Royal Ascot 2012

Posted on June 21, 2012

Darlings, before we get to the inevitable daily Emma Stone & Andrew Garfield post, let’s all turn our heads to look at fashion from another angle; an angle rooted in tradition, yet completely and utterly ridiculous. Those crazy Brits and their predilection for putting birds and toilet seats on their heads; how can you not love them?

Royal Ascot, darlings! Grab a cup of coffee (of a spot of tea, if you want to be theme-y about it) and enjoy.


If Americans had a tradition like this, half the hats would be cars, a quarter would have guns on them, another quarter would have paid advertising space on them, and 98% would have the stars and stripes. Perhaps it’s best to leave these traditions to the folks who know what to do with them.


[Photo Credit: Getty]

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  • miagain

    You have made my day!!  What a glorious parade…

  • All from the Dr. Seuss Pre-Spring Resort Line, from the looks of things.  Without being able to explain why, I find myself drawn to the crown with the purple feathers.  As a hat, it’s not best in show here, but she carries it off.

    • lovelyivy

       She is my absolute favorite, and I want her to come to the US and have a long, long talk with Cristina Hendricks on how to dress the girls.

    • Call me Bee

      Yes!  Love that as well.  It’s cute but not too OTT, and she is werqing it!  Love that she’s not a stick–a real woman with a great carriage. 

  • halleygee

    That black goose is disturbing! Fun post otherwise.

    • jabes

       I wonder if the black goose (swan?) woman ever ran into the flamingo woman.  They could hide behind a hedge so just the birds showed and do a puppet show!

  • I LOVE IT.

  • hac51

    I am seriously digging the Edwardian realness served up by the lady 8 or so photos down.  

    • Rokesmiths

      She’s my favourite too. Fierce. 

    • love that one too, but wish the topper were more traditional proportions rather than so oversized…

    • ChiliP

      I think Edwardian lady is also Peacock lady. If so, I want to have to with her and Black Cherries immediately.

      • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

        I know, right – that Edwardian/Peacock Lady looks like she’s really the head of MI-5.  I want to know her now.

    • formerlyAnon

       But I badly want to see (assuming we are discussing #8) her full length. Perhaps it is an illusion from sitting-down crinkles, but something seems to be going wrong with that ensemble at about the mid thigh. (That is, rather than a skirt, it looks like a thick panel.)

    • anotherEloise

      Not Edwardian, Regency!   A century earlier (think Jane Austen).   I too love this gal.  She needs to be riding a horse, sidesaddle.

      • hac51

         Heh, I was wondering if I had tagged the period accurately.  Thanks for the correction.

  • HIGH-larious.  Of course most of these are wildly unflattering to the women sporting them.  Fortunately, that isn’t the point.

    • twocee

      Yes, I laughed out loud at that one.

      •  Particularly with the leather jacket she has on.  hee hee.

        • Little_Olive

          I hadn’t noticed! Love it. Refreshing yet somehow less contrived than some others -considering, as TLo say, these people are naturals at it. 

          •  Her hat is witty, fun and even flattering to her, without the pyrotechnics of a lot of the other hats.

    • Her face is like “Tell me the truth, do I have something stuck in my head?”

      •  “Um, Honey, you have two huge chocolate cover cherries on your head,…”

  • M_E_S

     I hope I can be as awesome as the woman in the last picture when I’m her age.

  • My son sitting on my lap started screaming at the seventh hat from the bottom. “Spider! Spider! Squish it!”

    I’m quite amused.

    • GorgeousThings

      I had the same reaction!

    • lovelyivy

       I was thinking tentacle monster. Clearly I have been watching too much anime.

  • Does anyone else tsk when they see the more conventional hats? It’s the Royal Ascot! You gotta go all out and perch a flamingo on your head, at the very least.

    • Absolutely! And I also noticed that the lady with the giant paper violet and grey dress is not only wearing the same dress she wore last year but the SAME HAT in a different colour… now that’s just lazy, there are people wearing not one but TWO BIRDCAGES LADY.  

      • That’s because her husband told her that if she couldn’t remember what she wore last year, no one else would either.  Clearly, her husband didn’t know of the power of TLo!

