This amazing hat made a statement when it landed at the 1970 Royal Ascot. Worn by Carole Roddick, this hat featured a whole diorama scene on top. The designer of this hat managed to attach a miniature aircraft along with figurines of wild animals like rhinos, giraffes, and elephants. Oh, and the plane is striped like a zebra.
We’re not sure what the thinking was behind this hat, but we guarantee it caused a stir when Carole arrived at the enclosure. The 1970s saw a loosening of expectations and rules at Royal Ascot, so wild hats like this were becoming more common. The hairstyles were becoming more laidback, too. Carole wore her hair down in a classic 70s middle part, which paired nicely with that giant bow that held her hat in place.
Bowling for Compliments
Unfortunately, some bold fashion choices end up looking dated after the years go by. We’re going to have to label this Royal Ascot look as a “miss” rather than a “hit.” This 1966 look featured a crochet jacket with a wide collar and a circular hat. That hat looks like a wicker picnic basket was flipped upside down onto this woman’s head.
The hat was trying to follow the 1960s mod fashion trend, but it looked too old-fashioned. This jacket, combined with the straw material of the hat, doesn’t look cutting-edge or mod at all. She tried, but the outfit didn’t hit the mark for us. We know crochet is having a moment in fashion right now, but not like this.
Dr. Seuss Arrives at Royal Ascot
Many women go with an elegant, chic look when they attend Royal Ascot. Not this gal. This is a photo of none other than Gertrude Shilling, one of the most memorable staple attendees of Royal Ascot in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Gertrude was a beloved British actress who was never afraid to push the envelope of the Royal Ascot dress code. In other words, she was iconic.
This mile-high top hat is a whimsical interpretation of the classic magician’s hat. There is even a pair of white bunny ears peeking out at the top. Gertrude wore this amazing work of art with a menswear-inspired suit instead of a dress, which we love, considering it was 1969. By her side is her son David Shilling, the famous milliner who designed all of Gertrude’s Royal Ascot looks over the years.
Getting Creative in the Confines
Royal Ascot has a notoriously strict dress code. For example, ladies attending the racing event in the Royal Enclosure have to wear a hat with a base of at least four inches in diameter. Despite these strict rules, men and women alike always find ways to express their creativity and personal style. This early 1970s look is a creative homage to the dog days of summer.
This woman wore a unique straw hat that had a kind of cute, slightly creepy ice cream man figurine affixed to the top. The brim is adorned with a white and red border that is reminiscent of boardwalks and summer carnivals. Who doesn’t love a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day? Since Royal Ascot Week takes place in June every year, this hat seems appropriate.
The Belle of the Ball
Actress Nina Baden-Semper attended Royal Ascot in 1972. She absolutely stole the show with this ultra-70s look. Judging from the expression on her face, she had an absolute ball (pun intended). Her floor-length dress looked like any ordinary pleated gown from the 70s, but Nina put her own unique twist.
The dress was covered in bright floral pom poms that swung around her skirt whenever she spun around. How fun is that? The same flowers were attached to her floppy sunhat, creating a super cute “flower child” vibe. This entire look is carefree, creative, and groovy. Nina undoubtedly infused some life into Royal Ascot that year. This look remains one of the event’s most iconic looks to date.