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So, this year, rather than buy tickets with the plebs ( :-p ) for Ascot (as I did last year) I was invited by a friend’s family to go to the Royal Enclosure with them. Obviously I enjoyed the opportunity to posh it up but the thing I didn’t realise is that the Royal Enclosure dress code and hat rules are different from the standard rules. So, I needed to find a dress than covered my shoulders and knees and a hat that covered at least 4 inches of my head…..

Clearly last year’s butterfly veil wasn’t going to cut it.

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I did some research, and found this hat designer called Bundle MacLaren, and promptly fell in love with every single hat on her website:

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Unfortunately I could not justify spending close to £200 on a hat I’d wear once, although I shall dream of all those hats forevermore.

I then tried on this hat/hairband thing from Topshop, with a view to adding some material somehow to make it hattier, but I looked like a cross between a horse and an ugly stepsister.

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I also saw this hat, by Awon Golding Millinery, and thought it was adorable (also too expensive, considering that I wear hats precisely never.)

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So, inspired by this hat, I decided to see if I could DIY something similar, without breaking the bank. (Spoiler: did not break bank. Did break 5 nails and my spirit.) I didn’t want to just copy it and write Bonjour so I figured I’d theme it to the event and quote Eliza Doolittle’s famous Ascot faux pas in My Fair Lady.

I bought this fascinator from Accessorize:

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This was my amazing sketch of what I planned to do with it:

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An artistic career beckons, clearly.

Now, fascinators are looked down upon in the Royal Encloshaaah but are permitted (for the first time this year), provided that the base is more than 10cm in diameter. (These rules are so ridiculous.) I was pretty confident that the hat complied with the rules but just to be on the safe side, I started by covering the headband bit with black ribbon to make it less obvious that it was in fact a *shock horror* fascinator.

This also had the added bonus of making it a bit less bridal.

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It was easier than I expected actually, I just wound some ribbon round and then haphazardly sewed through it, attaching it to the material of the hairband as much as I could. I also added some leather scraps at the bottom to make it comfier. It was pretty messy but didn’t show, so who cares?!

Next up came the writing. This stressed me out big time. I spent ages trying to figure out how to do it, trying to write on the hat in pencil first (invisible), dithering about stencils and whether I should pin it all down before sewing etc. Eventually I lost patience and just started freehanding it, sewing in my John Lewis ribbon as if I was writing. Which worked fine. It was insanely slow going though!

Not to mention the fact that I am rubbish at thinking ahead and have huge handwriting so ran out of space halfway through! I also realised that in my original “drawing” (if you can call it that) I hadn’t taken the headband into account and so I had to re-figure where I’d put the writing. I also decided to eschew the pearl idea, partly because I liked the simplicity of it as it was but mostly because I ran out of time. I also gave up on my brilliant idea of sticking a toy horse (spray painted gold or black) on the hat, after my family told me I looked like a Lloyd’s TSB advert.

Not before I bought a 10 pack of plastic horses though.

Any-tangent, the writing-

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I picked and unpicked various bits, redoing the D to make it curlier etc. and my thread broke all the time but finally, after several days in which my hat was all I could think or talk about, I was finished!!

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I also bought this little hair comb from Asos, primarily because it reminded me of an old hat of my grandmother’s that I love but that is too big for my small head and un-bouffant hair…

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My grandmother’s hat:

Yiayia hat

I attached the comb (again very messily) to the band so that even more of my head was covered, and to make it a more exciting look.

(N.B. All the bees at Ascot agreed that this made the look more exciting. :-/ )

Despite all the effort, I was glad to have a hat that I knew no one else would have. Still though, if I ever get invited back, I might just buy a hat and stick an extra flower on it!

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The dress I decided on (purely because it was the only dress I had that covered all the necessary areas), was this Asos mullet hem neon yellow number (seen here):

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I added an old stretchy belt, to give it more shape, and wore it with old wedge heels from Athens (with removable daisies), my daisy necklace that I bought at the Brooklyn Flea market a while back, and my new Skinny Dip London ice cream bag. (I am seriously obsessed with Skinny Dip at the moment!)

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Blurry pictures are my favourite… 🙂

Ah, the picture of elegance. Trying to showcase the hat-

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The day itself was a lot of fun! The weather was pretty miserable, which was a shame, not least because it ruined my hair, but I still enjoyed watching the horses, admiring the hats and quaffing champagne. (And not necessarily in that order.)

We picnicked by the car which made me laugh. Only in England could you have this hugely fancy event, (the Queen attends every day, membership is invitation only etc.), and have to bring your own food and eat it in a field behind your car in the rain.

It was fun though!

The Queen arriving:

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The Queen- a tangerine dream ❤

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I actually won some money too, which was very exciting! 🙂 And I learned a valuable lesson, because I would have won a lot more if I had listened to my first instinct instead of changing my mind!

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I kept my Zara scarf on most of the day, as it was quite nippy at times.

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All in all a fabulous, super-British, super-pretentious, super-fun day!

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Have a great weekend all!

Love,

The Styletterie

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