Ascot Day 3: Countess of Wessex

The Countess of Wessex attended Ascot today for the third day running, in a third new hat! With a raised button crown, this muted grey-lavender straw hat is all about its brim, which is entirely covered in ostrich feathers.

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This is not the kind of hat that translates well for ‘regular’ royal engagements but for Ascot, makes a wonderful statement! The feathers, which cover a narrow spectrum of shades from a barely-there tinge of palest purple through to lavender and darker lilac, give an airy lightness to the piece and a sense of humour. I particularly like the styling of this design with this dress- it’s beautifully balanced with the pleated skirt and the grey shade, perhaps dull on its own, links so well with the grey undertones of soft purple in the hat.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Suzannah ‘Eleanor’ Dress
Previously Worn: this hat is new
Thoughts on the hats aside, these additional photos of the Countess today show the full spectrum of emotions one experiences at the races. They were too fun not to share!
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Ostrich feathers and Ascot have a long association with many designs over the years that can best be described as over the top. I think this hat, while certainly a statement, is a soft, elegant and very fun take on ostrich feathers for Ascot and Sophie wears it well. What do you think of this feathered fantasy hat?
Photos from Getty as indicated

21 thoughts on “Ascot Day 3: Countess of Wessex

  1. I adore this colour scheme on Sophie –, and I love big ostrich feather hats –, but the view from certain angles is odd. The brim seems too straight and too thin, the visible underside looks unfinished (I want to cover it with something – more feathers?), and the placement is too far forward, so Sophie has to tilt her head backward so she can see out of her right eye, since her vision is obscured by overhanging feathers. Sophie absolutely needs a big lavender ostrich feather hat in her wardrobe — but I don’t think this should be the one.

  2. Nope, I find this hat too messy and oddly shaped; honestly looks more like shag carpet on that hat. It’s a shame because this lavender color is so nice for Sophie. Also, that dress just looks washed out and tired.

    P.S. The woman in the red cocktail hat with the massive roses and Lady Amherst pheasant feathers is doing Ladies’ Day right! LOVE.

  3. A fun hat that’s just right for Ascot and Sophie has matched the colours and styles very well. I’d love to see this worn to one of her Countess events, say a Buck House garden party.

  4. What a fun hat! The entire ensemble is lovely. I’m curious about the red hat in the background of picture #5. It’s pretty wild!

  5. Too flat looking, you know, straight across and squashed. Sorry. The ostrich feathers are floaty and flirty and fun in the sun but similar to Camillas hat at Prince Harry’s wedding…too flat. Lovely colour.

  6. I love the ostrich feathers and the purple. However, I really don’t care for the raised button base. IMO it makes the whole thing feel like a mushroom. And for the third day running, I don’t care for her dress.

  7. I love the hat without question – Sophie Wessex always goes to extra trouble for Ascot and it shows. But I think the hat is let down by the dress because I think the dress is dowdy. I’d love to see her at Ascot in a very sharp knee length skirt suit instead of the ankle length things she often wears.

  8. I don’t know that I would like this hat anywhere else, but for Ascot, it’s perfect! The overall effect also reminded me a little of one of the ensembles Diana wore at her first Ascot in 1981:
    Embed from Getty Images

    By the way, in the past two days we were mentioning the length of Sophie’s skirts. When I look back at photos from several years ago to see previous wearings of hats, I notice that her skirts used to be what we might call a “normal” length, and (if it’s okay to say so) there’s nothing wrong with her legs that she might want to hide them — does anyone know when or why she started wearing these extreme lengths?

    • Matthew, midi length skirts are not only on trend, for anyone into racing fashion competition, right now they are de rigueur. [Do you have racing fashion comps where you are? in Australia, competitors follow the circuit nationally and sometimes internationally for what can be very big prizes] It is impossible to win a place if you don’t wear the au courant dress length, because your ability to express up-to-the minute trends is what is being judged. At the most recent racing fashion competition I looked at online, not one single entrant was wearing a skirt any higher than below the knee; most were longer; and wide skirts just above the ankles (tea length) have been prominent among winning ensembles since last spring.
      Women of means who want the latest in racing fashion drive the market for daytime eventwear; so while we may not see midi and tea-length dresses being worn on the streets, such dresses are nevertheless widely available right now. Did you notice at the recent Swedish christening, how P Madeleine was the only female in the group photos to wear a dress that hit unfashionably high at the knee? all her female contemporaries were wearing below-the-knee or midi-length skirts. The uptake of midi-length fashion by committed racegoers is moving all daytime eventwear into the longer end of the spectrum. It’s just that Sophie is ahead of that curve. Which is what makes her, for me, the one to watch. Whether it’s hats or dresses, she’s not going to wait for everyone else to catch on. No doubt when the wheel of fashion raises skirt lengths once more (not anytime soon, I predict), Sophie will be among the first to follow suit.

  9. I want to like this, it’s a great concept but the messy feathers flopping over the edge of the brim annoy me a bit. I like the dress, it’s a good foil for a dramatic hat.

  10. This is certainly a fun hat for a lady having fun at the races! The dress is pretty basic in style and color but I think with a hat like this it doesn’t need to compete with the dress. I do love the full and flowing skirt. My only negative thought is it seems to sit too high on her head but maybe if it sat further down the feathers would hide more of her face. Overall I love the outfit, it is a graceful and elegant look. I love the earlier comment about this look reminding them of Princess Margaret. A fantastic comparison!!

  11. I love the dress and the color of the ostrich feathers. However it kind of looks like a feather dust mop to me. The reactions pictures show that she was really enjoying herself at Ascot. Although wouldn’t we all if we were there?

  12. Wah I’m crying, another miss for Sophie. This is fun with the ostrich feathers, but I think the brim needed to be BIGGER for it to work. Like a big lampshade mushroom brim. It’s just this side of skimpy to me. Love the reaction photos though!

  13. Yay Sophie!!! I might like it even more if the crown were not quite so flat, but this is a minor quibble. This is what Ascot hats are all about.

  14. There is something very “Haute Princess Margaret” about this hat, in the best possible way —and IT IS FANTASTIC!! (Please pardon MrFitzroy for shouting). Well Done Mrs. Wessex!!

  15. Now here is a beautiful woman – isn’t she ? I like the idea of this hat and the construction and colour but I’m itching to take it off and give it a shake to fluff it up before putting it back !!

    • Unfortunately ostrich feathers don’t do well with the slightest bit of wind. They tend to look very messy when blown around.

  16. I love the range of purples in the feathers…however if the feather had not drooped over the brim, I might have liked the execution better. I think Camilla has a hat with a mass of ostrich feathers that are more vertical, and that seems to have a cleaner line. It also seemed like she was having to keep her head tilted up in order to see!

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