I sold my first hat for the Melbourne Cup yesterday which got me thinking about race day fashion in general. Here in Japan horse racing is regarded as the poor man's sport and so big fancy days like Ascot just don't happen...booooo. The general rules of race fashion are pretty much the same as those for wedding attire with the exception of the royal enclosure at Ascot which has some pretty funny rules:
Royal Enclosure Dress CodeHer Majesty’s Representative wishes to point out that only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable. Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.
Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat. A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.
As a milliner I love the inclusion of the word substantial for fascinators, a pretty flower in your hair just aint gonna cut it girls!
The video above is from Debenhams, everyone's favorite place to waste an hour trying on all the hats while being scowled at by shop staff and security guards alike, filmed at York Racecourse this year. Weirdly I don't think many of the hats are actually from Debenhams as they seem a little too funky and avant garde.
The series, Fashion on the field, will be at lots of other race events through 2012 so you can keep up with all the latest hat fashions on show.