    • Yes, but sometimes subdued works…the girl with the red dress and the red hat looks amazing, and didn’t go too crazy with it. I think I’d have to alternate the crazy and normal hat years.

  • Verascity

    The lady in the peacock hat is FLAWLESS.

    • That was my favorite as well.  I gasped when I saw it.  Of course I have thing for peacock feathers though…

  • The black cherries are my favorite. Everyone looks like they are having a great time!

    • LuisaNL

       mine too!

    • Absolutely – the black cherries hat was the best of the bunch!

      • haha, I see what you did there. But she is my favorite too: simplicity + awe-inspiring. 

        What I like about Ascot is that the hats–no matter how whackadoo– are in perfect contrast to the clothes. 

  • Reneesance

    Love it!  My favorite fashion event of the year by far.  I’m especially digging the lady in purple with the “Crown” hat, the Black Cherries topper and the Lady in Victorian-esque garb

  • moppet

    Those hats are insane, but I can’t help but notice how happy most the women look who are under those monstrosities. Clearly, they think they look great, which makes me smile. Hey, wear a gigantic cage on your head if it makes you happy, honey.

    • meowing

      Yes, a great time to forget your sanity pills for a few days and plop on a ton of crazy on your head.

    • jabes

       I think they actually do look great, not just that they think they do!  Is there anywhere else, perhaps outside of a halloween party, where most people would feel so comfortable taking their style to the extreme or maybe even letting out a secret personality with no fear of societal condemnation?

  • sherrietee

    I love the Ascot hats.  It’s pretty much the only place to get away with looking like you belong in a Dr. Suess book.

  • jacklaudia

    The hot pink with stripes is great commitment to the look…until you get to the nails. When I saw that, I felt like she went beyond committing to the look and more into “needs to be committed.”

    • moppet

      Oh, dear. I had missed that little detail.

    • pattyw

       The nails are a horror show. Especially the one that appears to be curving outward.

    • Funny you should say that!  She’s hat designer Tracy Rose, & you know the old saying, “mad as a hatter!” 

      • Was wondering who she is. Last year’s look was same color scheme but in stripes. Sadly her hands do not appear in the photo, so we cannot see if the nail polish is a new addition.

      • amf0001

        she clearly has nothing to do with making the hats herself.  It’s a wonder she can hold a pencil with nails like that.  Eww!!

    • YoungSally

      Saw that, too……she forgot that rule of getting dressed and then taking one accessory off…although in her case, I am guessing the nails would not be the choice.

    • Call me Bee

      Sad thing is–if her nails were just a normal length–they would have complimented the whole look rather than throw it into clown territory…

    • littlemac8

      Hmmm, chevron nails!  With those curvy nails I’m betting those are her own which is really scary!

  • Some of these hats look like very expensive hats made of very expensive materials…and some of them look like grade-school craft projects.

    • I’m putting the torch in the latter category…

  • Let’s forget about the hats for a moment… what’s up with the makeup? Eye makeup in particular. It’s daytime bitches and I understand you have something RuPaul Drag Race worthy on your head, it’s not an excuse to drag your face too…

  • WOW. Is it my imagination, or are these crazier than usual?

    Must be the Olympics.

  • Corsetmaker

    Of the more wearable hats I’m liking the red crin one and I love that cream semi-cloche with the red flower. 

    The girl with the cherry headpiece is pretty heavily tattooed and made the papers as one of the ones who got into the royal enclosure despite them tightening the dress code this year.

  • After all the colors, birds and feathers all I can think of is that the three ladies in red need white gloves. Go figure

  • awesome!

  • NurseEllen

    The peacock feathers are rocking my world this morning.

  • Judy_J

    The gal in the pink dress with the turquoise, black, white and hot pink colorblock has taken matchy-matchy to a whole new level.  Check out those fingernails!

  • I LOVE this tradition. One of my bucket list items is to go to an event where one of these is expected. But I hate the really costumey ones – they just scream “TAKE MY PICTURE!!!” to me, and that’s not awesome. (Note: by “costumey” I mean bird-cage lady and Union Jack bow lady, not super-classy Edwardian lady. I love her.)

