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by Penelope Miller, ABR

American Thoroughbred racing certainly enjoys its high-fashion moments. There are the massive hats showcased at the Kentucky Derby, a variety of outfits planned around the colors of the Maryland State flag for the Preakness, the New York glamour of the Belmont, the California chic of the Del Mar and Santa Anita meets, and the collegiate preppy style at Keeneland.

But it’s our neighbors across the pond who really bring their A-game, sartorially speaking, to Thoroughbred racing. At the Royal Ascot meeting, fashion entails everything from restrained royal style to over-the-top confections topped by some seriously wacky ventures into millinery. As Royal Ascot continues throughout the week, I’ll be adding more fashion photos as they come in, so be sure to check back often to witness the good, the bad and the downright befuddling!

All images courtesy of HorsePhotos.com

Oh, you daffy Brits. This woman looks like she’s having the most fun of anyone I’ve seen in ages. More inflatable accessories for everyone! Bonus points for the Olympic torch, although I shudder to think what would happen to this lady if she were actually near an open flame. Penelope Miller 1

There’s a joke in here about getting a stamp of approval, I just know it. Penelope Miller 2

OK, this is commitment to a theme! Although the woman on the left certainly gets points for her nod to the Euro Cup, it’s Miss London Games 2012 on the right who gets my vote. I do wonder how on Earth she gets through doorways with that sequined torch taking up so much real estate up there. Penelope Miller 3

This hat reminds me of those wretched Valentine’s Day candies. Conversation Hearts I think they’re called? The ones that taste like chalk and say weird things like “Be Mine” and “E-mail Me.” C’mon, people. Don’t give those out on Valentine’s Day. Give chocolate. 

Penelope Miller 4

I mean, this is adorable. A Labrador in a tiny hat about to kiss the wee baby (who is similarly in a tiny hat!) Squee! This should get you through your Friday just fine.

Penelope Miller 5

Sigh. Princess Haya (here with husband HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai) is so pretty. Great hat, and extra points for matching her outfit to the Union Jack owner’s badge she’s wearing. Kudos. I will never be that together.

Penelope Miller update

OK, I’ll say it. It looks as though this photo was taken at the moment a huge lemon meringue pie hit this lady right in the forehead. Perhaps not the look she was going for; but, hey, pie.

Penelope Miller update 2

Who better than Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to show us mere commoners how it’s done? I’m loving that QE II has mastered matching one’s sapphire pin to one’s hat and suit. Betsy, will you be my grandma?

Miller: Ascot 1

Prince Charles and Camilla are dignified and restrained. She always seems to favor neutrals, no?

Miller: Ascot 2

 Matching retro ‘40s-inspired ensembles? Count me in.

Miller: Ascot 3

Now we’re cooking with gas. Please note the vinyl record theme that the gal on the right is rocking. (Get it? Puns!) Amazing. I wonder how many times she plans to re-use these accessories? Also, how sore are their necks at the end of the day from holding up those hats? I have so many questions. 

Miller: Ascot 4

 

Swinging to the other end of the style spectrum, this lady looks effortlessly chic and I love the contrast of the pink and chartreuse on her hat. Very appropriate for a summer day at the track. Well played.

Miller: Ascot 5

 Love this crowd shot. Why won’t guys wear morning suits to American races? Can Saratoga mandate them for Travers Day? How about the Breeders’ Cup? I will gladly purchase and wear a whackadoo hat to the races if the guys out there would walk around in morning suits. So old-school. Tophats!

Miller: Ascot 6

Image Description

Penelope Miller

I'm Penelope Miller and I'm the Senior Manager of Digital Media for America's Best Racing. I've been involved with the Thoroughbred industry for most of my life and I want to make sure that the great sport of horse racing is enjoyed by people all over the nation. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me in the comments section below!

Image Description

Penelope Miller

I'm Penelope Miller and I'm the Senior Manager of Digital Media for America's Best Racing. I've been involved with the Thoroughbred industry for most of my life and I want to make sure that the great sport of horse racing is enjoyed by people all over the nation. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me in the comments section below!

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