I have a few hats, from attending many British summer weddings and the Sovereign’s Parade at Sandhurst. I also have a lovely hairpiece from my (ahem, our) wedding, but it did not meet the 4-inch hat base criteria. What is a girl to do? Then, my fairy godmother appeared! Lady Wimbledon, my favourite hat aficionado, offered to introduce me to her favourite milliner, Edwina Ibbotson, who is one of only eight designers in the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective this year.
This incredible woman designed and made hats worn by Pippa Middleton for both of the recent royal christenings – but from the moment I walked through the door, I was put at ease. I had four dresses and eight pairs of shoes with me, and I was rambling to Edwina that I wasn’t very creative or stylish, and was in fact an accountant. Her team took me into their capable hands and guided me on colour, style, practicality and what suited me. I left around an hour later with not only a hat, but also a complete outfit in which I had confidence. I was also intructed to buy a clear umbrella – well if you are going to wear something as amazing as an Edwina Ibbotson hat, you need to make sure it is seen, even if it is raining!
So, as the Queen waved to me, I waved back with confidence. I felt incredible wearing a beautiful hand-crafted couture hat, and I had no idea how a hat could make me feel. Is this what Lady Wimbledon feels like every day?
With Wimbledon coming up next week, I am now wondering if I should wear a hat. The dress code is much less stringent – of course keep your clothes on, to avoid any public order offences! But fashion statements are certainly made, and the crowd is, I think, a little cooler.
And one final tip. It is not necessary to match your outfit to the winner…
Written by Victoria Bell