  • Kthrow

    This are just brilliant!

  • susu11

    Has anyone ever seen Portlandia? For some reason most of these hats made me think of the “put a bird on it!” sketch lol. These hats are hilarious. That one woman with the diorama of the soccer pitch on her head and the other with a giant cheesy Olympic torch are killing me.

    But honestly I have to disagree with you guys, I think an American theme Ascot party would be AMAZING. (But then again I like guns and muscle cars) I can just imagine some real patriotic American woman with fireworks shooting out of her hat or a gigantic replica of Mount Rushmore balancing precariously on her head. Yay ‘Merica!

    • norseofcourse

      Put a bird on it indeed!

  • Scimommy


    And I do, I want to be theme-y about it! (or just use “theme-y” in a sentence)

  • Stealing a line from Regretsy, this is “whimsicle fuckery” at it’s finest. The way to make me smile with my breakfast, thanks T-Lo.

  • I love the flamingo above all else.

  • TheDivineMissAnn

    I love each and every one of them!  What fun!

  • LOVE the big cherries. And some of them can send their head-wears to Gaga. Fab!

  • xmixiex


  • GorgeousThings

    Love the swan and the flamingo! Nothing says horse racing like wearing a bird on your head.
    There was an interesting article in today’s Boston Globe about the dress code at Ascot.

  • meowing

    Peacock Lady for the win, but the last glorious diva for the Fabulosity at Any Age.

  • I love Amanda Holden’s hat!

  • twocee

    I seriously cannot wait for the Olympics Opening Ceremony.  The hats alone are going to be epic.

  • MilaXX

    I just love them all!

  • tbk2

    Love everyone of them.  Also, Flika, Ricka and Dicka go to Ascot!

  • amywinns

    So fun! I love the mix of awesome wearable millinery and whackadoodle epic headgear. Please add more if you see additional batches of photos later… I’d be more than happy to refresh this page a few times!!

  • Just noticed the woman in the gray dress and giant purple flowery hat is wearing the exact same dress as last year. Now I need to know who she is. This is a link from your Ascot part 1 post to her dress/hat.

  • M Carlson

    I’m glad to see the millinery business is going strong in Britain.

  • Lina_bee

    Delightful! ♥

  • siriuslover

    hahaha! The Olympic Torch! hahaha! There are some very pretty hats here, and I have to say I’ve always loved the British women’s use of hats. We’re missing that here in the States. But some of them (giant fly, bird cage, or tea party on the head) are truly hideous. 

  • My favorites are the cherries, and the one that looks like a black swan landed on that chick’s head.

    • I also love the picture of the lady wearing the one that’s like an abstract piano with Music written on it.  The framing of the shot, the color of her hair against the green in the background…it’s just a beautiful shot.

  • Little_Olive

    Though not a new theme, I am always fond of the ones with a tea party on top.

    But I would surely be the on with the Champaign. In fact I’m sending this to a friend that is clearly the glasses. 

  • fursa_saida

    That first picture is just incredible. It’s making everyone else look remarkably sane.

  • LOVE!

  • TheOriginalLulu

    Hah! Crazy Brits indeed!
    I think that second hat is kind of fabulous. Also loving the one with the long pink feathers and the cloche type one right before the pink flamingo.
    That lady in the last photo looks like a Dr. Seuss character.

  • Ann

    Man… talk about zero creativity. Look at this woman in 2011 and then in 2012…,  She couldn’t even find a new dress to wear.

  • quiltrx

    Given my collection of swans, I would TOTALLY take the opportunity to wear a swan on my head!  And probably a purple one…because once you have a swan on your head, you might as well go all the way, right?

    The lady in the Edwardian (it is, isn’t it?) outfit looks incredible.  Well done.  And the ‘red girls’ look like they’re having a fabulous time.

  • 3boysful

    Presumably one does not attend the Ascot to actually watch the races, because even if you had an unobstructed view from under your own chapeau, the headgear of others would preclude one seeing anything.

