Royal Ascot Day 1: The Wessexes

I’m so pleased to be joined today by Toronto-based milliner Jay Cheng, creator of Jaycow Millinery.

The Countess of Wessex wore a white straw, wide brimmed bergère hat with shallow crown. The underbrim of the hat is covered in the same delicate blush pink floral print as her dress.

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Jay Cheng: Again, it’s a new twist to the wide brimmed hat. The floral fabric on the underside of the brim cast a splash of radiant color to the complexion of Countess of Wessex. Overall it’s a nice match of hat style to dress silhouette. Not liking the busyness of the floral print though. I could go for just the dress in the floral print.

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Royal Hats: I adore a wide brimmed hat and I also love the idea of a print on the underside of a picture hat but this iteration on Sophie somehow misses the mark. Maybe it’s the colour (white isn’t her best) or maybe it’s all that floral pattern- I suspect it the aim here was ‘charmingly romantic’ but I’m afraid this look instead veers into ‘upholstery overkill’.

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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Emilia Wickstead
Previously Worn: This hat is new

The Earl of Wessex repeated his black silk antique top hat.

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What do you think of Sophie’s new hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


14 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 1: The Wessexes

  1. I’ve been rethinking this outfit and am going to change my mind. I LOVE the hat and the use of a pattern on the underside of the brim is a beautiful touch. Recut the dress- either into a wide, open V-neck or into a separate skirt worn with a tailored white silk structured top (like the one Sophie wore to the Garter Service)- and the ensemble would be a romantic knock out.

    But the hat on it’s own- I’m declaring love for it. It’s SO pretty.

  2. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Earl of Wessex’s top hat is the best of the lot. Perfection! Highly polished (he must have his hat polished each year a day or two before Royal Ascot) and excellent fit. What I would give to have a hat of such perfection! But, please sir, buy a new tie! I love the whimsy of the Hermès equestrian-themed tie, but we’ve seen that tie at Ascot for years. That said, I’ll forgive the tie because that hat is so perfect. LOL

    • ChicagoChuck I was surprised and delighted that, as I reviewed the men’s top hats, I was able to instantly recognize the fine quality of the Earl of Wessex’s hat. Exquisite was the word that came to mind. And I — and others I am sure – have you and the HatQueen to thank for your help over the years in understanding what qualities to look for in an exception top hat. Thank you!

        • Aww, shucks! Your comments are very kind. It has been fun indeed that we’ve collectively broadened our knowledge through this blog and our conversations about hats. These posts are a highlight of my day!

  3. I love the idea of the dress print being under the brim, but since the dress is pink I don’t understand the white hat? Why not pink or cream? It’s just jarring to me, even though her accessories are also white. Maybe it’s just that I hate that dress. I don’t think Wickstead does Sophie any favors and the high necks are awful. I also wonder because this hat is now tied to this dress, unless the fabric is easily removeable and then it seems like why bother?

  4. Okay, so I LOVED this! It’s a high fashion look which I think is totally Sophie’s bag. The pattern is romantic and whimsical but the execution is really modern. I love that juxtaposition. I can see why it would be divisive but I love that she’s gone for a bold look and totally run with it.

  5. Oh dear, after perfection at Garter Day, we get this from Sophie for the opening of Ascot?? This feels very 1980s to me (not in a good way), and that pattern looks very Christmas/mistletoe from even a short distance unfortunately, like Jimbo said. The hat shape and angle are great, but that’s it unfortunately. Here’s hoping for better things the rest of this week.

    Like his brother Andrew, Edward looks fantastic in his top hat; it fits perfectly!

    • Jake, I’m glad you said Christmas because that was my first reaction, and no one else seemed to be feeling it. My mother had a long sleeve holiday turtleneck of almost the identical print. That being said, both the dress and hat styling aside from the print pattern suit the Countess very well, so on the whole, I’ll give her a thumbs up.

  6. Sorry, the Countess’s choices for the day are not my cup of tea. For me, not a lover of prints, this looks like sadly unattractive wallpaper x2. If either the dress or the hat (which otherwise is not bad) were solid colors, maybe, but as it is, Sophie’s Opening Day appearance is a miss.

  7. Sophie is beautiful, and I really like the underside patterned hat. At first sight, it looked like Christmas wrapping paper to me. As for Edward’s top hat, it is perfection, the best one we’ve seen so far.

  8. Oh, I so agree with you HQ and Jay. When I first saw this, I thought ‘wallpaper’ and panicked that the floral print was all over the hat! Clearly, the matador thing is a thing this season. I don’t mind that hat style, it’s the overkill on the floral print that makes this a rare miss for me, from Sophie. She was so wonderful at the Garter parade that I was excited to see what would appear for Ascot. Oh well, fingers crossed for tomorrow!

    • Well said sandra! I was underwhelmed by the Countess of Wessex’s outfit. The hat shape is great and interesting how it incorporates the fabric, but I’m not a fan of the matchy-matchy.

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