Heading to Royal Ascot this year but yet to find a hat? Don’t panic, there is time — perhaps not for your dream creation to be handcrafted — but hat companies are still available for hiring and purchasing that all-important headpiece.

Royal Ascot (16-20 June 2015), is Britain’s most valuable race meeting and sees top-class horses from across the world take to the Flat turf — but throughout its history it has also been synonymous with fashion and elegance.

For most equestrians, it is an opportunity to ditch the horsey attire and don a posh frock (or a top hat for the stallions). For the ladies a hat can add personality to an outfit, but what are the secrets to getting it right?


The Royal meeting famously has strict dress codes to adhere to, particularly if you are visiting the Royal enclosure where hats should be worn. However, a headpiece that has a base of four inches (10cm) or more in diameter is accepted as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not allowed in the Royal enclosure nor are headpieces that do not have a base covering.

In the grandstand enclosure a hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times. You can download Royal Ascot’s style guide at: www.ascot.co.uk


Unless you are fortunate to have access to a personal stylist, choosing an exquisite hat can be a mammoth decision.

We asked Buckinghamshire-based milliner Emma-Louise Kingham top 10 tips for choosing the best hat style include:

  1. If you’re petite — a delicate feather fascinator or a smaller sized headpiece tilted to one side, that isn’t wider than your shoulders, will work well.
  2. If you have a round face — a headpiece such as a beret that sits at a slant with a design, such as long feather quills or flowers, will add height, elongating your face.
  3. Tall women can wear larger brimmed hats.
  4. Ladies with a heart or oval-shaped face are lucky enough to be able to wear almost any shaped hat.
  5. Modern disc-style hats are becoming more popular and are made on hairbands that can easily be disguised in your hair — by having hair-coloured silk wrapped around the band.
  6. It is personal choice which side to wear the hat, but I suggest wearing it on the side where your hair parts — with the fullest side of your hair on show.
  7. When it comes to colour — bright is most definitely best for Royal Ascot. If you want to be the centre of attention, bright against blocks of darker tones will definitely turn heads
  8. We are also seeing soft, floral designs in blush tones so pastels against white will be big this season too.
  9. Botanical leafy patterns and flower prints are everywhere this season and are suited well to outdoor occasions.
  10. Don’t go overboard with accessories — a statement necklace with a detailed headpiece will look too fussy so opt for one or the other.