  • jmorino08

    And chiropractors across Britain rejoiced…

  • Baditude

    I love the GIANT Olympic torch one. It’s not all that beautiful, and doesn’t even look particularly well constructed, but I just love when people get into the spirit of things. 

  • MsKitty

    Olympic torch FTW

  • At first I thought it was a cigarette, then I realized it is the olympic torch.  Woot!

  • The lady in the grey dress with the big purple flower on her head (15 up from the bottom) is wearing the same outfit and hat as last year, except the flower was yellow.

  • Jessica Rowe

    I’m so homesick

  • The flamingo hat damn near killed me. I wish this tradition would spread across the Atlantic.

  • RedRaven617

    Fourth photo from the bottom looks like Cathy C to me. Does anyone else see that?

    • judybrowni


  • Violina23

    The comments here are almost as good as the photos! 🙂

  • Bill Curtis


  • I want the cherries!

    Technical question (as a non-hat wearer): Why do most, if almost all, of the fascinators tilt toward the right? 
    Something against lefties, huh??

    *going off to buy a leftward giant-cherry-concoction*

  • Le_Sigh

    I love this so very much!  What a great way to kick off the day.

  • Call me Bee

    God I’d love to go there someday.  Love the two cherries!  But all kidding aside, the fourth photo down–love that woman’s B&W dress and the hat…and woman #8 with the Edwardian getup on looks really familiar.  I love her outfit as well. 
    But my very fave is #19–Betty Draper-inspired dress with the white cloche-like hat and the big fushia and orange pom flower.  The cutest! 

  • Bridget Dierks

    I bet the two chicks both wearing birds were pissed.  Is that the Royal Ascot equivalent of wearing the same dress to a party?

  • formerlyAnon

    #8 Possibly best total ensemble, though I need to see her full length

    #12 (red-orange hat, heavily floral botanical print dress, red clutch) for wearing a hat that best “goes with” the dress without matching – though I don’t love the hat.

    #19 for flattering her face, though the flower on the hat is over-large and the whole ensemble a bit heavy, IMO.

    Violet feathers-trimmed crown for best nod to the Jubilee.

    Black cherries for most impact without excess.

    Next to last photo: Worst hair (was it windy? a lot of the hair is a wreck) but totally saved by the 2nd best smile and a thoroughly happy hat.

    Best smile and total package go to the last photo, though she’s got the fantastic good cheer shining through in her previous photo (giant pink chrysanthemum hat) as well.


  • Call me Bee

    Wow–how could you ever remember that?  Good catch.  And really–she looks great in that dress, and the flower is cute but not too wild–in either color! 

  • aimee_parrott

    Love it!  Nothing makes me happier than pictures of Ascot hats, unless it’s Miss Universe national costumes.  The peacock lady is gorgeous, but special props to the lady in the ginormous Olympic torch for maintaining her equilibrium while wearing that thing.  I bet the two ladies with the champagne & champagne flute hats would be a blast to watch the races with.

  • chelwi

    How do these women arrive? There’s no way they’re fitting those things in a car!

  • Shannon Maxham

    Some of these gals would Give Beach Blanket Babylon a run for their money!

  • Susan Crawford

    I definitely need that pink flamingo hat – I have pool parties to attend, yard sales to visit, neighbors to offend! And for formal occasions, I need the purple crown hat – one must not disappoint one’s minions!

    God, I love the Brits and their hat obsession and their willingness to embrace eccentricity. Thanks for this post Tom and Lorenzo – and stay cool at TLo Manse on this scorching day, OK?

  • Shannon Maxham

    I am waiting for the news report that someone was rushed to the hospital after standing too close to the woman sporting the ‘Olympic torch’ hat. “What did you say, dear?”  (turns head – WHACK!)

  • LuLusLemons

    Americans want to be queens for a day. Brits want to be drag queens for a day.

  • kimmeister

    So much fun, although I imagine the logistics can be troubling.  Obviously these cannot be worn in a car, they must be put on a seat of their own and then carefully attached to the head at the event.

  • Sarah Thomas

    Thank God they passed that ‘no fascinators’ ruling. They were really bringing down the class level.

  • NCDFan

    Some of these are so off center its hard to see how they can hold their heads up straight!  Fun, lovely, absurd.

