her hem had been straight but other than than quibble I say Meghan made a grand entry to her first Ascot!!!

  6. love the hat, it’s beautiful
    the dress even though its’ Givenchy it’s OK, perhaps some color in the future
    she is finding her way I can’t imagine all the new things she needs to be aware of so she will get there

  7. Lovely and unusual hat for the Duchess. Still not sure about the dress though. But as HatQueen says “we can’t argue against an outfit that let’s the HAT be the star, can we?” I wonder if she’ll attend any other days at Ascot?

  8. She’s literally “off to the races” and looks lovely for a first outing…but am I the only one, possibly because she’s dark-haired and American, who sees a slight re-boot of Wally Simpson during the cruise of the Nahlin? There’s a photo of the not quite DOW walking (in the South of France?) in a long, pale skirt, white blouse and jaunty cloche hat that seems to be the great granny of this one!

  9. After her outfit at the Spencer wedding I was glad to see Meghan’s back to her polished style. I love someone’s comment that this is a My Fair Lady look. I LOVE black and white and this hat is so interesting at a certain angle the whole outfit has a retro look. In some ways I feel the shirt dress is too casual and I am not sure if I like the uneven hemline. In one photo at first glance I thought the dress was very wrinkled at the waist until I realized it was stitching. Overall Meghan has quickly found her footing and this Ascot has her out of the gate as a front runner!

  10. Beautiful hat. For someone who doesn’t have a history wearing hats this seems very bold and confident. Love it! The dress is ok. But doesn’t make quite the statement the hat does.

  11. I get a 1930s vibe from head to toe. The shape of the hat along side her cheek reminds me of a cloche. I agree with HQ, all focus goes to the hat!! Hope she felt good in it she keeps experimenting.

    • I was thinking closer to 1920s with that hemline, but that clochiness is definitely there, isn’t it? Unlike many commenters, I think the dress is a great choice: it’s not so plain as to be utterly boring, but nor is it trying to grab attention away from the hat – or the lady wearing them.

  12. It’s a daring hat. Very modern but with a nod to the past, as others have noticed. And she wears it with aplomb. Well done, Your Royal Highnsss.

  13. I looked at the first shot and thought uh-oh but it’s just that one angle that’s weird. The hat looks marvellous in all the other photos. The dress is very plain for Ascot, but no quibbles from me. Well done Mrs Sussex!

    • I agree with Sandra. The first photo of this hat from the side view did not impress me but from the front view it is lovely as it beautifully frames Meghan’s face. I personally don’t like handkerchief hemlines on dresses but overall I think this a stylish ensemble and a great Ascot debut for the Duchess of Sussex.

  14. I am fascinated by this hat, it looks different from every angle! It’s the most dramatic hat we’ve seen on Meghan yet but it also fits in with her pared-down style. It’s a winner by me! I don’t know about the dress, I suspect it looks better in person than in photos. The lace embellishment or whatever is around the waist looks like wrinkles in photographs from afar. But good on her for being true to her style and bonus that it’s a niche that nobody else is filling right now.

  15. Not sure I have anything to add since HatQueen has summed it up so well, but I’m joining in the chorus of praise. Love it!

  16. A stunning ensemble – I like both the hat and the dress separately and in combination, and echo Mr Fitzroy that Meghan is staking out her own style parameters rather than copying Kate.

    A question about terminology, Hat Queen – this hat can be referred to as a saucer without actually being round? I think if it were flattened it would be closer to a square than a circle!

  17. From the first picture, this has a similar look to the 1940s bonnets worn by the Queen, does anyone else see this?

  18. Well, as The Duchess is American, it seems appropriate to say that she ‘hit this one out of the park’! What a lovely classic look, while at the same time a bit daring — and also striking, but not in an overdone “look at me!” way.
    MrFitzroy thinks that she has been doing very well to be staking out her own style parameters, while being careful to NOT become a, shall we say, karbon kopy of Kate…..both ladies made their Ascot debuts in white, and both were lovely, yet could not be more different.
    The hat is a marvel of both design and engineering, and she wears it perfectly…..and trim such as that soaring quill takes some thought to wear….she may not poke anyone’s eye out, but there are certainly navigational logistics involved!

    On a slightly wacky note, did anyone else –just for a split second– think of the old TWA terminal building at JFK airport? Just MrFitzroy? Never mind….

    • It’s not the first time we’ve seen a hat trim that looks lethal, is it?

      Off to Google an image of the TWA terminal…

  19. This hat is similar to the one Priyanka Chopra wore to the Royal Wedding a month ago. While PC’s hat had a lovely side embellishment of lavender flowers, I prefer the black binding, quills and bows as embellishments on the Duchess’ hat. It’s very striking and suits her well.

    • A lot of people on social media are saying the two are similar…. I guess the concept shape is similar but there are still significant structural differences (base shape of the straw, width and placement of the crin brim) in addition to very different approaches to trim.

  20. A lovely hat, but not from certain angles, especially the side. I don’t think it works with the dress – the hat swoops and curves and the dress is sharp angles at collar and hem and the two looks are fighting. The dress even without the hat is frightful.

  21. This is a stylish and dramatic hat. I like it from every angle except the right side where it brings to mind a napkin with chopsticks. Bringing the transparent brim around to that side might have been better. I also think it reads a lot fancier than the dress, which in spite of the pretty embroidery looks more casual with its handkerchief hem and business like belt and collar. With Meghan’s laid back style, this hat was a nice surprise.

  22. Two outstanding pieces! The hat is dramatic and beautiful – not two traits that often go together. The dress is exquisite. It starts with a simple shirtwaist style and then elevates it with beautiful tailoring and the unusual hemline. In one of the pictures, I think I can see some kind of embroidery or embossing above the waist. BUT, I dislike the hat and dress together. The former is stark white and the dress almost a cream. Not a good mix in my opinion.

  23. Well we waited 5 years for Kate to show at Ascot, but Meghan didn’t hang about! This is lovely. Just a stunning shape, dramatic yet elegant. I love the crin which gives it such airiness and makes me happy that we’ll see some interesting shapes from Meghan. The dress, while lovely is very low key for Ascot, her caped number last week feels more celebratory for the races… but this is a well put together outfit that lets the hat be the star.

  24. Well I got that wrong! I don’t like it from the side, but from the front and back. It is fabulous. She has such great elegance and style. It looks like longer skirts and dresses may be something we will see a lot of, and hopefully we will be seeing a lot of wonderful hats on her.

  25. The look has got a very Audrey Hepburn-My Fair Lady-Ascot feeling to it: the black & white, the tilted hat and the embroidery on the dress.

    • YES! Good call! It is an updated, modern take on the famous black and white fussy ensemble from the movie (one of my favourite scenes of all time!).

    • So true! After I saw that movie, I thought for a long time that black and white was in the Ascot dress code!

    • Talking about the My Fair Lady hats – I saw a hat today that was a modern version of those epic hats. Done in dark blue – huge bow of the same color in the sweep of the hat’s design, and three very grand ostrich plumes in a lighter blue. It was so gorgeous and reminiscent of those wonderful hats from the Opening Day scene. Unfortunately I only saw her once so didn’t get a chance to take a photo.

  26. This is absolutely wonderful. It’s really a continuation of her style but she took it to the next level for Ascot. Well done! I can’t say anything bad about it.

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