Royal Ascot Day 3: Countess of Wessex

I’m honored to have Ellie Vallerini, creator of Sussex-based Ellie Vallerini Hats, join us to weigh in on today’s royal hats at Ascot!  

The Countess of Wessex topped her navy crepe jumpsuit with a matching veiled pillbox hat covered in the same fabric.

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Ellie Vallerini: The Countess of Wessex always looks so beautiful, and this is an absolutely perfect colour for her. It’s a smart and sophisticated look with a feminine edge. Although colour matching isn’t essential these days I think it works really well with this chic look, letting the elegant lines and colour do the talking.

Royal Wats: While the designer calls this a ‘halo band’, it’s a full, pillbox! From the waist up, I love the look. The oversize scale of the hat works so well with the open neckline and the veil adds a little texture to break up the sameness of the navy crepe fabric on both pieces. But… when the wide legs of the jumpsuit get added to the mix, I think they throw things out of proportion, which is a bit disappointing. 

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Ellie Vallerini: The hat has been beautifully made, in some angles it does look a little heavy on her and the veil doesn’t go over her eyes which is always a flattering look, however I think she looks great and it’s lovely to see a bold and simple look executed well!

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Royal HatsI so admire Sophie’s willingness to experiment with fashion. This courage has brought us some stellar Ascot looks over the years. I love that you described this as a ‘bold’ look- it certainly is! It doesn’t take lots of feathers or a bright colour to create a bold look.   

Designer: Jane Taylor. Bespoke version of the Halo Band With Veil. Jumpsuit by Emilia Wickstead
Previously Worn: this hat is new

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What do you think of Sophie’s hat today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 


24 thoughts on “Royal Ascot Day 3: Countess of Wessex

  1. Sophie’s look gave me familiar mixed emotions – I’m thrilled that she is, again, ahead of the curve with trying new things, like this pantsuit – and disappointed that the result is so low-key. I certainly didn’t expect a minimalist look for Ascot. To me this ultra-plain pantsuit is crying out for a statement hat. There are some fabulous racegoer examples of amazing hats worn with monochrome pantsuit for stunning effect, and even a simple boater would up the interest level a lot.
    Matthew said that the look reminds him of Japanese court dress, and I would add that, neckline and short sleeves aside, it is also like The Netherlands Court dress- I think of Queen Juliana and her round hats:
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    Actually, I’d love to see the the “Maxima” solution applied to that wide open neckline — a big necklace and some visible earrings :).- and then
    I think I could really warm to this total look.
    Pantsuit aside, I’m pleasantly surprised by how very well this hat style suits Sophie – I can’t remember when Sophie last wore a hat so plain and simple, but it’s just so flattering on her. I hope to see this hat worn again — preferably with a non-minimalist knockout ‘sixties-style dress or skirt suit :).

  2. Love the hat on Anne the colour matches her eyes. Jumpsuit is wonderful when she’s standing still. The rules for the Royal Enclosure state that the length of the jumpsuit needs to fall below the knee. Perhaps a change in length or a front flap to cover the pant’s split may have worked too. I love the fact that she can walk very fast or if needed run in what she’s worn today.

  3. I admit my first reaction to the word “jumpsuit” was “oh dear”, but looking at the photos, it’s actually very chic. I think the hat works with the rest of the outfit when the Countess is standing still; but when she walks, the trousers take up more visual space and the hat is too small to keep the look balanced.

    • I was just thinking- how big does this pillbox have to be to balance those trousers?! Which leads one to imagine a remote control inflating device worked inside the design of this hat. Need to walk? Press the button and presto! the hat expands.

      It seems I have reached the giddy phase of Royal Ascot. Time for a nap.

      • Heh heh! Mind you, I’m prepared to bet that someone, sometime, has worn an inflatable hat to Ascot – albeit probably not a royal someone.
        Definitely, you deserve a nap after all your efforts!

      • HatQueen, in light of this reply, I hope it will not be out of bounds if I reply to Andrea’s comment “I love the fact that she can walk very fast or if needed run in what she’s worn today” with the first thing that popped into my mind, which was that generally it is the horses that do the running rather than the royals!

        Also, I’m imagining that the control unit containing the button for inflating the hat would be brought out of the inside of the hat when needed in much the same way as Mike Tindall brought his tiny top hat out of the full-size one. Hmmm, I wonder if his hat is inflatable…

        • Quips and puns are good! It was some very unkind comments that I deleted which I referred to.

          Go back to the post on Zara and Mike yesterday- I solved the mystery of what was inside his hat!

  4. So my first thought was… oh my god! She’s jumped the shark! The first pic I saw was her striding out and it wasn’t a flattering angle. But this jumpsuit is kinda growing on me. Re the hat.. well that’s perfection and Sophie looks
    Really beautiful in it. I’m just going back and forth on that jumpsuit.