  • Dhammadina

    So bizarre yet apt that with people who care so much about what is proper that they go crazy in this way –it goes to their heads.  

  • crash1212

    Fabulous. Pink Flamingo FTW! Also, most of the fashion was pretty kick-ass, too! Well done Brits.

  • understateddiva

     “The best thing you’ve ever done for me/ Is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all”

  • nancymae

    Is it wrong to covet the blueberry fascinator??

  • cheesebomb

    I would wear those cherries like nobody’s business.

  • Qitkat

    One of my favorite posts of the year.
    Now which one shall I choose to change my facebook profile picture?

  • HeatherMcIlrath

    “the higher the hat, the closer to god” as they said in victorian england…

    i have to say, though, that i have huge respect for the woman with champagne on her head. she’s going for patsy stone realness i suspect. 

  • guest2visits

        This is so much fun… they’re carrying little parties around on their heads!  I love it.                                                            

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Do you think the wearer of the black swan and the wearer of the flamingo ran into each other?  I take my virtual hat off to all of these ladies for having the nerve/panache to wear those hats-and to the insane milliners who created them!

  • afabulous50

    OK – very disappointed that you didn’t critique them all with a sentence or two.  I was so looking forward to that…

  • Lisa Kramp

    I want the white hat with the orange silk and gold masks and the peacock hat. These made my day. Thank you!

  • Kate4queen

    Love it! We had almost as much discussion about our hats and fascinators at the wedding I just went to in the UK as we did about our dresses. 🙂

  • I made the Tea Party hat!

  • EEKstl

    Fabulosity incarnate!

  • I freaking love this ish. Tea Party on my head!

  • AthenaJ

    After seeing this, as an American I feel so incredibly boring. Mother England, take us back!

    ***Edited to apologize to the nation’s founders – but c’mon guys, look at those HATS!!***

  • lamamu

    The ladies who attend the Kentucky Derby need to step up their game!

  • another_laura

    So much more fun than examining stylists’ choices for their starlets!  Thanks, guys.  With this and Hugh Jackman on the whiteboard, I’m a happy camper.  I expect to return to Bitter Kitten status soon……

  • EGB86

    Anyone else notice the lady in the gray sheath with the purple paper flower hat wore the same dress and same hat, only in yellow, in T&L’s 2011 Ascot roundup?

  • snarkykitten

    the fake birds are terrifying

  • TieDye64

    My faves are the chick with the black cherries, cracking me up, and the two older dames. The one in pink and the other in orange & pink. I want to be like them when I grow up. They look like they’re having the best time. The lady in the (Edwardian?) 8th pic down is seriously killing it.

  • Sally Brownson

    Anyone else notice that some of these ladies are wearing the same hats they wore last year? Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just interesting, as I don’t think that would ever happen in the US.

  • ChelseaNH

    I don’t have a lot of rules, but I have discovered a new one:  Never appear in public with a bird sitting on your head.

    • guest2visits

      Only if it’s last year’s bird.

  • Srw27

    The three girls in the matching dress & hats??  I can’t even deal.

    Also, that black goose seems to be shitting blonde hair lol

    • Corsetmaker

      The three girls are singers. They were performing. Hence the matching outfits.

  • SapphoPoet

    What fun! Thanks so much for posting this.

    God Save the Queen. 

  • L.O.V.E!!!!

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    God bless the British!  Attending Ascot and wearing a big ass hat is on my bucket list!  It looks like so much fun!

  • Jessi03

    I wish I were a British billionaire so I could go to Ascot and wear crazy things on my head in good company!

  • rainwood1

    I have to give it to the Olympic torch.  Timely, topical, and utterly ridiculous.

  • Aurumgirl

    I love them all.  Well, almost all.  I think the pink/navy/white chevron lady with the matching talons is poised to show up on the  Chav Hatters’ page of photos, too.

  • Aurumgirl

    Is the lady with the Union Jack Bow hat Conie Huq?  Does anyone know?

    • Amy Ellinger

      If Ms. Huq is Simon Cowell’s ex, then yes.  I haven’t heard referred to by name, but she is listed as his ex on several sites. 

