Countess of Wessex’s Order Of The Garter Hats

With the annual Order of The Garter service cancelled today at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, let’s take this opportunity to look back at all the hats the Countess of Wessex has worn to this event in the past:

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Cream straw angular shaped Philip Treacy hats with feather trim in 2002 and 2006

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Wide blue saucer with bow in 2008 and lime straw percher with roses and burnt feathers in 2009, both by Philip Treacy

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White vertical straw saucer with black feathers in 2010 and repeated lime percher in 2011, both by Philip Treacy

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Tawny pink straw saucer with rose in 2012 and navy & silver waved disc with feathers in 2013, both by Jane Taylor

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Lace percher with palest pink rose & feathers in 2014; Black felt percher with silk abaca bow in 2015, both by Jane Taylor

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Black windowpane straw percher saucer with black feathers by Jane Taylor in 2016 

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Almond straw mushroom brimmed hat with ecru and black curling feathers in 2018; Natural woven straw saucer with coral feathers and tan organdie twists in 2019, both by Jane Taylor

Retrospectives such as this remind me that the Countess’ wonderful collaboration with British milliner Jane Taylor has been happening for less than a decade. While I appreciate the bold hat shapes and styles Sophie sported through the early 2000s for their bravery, I think she’s hit her stride in Jane Taylor’s designs.

What do you notice about Sophie’s hats at this event over the past 21 years?

Photos by Getty as indicated

10 thoughts on “Countess of Wessex’s Order Of The Garter Hats

  1. Some textbook examples of how neutrals don’t have to be boring. I’m especially appreciating the 2013 navy and silver waved disc. Wish we had a better view of the 2016, which looks like such a good shape and scale. And the oft-repeated 2019 saucer still looks good.

  2. I agree Sophie seems more relaxed and natural in Jane Taylor (although the 2000s saw a lot of severe hat shapes and outfits on more people than just Sophie). And even though Jane Taylor generally suits her better, IMO I find some of Taylor’s trimmings to be overdone/look messy (less so in this group, but on other occasions yes).

    From the Treacy hats here, I love 2010’s whole streamlined look, and really like the lime percher of 2009/2011 (although I don’t care for its outfit pairings). 2019’s repeat is some of Sophie’s best, although I do find the base of the hat slightly awkward at certain angles (minor complaint though). In the end though, 2015 beautiful green and black look is my favorite of this group, and certainly one of my all-time favorites for Sophie because it was unexpected and a fantastically bold look for someone who favors neutrals and softer color schemes.

    • Good points… there were lots of angular, exaggerated shapes in millinery in general in the early 2000s. I wonder if Sophie seeming so well suited to Jane Taylor designs is as much a gift of good timing, as their collaboration began at a time when millinery fashion was moving to softer, often smaller scale shapes.

      • Sophie made her switch to Jane Taylor in 2011-2012, after wearing a handful of Rachel Trevor Morgan designs in 2010. Thinking more about timing… by 2010, the Duchess of Cornwall had been in the family for 5 years and most of her millinery wardrobe came from Philip Treacy. While her hat style is different than Sophie’s, it’s very distinctive and VERY Philip Treacy! The same kinds of trims on his larger hats are almost always also seen on his smaller hats and I wonder, if part Sophie making a millinery switch was to set herself apart, in a good way? Whatever the reasons, Sophie’s overall look noticeably changed ~2011 and it seems natural that a millinery style reboot would be part of this.

        • Yes, I agree the switch was perhaps as a way to help set Sophie apart in her style, but this also couldn’t have happened without the arrival of many new milliners around 2010. In the early and mid-2000s, Treacy was heavily favored by Camilla, Sophie, Beatrice, Eugenie, Zara, Gabriella, and Marie-Christine, while RTM was becoming established with HM and Princess Alexandra, and John Boyd was known for his hats on Anne, Diana, and Marie-Christine. Many of the milliners we know and love now have only established themselves more recently (i.e. Jane Taylor in 2008), so I think this allowed the royals to have more options for collaboration (like Zara and Rosie Olivia for many years, or Juliette Botterill with Zara and the York Princesses more recently). It’s crazy to think some of these earlier hats are 15-20 years old now! (which in turn makes me feel old haha) While Treacy certainly helped with a revival of hats, I’m glad there are so many milliners to choose from today.

          • You’ve got to also wonder the influence during this time of both social media and stylists, two things that increasingly enabled young milliners to get their work more widely seen. Royal Hats is an example- there are several milliners whose work we’ve admired here before we’ve seen any of their designs on a royal head. So interesting!

  3. Sophie has delicate features, so I think sometimes the Treacy hats overwhelmed her (with the exception of the lime disc, that is lovely on her). I’ll echo James B’s sentiments about her style evolution. She and Jane Taylor are a good match!

  4. Sigh….today my Ascot 2020 group would have been at the Order of the Garter. But there is always next year! Gives us more time to get ready.
    I find Sophie the most underrated of the Royals. I always love her look. Classic and polished. My favorite is the white Philip Treacy from 2010. Stunning.

  5. You’re bang on the money. Those bold Treacy shapes are indeed quite something. Perhaps they’ve not aged well, or perhaps Sophie just suits slightly more delicate hats with more of a whimsical edge and less exaggerated shapes. (That said, I adore that 2008 saucer; it’s stunning).

    But it’s not just the hats. About a decade ago, her whole look changed. She embraced 1950s shapes (that green dress is swoon worthy!) and Jane Taylor’s hats. She underwent a style revolution, and most often she just looks fabulous these days. Already missing what she would pull out of the bag this week!

    • I agree- the very angular Philip Treacy shapes of the early 2000s were certainly cutting edge but I’m not sure they’ve aged well, either (his shapes are much softer these days!). Although, that blue 2008 saucer is an absolute stunner and I’d love to see her wear it again.

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