Racing frills
Thursday, 07 June 2012

Racing frills

You need a hat to join in the fun at Royal Ascot, so here’s our pick of the season’s best.

Written by Katy Pearson

The glorious mix of hats and horses that makes up the Royal meeting at Ascot each summer is a well-established part of the social calendar.

Indeed, it’s been going on for 300 years, ever since Queen Anne saw the potential for a racecourse on this area of open heath not far from Windsor Castle, in 1711.

This year, new sartorial rules have made hats compulsory in the Grandstand and Royal Enclosures (and remember, if you’re attempting egress to the holy of holies, the Royal Enclosure, your headwear must have a base of at least 4in or 10cm across), so choose your millinery accessories with care…

Hats pictured top, clockwise from left: 

Kitty, £88, Bundle MacLaren:

Silk ombre flower on a band, £30, Accessorize: 0844-811 0068,

Blue feather headpiece, £65, Deanna DiBene: 01509-632641,

Best hats 

Above, clockwise from top left:

Monochrome fascinator, £18, M&Co: 0800-031 7200,

Monique flower trim, £99, Jacques Vert at House of Fraser: 0845-602 1073,

Blue fascinator, £85, Isme: 0844-811 8112,

Debut navy Jacqueline saucer headdress, £45, Debenhams: 0844-561 6161,

Dream, £320, Borsalino at

Best hats


Above, clockwise from top left:

Praline and cream Alannah fascinator, £69, Phase Eight at Debenhams: 0844-561 6161,

Creamflower fascinator, £30, Accessorize: 0844-811 0068,

Georgia fascinator, £30, Phase Eight: 020-7471 4422,

Le Melon, £290, Jill Courtemanche Millinery at

Best hats

Above, clockwise from top left:

Emily, £109 (for two-night hire), Bundle MacLaren:

Rossellini, £595, Judy Bentinck at

Mara, £650, Gabriela Ligenza at

Vintage rose cap, £29.50, Marks & Spencer:

Linea oversize plain hat, £95, House of Fraser: 0845-602 1073,

Best hats

Above, clockwise from top left:

Pillbox leaf hat, £35, Catarzi at Asos:

Kate, £295, Yvette Jelfs at

Mariella, £119, Hobbs London: 0845-313 3130,

Waterloo, £395, Vivien Sheriff at John Lewis Stratford: 020-8532 3500,

Best hats


Above, clockwise from top left:

Hobbs Maisy hat, £119, House of Fraser: 0845-602 1073,

Lime green trilby-style hat, £190, Holly’s Hats:

Yoyo, £306, Marie Mercié at

Dita fascinator, £69, Phase Eight: 020-7471 4422,

Best hats

Above, clockwise from top left:

Leah, £49 (for two-night hire), Bundle MacLaren:

Cerise pink saucer with black and pink floral feather detail, £225, Holly’s Hats:

Antonia, £225, Marie Mercié:

Waterloo, £395, Vivien Sheriff at John Lewis Stratford: 020-8532 3500,

Free hat! 

Above: Lady Silvia, £295, Yvette Jelfs at For your chance to win this hat click here.


Here are some tips from Vivien Sheriff, who has designed hats for the Duchess of Cambridge, and more than 50 of the guests wore her designs to the Royal Wedding

Avoid colour clashing. Whether you choose a hat in an accent colour or a matching shade, make sure it works with your whole ensemble.

Your hat should flatter your face and your silhouette, so if it doesn’t work, try another shape.

Be daring and try on shapes outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be amazed at what you can carry off.

When a hat is too big or too small, it’s as uncomfortable as an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Make sure the band inside the crown fits your head shape. And if you wear glasses, check they fit well under the brim.

Wear your hat proudly on the top, never the back, of your head. For a more sophisticated look, angle it with a slight dip over your right eyebrow.

For more help with hats, book a complimentary Hat Academy appointment at Peter Jones by calling 020-7730 3434.

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