      • Aurumgirl

        It’s not her (possible) ex I care about, it’s her current: Charlie Brooker. I have a very big crush on him. So I wanted to know if this is what Connie Huq looks like.

        • Amy Ellinger

          Ah, okay. I had no reference other than “simon’s ex wore a big union jack on her head.”  🙂

          Hey, you can use her hat to drag her away from your crush! 

    • Corsetmaker

      Nah, she is an ex of Cowells I think but it’s not Konnie Huq. She’s not unlike an older version of her though. Cowell has his type it seems.

  • This might sound funny considering two of these ladies have BIRDS on their heads, but I find the Union Jack bow a little on the tacky side.

  • LoveloveLOVE Royal Ascot time, when the Brits let down their hair and put something bizarre on their heads!  A lot of beautiful hats as well!  Lady in the fourth pic (white dress w/ black bow at waist) looks smashing and I love the pair of cherries perched on that gal’s noggin!  LMAO!

  • Amy Ellinger


  • TSkot

    Love the one right above the flamingo.  Duchess Kate should visit this gal’s milliner pronto!

  • Esz

    This event would be so fun to go to! So much wackiness and creativity! My only gripe would be – plain old straight hair under a fancy hat is a bit “meh” – the hair should always go *with* the hat too.

    • JillK

       That’s part of the reason I’ve always been afraid to buy a fancy hat.  I wouldn’t know what to do with my hair!

  • Love how happy all these ladies look!  I’m pretty sure some of these bespoke hats cost more than some pieces of my furniture did.  And it could be lethal to sit on some of these hats by accident…

    Did you notice the lady in the pink dress with the multicolor stripes across her midriff?  Her talons are polished to match her dress and hat.  GAH!!!!!

  • Geoff Dankert

    How disappointing that Beatrice and Eugenie couldn’t make it. Once again, my favorite “new” term enters the lexicon: “substantial fascinator.”

  • The very first one made me laugh out loud! Some of them are rather pretty (if a bit over the top), and quite a few are totally cracktastic. 

    ETA: OMG I just realized that the woman in the pink dress with the black, blue, white and pink striped detail (and matching hat) has FINGERNAILS TO MATCH TOO. OMG, I just can’t.

    • Ksagun13

      And the fingernails are about three inches long!  Ew.

  • Chaiaiai

    Glad to be reassured that money can’t buy taste.  It can, apparently, buy relentless teeth whitening, however.

  • jessicasac

    Kentucky Derby?! Anyway, I bet Phillip Treacy was working overtime for this!

  • Liverpoolgirl

    God Almighty…….

  • LilyPad

    The booze hats! I need them.

  • I absolutely love the one with the piano keyboard on it.

  • guest2visits

            *^*^*^*^*           …… just feelin’ it.

  • HobbitGirl

    Love love love

  • Amy T.

    Amazing.  I love all of it.

  • I want to marry the redhead with the piano on her head *-*

  • Tammy_4

    Fabulous!  Love the lady with the bustle.  Let’s bring this look back.  Us big-assed gals are halfway there already!

  • Beardslee

    so much fun.  thank you!

  • Louise Bryan

    The only bird one I really like is the peacock feathers, which isn’t really done up as a bird, but I think it’s stunning.

  • We can’t help it, being a bit mad is in our DNA, I vaguely recognised some D-list slebs in that list.

  • VintageBias

    No need to travel across The Pond to partake in millinery fun, just come up to Saratoga in August:

  • golspie

    There are people who get into the Royal Enclosure and there are people who don’t. You could go through this montage and guess precisely those who did and those who didn’t.

  • OneTwoThreeFashion

    Actually there’s two or three looks that i like!

  • Neverbuynewclothes

    What beautiful and natural women all!  As distinct from the gorgeous-fierce fakery that is the current runway model image, or the Botox-and-antidepressants countenances of the red carpet celebrity.

  • Dear Royal Ascot, please never change. I’m really glad they’ve decided to get tough on dress code, though. The last few years women have been wearing some really cheap, tarty looking clothes, and this is an even the Queen goes to! Let’s keep it decent for Lizzie, people.