Royal Ascot | Talking Hats with Vivien Sheriff and Katherine Elizabeth

The world’s most prestigious equestrian event where the style stakes are as high as the prize money, Royal Ascot is as famous for its dress code as it is for its racing. In celebration of the annual meet which begins today, Walpole has discussed sartorial standards and etiquette with several of our members, with our first focus for the week on headwear.

“Hats should be worn; however a headpiece which has a solid base of four inches or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted.”

This decree, taken from the Royal Ascot 2018 Style Guide, may flummox even ardent headwear enthusiasts, so just how do you ensure your crown is properly attired? We talked hats with luxury milliners Vivien Sheriff and Katherine Elizabeth, who gave their top tips on getting ahead at Royal Ascot.

Vivien Sheriff, founder of her eponymous multi-award winning luxury headwear brand:

“What Royal Ascot are doing around fashion is really impressive. The high-quality curated content in the fashion guide (and the manner in which they communicate it), really helps to set Royal Ascot apart, giving them a real point of difference. The style guide and rules on headwear has seen people take a much more consciousness approach when choosing their Ascot hat, which is fantastic as far as we’re concerned.

“Our ‘Zulu’ headpiece was selected for the Royal Ascot Style Guide 2018, which was a great honour. The Zulu is a classic Ascot piece in many ways, the bright feather trim has an unbridled sense of drama. The beret shape, which acts as the foundation for the Zulu, has certainly proven to be highly popular this year. It looks particularly smart when paired with a fitted structured trouser suit.

“We have also found that some private customers are also looking to dress down a bit, with something more understated and chic, like a floppy straw hat.”

Award-winning milliner Katherine Elizabeth gives her view:

“I love to dress up and this year is all about being a little bit wild, so why not be bold and buy yourself a colourful dress and a fancy hat to match? This year, we are seeing uplifting, joyous fashion featuring rainbow colours – tomato red is very in and so is a splash of orange. Cobalt, emerald green and bright yellow are also still big. Don’t be afraid to wear bold, bright colours. They look great in the sun and will enhance the colour of your eyes, skin and hair for maximum impact.

“I have created lots of bright-coloured hats this season, mixing cobalt blue with canary yellow and red with orange or a splash of emerald green and red. Hats that are trendy have a hint of nature with leaves, flowers and organic material. Remember when choosing a hat that it should never be wider than your shoulders or it will make you look shorter. Hats should always give you height and it’s a good idea to wear your hat on a slant, rather than flat on your head.

“If bold and bright is not your thing, there are plenty of alternatives. Pastel colours and  sugared-almond shades are also popular, with soft pinks and lilacs sprinkled around. This is the time of year to wear florals, lace and pretty pinks, and a lot of clients are going for these pinkie tones as well as powder blue with a hint of silver sparkle. Whatever you choose, just go for it and have fun.”

And finally: Fitzdares’ top racing tip for Tuesday?

“Benbatl is fancied to get the meeting off to a flyer for Godolphin in the Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm). He has been kept fresh for today and possesses the speed for this sharper test.”

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