Fabulous Hats of the Royal Ascot Races


ascot-hatHere is a video showcasing some of the fabulous hats and fascinators seen at the Royal Ascot Races in England. Enjoy!

Hats of Ascot video

The Royal Ascot Races begin today, June 20, 2017 through June 24th and attracts the finest racehorses from around the world. But some people think the real spectacle is the fashion — the fabulous hats and outfits worn by the spectators.

Ascot Even Has a Dress Code for Hats

The Ascot races website lists a Dress Code for what to wear in the Royal Enclosure, the Queen Anne and Village Enclosures, and the Windsor Enclosure. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Royal Enclosure, the dress code cites that “Hats should be worn; however, a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10 cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a solid base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches/10 cm).”

Miss Meredith Sweetpea wishes she could be there to witness the delightful garden of hats herself. Send us pictures of yourself attending Ascot in your hat!

Why Should I Wear a Fascinator on the Right?


Camilla-fascinator-on-right

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears a fascinator.

A number of kind readers have been asking Miss Meredith Sweetpea lately why a fascinator is traditionally worn on the right-hand side of the head.

The custom runs far back into history to when women were generally accompanied by men when they walked down the street. Women of any stature would rarely have occasion to walk alone; she was escorted by her husband, or if single, her father or brother. And of course, both men and women always wore a hat whenever outdoors.

Wearing the Fascinator on the Right Made Perfect Sense

Men traditionally carried their weapon, such as a sword, on their left-hand side, so it made sense that when walking with a woman (when armed), she walk on his right-hand side. Even when men no longer carried swords, the tradition of putting the women on a man’s right continued.

Catherine-Duchess-of-Cambridge-wears-fascinator-on-right

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears her fascinator on the right.

Another reason to put the women on a man’s right was to position the man between the woman and the street to help protect her fine skirts from becoming splashed by passing carriages or horses traversing the often-muddy roadways.

Therefore, in order to have conversation when walking down the street, a women would tilt her hat to the right to offer a better view of her face to her companion. This also prettily framed her face perfectly for flirting, which only added to her fascination. The pert angle of the hat took on the name “fascinator.”

Today’s milliners often design a fascinator to sit on the right-hand side, in keeping with tradition. But many fascinators are made to suit either side of the face, or to be worn in the center of the head at a slightly forward angle toward. Some people even prefer to wear their fascinator to cover the part in their hair, believing it more attractive worn that way.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about which side is the correct side to wear a fascinator. It is simply up to you to choose.

Woman are Always Right

The tradition of having the women walk on the inside of the man on the street carries on today with polite men and women. Remember the catchphrase, “Women are always right” and it will be easy to remember.

Read More About Fascinators

For more information about fascinators, read our other posts:

Find Your Perfect Fascinator

  • Do you have a fascinator? Browse over a thousand darling Fascinators! You might just find one that’s perfect for your look.

 

What’s the Big Deal About Wearing Sweatpants?


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Actress Kate Walsh — sloppy or chic?

Miss Meredith Sweetpea grew up with a Southern grandmother who required certain standards for a lady. We were to smile prettily, be dainty, and look our best at all times. Why, she wouldn’t think of going to the grocery store without first applying lipstick. And remember the television show “Father Knows Best?” The mother always wore a dress–and pearls–even around the house. I know, it’s a glorified image of life in the 1950s, but why not uphold a standard?

When did we transition from looking our best to looking our worst? And when did it become okay? Continue reading

Which Comes First–the Dress or the Hat?


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Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie Cheri.

The hat or the dress…which do you choose first when selecting your outfit? Surrounding the Kentucky Derby and other high-end horse races where memorable hats are the vogue, it is a question Miss Meredith Sweetpea has been asked more than once.

Fortunately, either way is perfectly acceptable.

Some people believe you should choose your outfit first then select a hat to go with the outfit. ((The argument here is that it’s easier to custom design a hat than to “make” an outfit to go with a hat!)

Others believe you must buy, create or design your hat before picking out your outfit.

Miss Meredith thinks that one can take inspiration from the other. If you see a fabulous hat that you just can’t live without, buy it first and design your outfit to complement it. On the other hand, Continue reading

Off to the Races–with Fascinators


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Fascinators made news at the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

America’s Kentucky Derby is not just a horse race, it is an occasion to sport a new hat. Visit the Kentucky Derby website and you will even find a Hat Parade section entirely devoted to hats.

This year, Miss Meredith Sweetpea noted a number of fascinators amidst the colorful sea of hats. According to the website, “Hats at the Kentucky Derby have become even more popular after the royal wedding in 2011, an event that showcased many elaborate hats and fascinators.”

The hat-wearing tradition was established from Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.’s vision for the Derby “as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing event, which mandated full morning dress for men and women.” At the first Derby, he recruited targeted clientele to attend the race and the Derby quickly became known as a fashion event as much as a horse race. It became the place to show off the latest spring fashions–and hats.

Browse a selection of race day fascinators here.

hat-at-Kentucky-Derby“The extravagant hats that have become associated with the Kentucky Derby did not really come about until the 1960s Continue reading

To Button or Not to Button a Men’s Jacket


Poised-for-Success-Jacqueline-Whitmore-book-imageMiss Meredith Sweetpea was at a fancy dinner and noticed a disparity amongst the men at her table. Some men buttoned their jacket when they stood, and some did not.

To answer the question, “which is correct,” I referred to leading etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore’s book, Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities that Distinguish Outstanding Professionals. In it, she writes:

“In my Dress for Success seminars, men often ask if they should button up their jackets whenever they stand up, and the answer is “yes.” The jacket should button comfortably without pulling in front (which, unfortunately, can make a stout man appear as if he’s wearing a sausage casing), but when the jacket is a good fit, the look adds polish and panache. Regardless of whether you’re wearing a two- or three-button suit, remember to leave the bottom button unbuttoned.”

Thank you, Jacqueline, for your buttoned-up advice!

Choosing the Right Fascinator for your Face Shape and Hair Color | Gracious Living


Vanessa Minnillo Lachey wears a fascinator that’s just right.

Matching your outfit is not the only way to select a fascinator. You might want to think about suiting your face shape or your hair color as well. Here are a few tips on which fascinator style might suit you best.

Meredith Sweetpea loves to wears hats and is so glad that hats and fascinators are becoming even more popular. Ever since the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, fascinator sales have risen 50% in the U.S.

Fascinators and Face Shape

Round Faces and Fascinators

If your face is round, try an asymmetrical-style fascinator, or angle your fascinator strongly on your head. You might look best in feathers that offer an asymmetrical feature. You also look good in styles in which the ornamentation is wider than the brim. You can wear larger styles, but attempt to avoid small fascinators.

Square Faces and Fascinators

A square face can often look masculine. Soften your femininity with feathers or veils, an abstract shape, angles, layers, or height. Your fascinator is best worn to the side.

Oval Faces and Fascinators

If your face is oval Continue reading

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