They’re awkward to kiss hello in, there’s a high chance of ending up with a glaring red/sweaty forehead, and at some point during the day you’ll have small heart attack as you make a dash back to the loo where you left it.

So if you’re going to put yourself through the trial of wearing a hat to go racing this summer, we say make it a goody…

Here’s Horse & Hound‘s pick of hats for Royal Ascot 2017: from under-£100 to those with price tags that will make you weep (there’s no harm in dreaming…)

Merve Bayindir

This masterpiece will get the crowds talking — and not in a ‘Ladies Day gallery of shame in the tabloids’ kind of way. Headed up by Merve Bayindir herself, the company originated in Turkey but is now based in London, describing the women who wear the brand as “chic and self-confident”.
Visit: mervebayindir.com
Price: enquire for price

Lock & Co

Lock & Co might be one of the world’s oldest hat shops, and one of the oldest family businesses still in existence in the UK — but it’s in no way stuck in the dark ages when it comes to innovative designs for women’s headwear.
Visit: lockhatters.co.uk
Price: £1,650

John Lewis


No one will guess your hat comes from John Lewis, with gems like this ‘Tiff Orchid’ hat from Rebecca Couture on offer.
Visit: johnlewis.com
Price: £350

Coast


Looking the part doesn’t mean emptying your bank account (before you get to the bookies). Get your hands on this pillbox design from high street shop Coast before it’s too late.
Visit: coast-stores.com
Price: £79

Jane Taylor

The Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear a Jane Taylor design for her sister Pippa Middleton’s wedding last weekend (20 May) — and you can see why. Our current favourite is this hand-painted straw cocktail hat, complete with hand-painted feathers and a rose detail.
Visit: janetaylorlondon.com
Price: £1,138

Rosie Olivia Millinery

After studying millinery at Central St Martins in London, Rosie interned with iconic British hat designers Philip Treacy, Victoria Grant and Stephen Jones. And the result? Sleek designs like this Ivory straw hat, trimmed with a matching straw flower and single ivory pearl.
Visit: rosieoliviamillinery.com
Price: £438

Bundle Maclaren Millinery

Bundle Maclaren’s designs are all handmade in a Fulham studio in central London — including this striking navy silk-covered ‘percher’, adorned with navy veiling at the front and back, and finished with neon green feathers.
Visit: bundlemaclaren.co.uk
Price: £235

Camilla Rose


This eye-catching royal blue textured fabric headpiece with a fun silver mesh detail, from south-west London-based Camilla Rose, handily meets the Royal Enclosure size requirements for Ascot. Maybe kissing people hello won’t be such a problem after all?
Visit: camillarose.co.uk
Price: £315

Iona Montgomery

“Sculptural femininity, Parisian sophistication” is at the heart of Iona Montgomery’s designs — and we’ve fallen in love with this show-stopper, clad with gold silk ivy and crystals.
Visit: ionamontgomery.co.uk
Price: £355

Laura Cathcart


Racegoers will struggle to keep their eye on the horses with this butterfly creation in the mix from Laura Cathcart, made in her workshop in a converted coach house in Shropshire (which she shares with two pugs).
Visit: lauracathcart.com
Price: £645

Philip Treacy


Philip Treacy might be one of the world’s most in demand hat designers — but that doesn’t stop us dreaming…
Visit: philiptreacy.co.uk
Price: enquire for price