    Whatever. I love the fact that a lady in her 50s is looking fabulous and giving us the absolute best Ascot fashion every year. I think where hats (actually nearly all fashion) are concerned, Sophie is the absolute champ.

  5. I like the trouser suit on Sophie, but I don’t think this was the correct hat to pair with it. IMO, a pantsuit needs something with a larger brim, especially with such an open neckline. If she had paired this hat with a dress/skirt suit, I would be on board for most other occasions, but not for Ladies’ Day at Ascot, which deserves more extravagance than this hat gives.

  6. EVERYONE- I welcome discussion about hats and the looks they connect to but it has to be that- discussion. That means explaining what you like or dislike about a hat, not just giving it negative adjectives and insults.

    Please- be kind.

  7. Well, I think I agree with HatQueen, liking the hat and the upper part of the jumpsuit, but the bottom not so much. (We had a similar discussion about some other really wide-legged jumpsuit that Sophie wore previously, maybe last year, but I can’t remember when or what event. Anybody?) And actually, this may be totally off base, but in the full-length photo where her legs are together and you can’t tell that the bottom is pants, the floor-length “skirt” and the matchy hat sent my first thought to Japanese Imperial court dress. (Though such a wide open neckline is probably not allowed there!)

    On the whole, the hat on its own is nice enough, but not an overall win for the Countess of Wessex.

  8. Hat Queen and Ellie, I forgot to mention how much I appreciate your kindnesses and nice comments today, along with the other guests and all the wonderful bloggers. This is a bright spot in my extremely rainy, soggy world right now. There can always be nice comments to be shared.

  9. Great color on Sophie! I find the shape of the pillbox to be a bit bulbous, but I think the size needed to be larger to balance out the wide legs of the jumpsuit. Which are too wide and too long. But props to Sophie for wearing it since it’s allowed in the dress code now. This just wasn’t as successful as it could have been. The veiling is nice but I’d have liked a bit of another color somewhere, either in the veiling or with a bit of trim somewhere, even on the back of the hat.

  10. I don’t love the jumpsuit, but I love how the hat frames her face and how beautiful the colour looks against her skin and hair. I also applaud Sophie’s fashion confidence and I give her full props for an interesting and well-put-together look today. (I almost feel, with these sleeves and a wide open neckline, that she’s in a different season entirely than P Anne and HM, who are wearing full-on coats over their dresses!)

  11. I agree with HatQueen about the look above waist as opposed to from the waist down. From the waist up, it is lovely. The hat and veil with the open neck and almost 3/4 sleeves are well-suited – elegant and balanced. They would have paired nicely with a full, mid-calf skirt. However, from the waist down, it seems like a totally different outfit. The flowing jumpsuit legs are a much more (having a hard time finding a word here…) untethered? unconventional? look. I love her ease with trying something new but would have preferred a wide-legged jumpsuit that had a tailored top (perhaps sleeveless with a high neck) and a hat shaped like the one she wore on Monday, which was called a bergere but what comes to my mind is a flat-brimmed gondolier hat.

  12. My first thought she beat Queen Max to this overall look.. Perfect Colour. When she stands so the pants appear to be a long skirt the entire outfit is beyond perfect.
    The hats and outfits seem to be outstanding at Ascot this year.

  13. Love the hat and love the outfit in motion. Not loving the length of the trousers when she’s standing still and only mostly onboard with the amount of this colour on her. Around her face it really works, not so sure about the entirety. Sophie revels in Ascot, doesn’t she? And I, for one, applaud her efforts.

    • Thanks Jimbo! Did you happen to notice under “Ladies” & “Royal Enclosure” the hat worn in the photo is the same one Lady Gabriella Windsor wore today?
      I do like the rules for pantsuits needing to be the same color. ha ha

  14. what a bold choice – i wasnt sure at first view, so came back it, and i completely agree with you shanon. its not for everyone im sure, and perhaps not to be repeated, but certainly worth the risk.
    and ellie – yes, your comment re the veil over the face is noted, and would definitely have made the look more feminine and chic – as seen on lady gabriella today, and hmletizia in windsor on monday

  15. I could almost tolerate the pantsuit if the hems came up 1-2 inches-the way the legs drag on the ground looks very sloppy.

  16. What a great pillbox! I love the veil and the color is divine on the Countess of Wessex. I honestly don’t mind the wide leg pantsuit on her. I was surprised she chose it, but there’s new outfit rules at Ascot, and I’m so glad she has the confidence to go with something unexpected!

    • I agree with you Shanon! Lovely pillbox with veil, great color on the Countess (matches her blue eyes) and dynamite pantsuit.

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