Off to the Kentucky Derby! Let the Royals Inspire Your Hat Game
We're off to the 2016 Kentucky Derby races — or at least, dressing the part. Whether that actually means you're headed to Churchill Downs or rooting for your favorite horse at a friend's party, there's one accessory that will supply all the Derby chic you'll need, and that, of course, is a gorgeous hat.
What better place to draw outfit (read: headgear) inspiration from than the royals abroad? Namely, the always on trend Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and — of course — Queen Elizabeth II, who has a particularly stellar hat collection.
We're zeroing in on the most masterful works of hat art, courtesy of our favorite royal figures. Let this be a lesson: where royalty and the Kentucky Derby are concerned, the more dramatic the hat, the closer to heaven. Read on for all the inspiration you'll need.
Princess Beatrice attended the Easter service at St George's Chapel with a festive headpiece in April 2015.
Kate paired her pearl-adorned Alexander McQueen coat with a Jane Taylor headpiece at Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2015.
Kate Middleton donned an Alexander McQueen hat that conjured up images of a rose at the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in November 2014.
For a wedding in Feb. 2014, Pippa added a little flair to a coatdress with a floral headpiece.
The Duchess added a floral-adorned headpiece to her Alexander McQueen look at a WWI Commemoration in 2014.
Pippa brought the drama with a bold fascinator at the wedding of Lady Melissa Percy and Thomas Van Straubenzee in June 2013.
Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker Bowles at the Trooping the Color ceremony in June 2012.
Princess Beatrice of York waved to the crowds outside the royal wedding in April 2011.
Prince William's cousins all stood out inside Westminster Abbey, thanks to their artful hat creations.
Camilla Parker Bowles arrived at Westminster Abbey for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in April 2011.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wore a peacock-inspired hat to Easter Sunday service this year.
Kate Middleton and Prince William at the Order of the Garter service in June 2011.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden matched her coral orange sun hat to her ruched gown at the royal wedding in April 2011.
Sisters Kate and Pippa Middleton attended a friend's wedding in equally stylish black hats in June 2011.
While not technically royal, David Beckham and Victoria Beckham are Britain's unofficial royal couple. At Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, Victoria Beckham stunned in a Philip Treacy hat that could easily be a piece of art.
Queen Elizabeth II stepped out in July 2012 in a flurry of bright pinks and dramatic florals.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie attended day one of Royal Ascot 2011, wearing (respectively) a wide-brimmed sun hat and a teal green fascinator.
Kate Middleton looked pretty in purple at a wedding in 2009.
As part of the Diamond Jubilee, the royal couple attended a service at St. Paul's Cathedral in June 2012.
Charlene Wittstock, Princess of Monaco, chose a large wide-brimmed white hat for the royal wedding in April 2011.
Carole Middleton looked ravishing in powder blue at the royal wedding.
Kate Middleton erred on the side of statement-making with this black feather-infused hat in March 2013.
Tiffany blue has never looked more regal than on Queen Elizabeth II.
At Zara Phillips's wedding, Kate Middleton wore a cream white hat that came complete with a rose detail.
Princess Sophia of Wessex attended a wedding in Luxembourg in October 2012.
High shine, gold, and drama — Princess Beatrice exhibited all three things (in one gorgeous hat) at day five of Royal Ascot in 2010.
Pippa Middleton wore a pretty red and black — complete with netted veil — fascinator to a wedding in February 2011.
Queen Elizabeth II turned up the brights in matching sherbet orange pieces in July 2012.
Princess Beatrice went with turquoise blue for Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's wedding in 2011.
Hats off to Beatrice and Eugenie knowing how to rock a seriously bold hat.
Princess Eugenie went the dramatic route for Prince William and Kate Midldeton's wedding, choosing a hat that featured flowers and feathers.
Two white roses accented Princess Beatrice's hat at day one of Royal Ascot 2009.
Inspired by Canada and during her North American tour, Kate Middleton donned a Canadian maple-leaf-shaped hat in July 2011.
Queen Elizabeth II matched her mint green hat to her ladylike coat for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
Kate Middleton wore a wide-brimmed black hat to a wedding in October 2010.
Guests — all topped off with decadent hats — awaited the start of the royal couple's wedding at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.
Aside from the unique shape (is that a bow tie we spy?), the fuchsia color is also very becoming on Zara Phillips.
Kate Middleton, in matching pinks, and Camilla Parker Bowles, in all white, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2012.
Prince Felipe of Spain and his wife, Princess Letizia of Spain, attended a wedding in Luxembourg in October 2012.
More guests arrived at the royal wedding wearing their very best, hats included.
Kate Middleton wore a white Alexander McQueen coatdress and Jane Corbett hat to last year's Order of the Garter service.
For a wedding in 2005, Kate Middleton went with a smaller, albeit just as dramatic, black hat.
Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall looked dapper at Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.
Kate Middleton went with a two-toned black and white hat for the Order of the Garter service in 2008.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie stepped out at Royal Ascot 2010 in artful hats.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden dared to wear one big rose-adorned hat at the inauguration of King Willem Alexander in April.
Together, the sisters made two of the most memorable (hat) entrances at the royal wedding in April 2011.
Kate Middleton's black mesh hat was ultrachic at the 2011 Trooping the Color.
Princess Letizia of Spain wore a gray feathered hat to the inauguration of King Willem Alexander in April.