The Fantastic Hats At Royal Ascot

It’s probably the world’s biggest fashion show of whimsical and outrageous headgear.

Royal Ascot—the annual five day horse racing event in Berkshire, England—drew to a close this past weekend. While it is one of the most prestigious in the equestrian world, attended by the Queen and other members of the British Royal Family and is one of the major events of the social season,  it is also legendary for being a showcase of hats and fine millinery.

Founded by Queen Anne and dating back to 1711, Royal Ascot has strict guidelines on dress codes for guests. Depending on where you are seated – The Royal Enclosure being the place to be and be seen – there are very specific rules that dictate the length of your dress, the width of your dress straps and hats are mandatory.

Don’t even think you can get by with wearing a fascinator in the Royal Enclosure. The rules dictate exactly what constitutes a hat; any headgear worn must have a solid base of 4 inches or more. With such draconian guidelines, the event has turned into an epic fashion spectacle, as each year, some guests try to outdo each other with hats that can range from the fantastical to the downright head turning.

Click through for some of the hats that made the scene this year.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Isabell Kristensen (right) and guest attend Day 1 of Royal Ascot on June 14, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

GO BIG OR STAY HOME. Hats take on epic proportions at Royal Ascot.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Racegoers in colourful hats attend Day 2 of Royal Ascot on June 15, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

FLORALS AND BUTTERFLIES. Guests take inspiration from flora and fauna for their headgear at Royal Ascot.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for day 2 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 15, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Danny Martindale/WireImage)

DUCHESS DEMURE. Never one to be showy, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears a subtle headpiece to Royal Ascot.

GettyImages-540306682

COUTURE CREATION. It’s not unusual for some guests to plan their outfits months in advance and to have their hats custom-made.

 

ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Anna Friel attends day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

TAKING FLIGHT. Anna Friel wears a feather creation for a hat.

A racegoer poses for a picture during Ladies day at Royal Ascot in Ascot, west of London on June 16, 2016. The five-day meeting is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar. Horse racing has been held at the famous Berkshire course since 1711 and tradition is a hallmark of the meeting. Top hats and tails remain compulsory in parts of the course while a daily procession of horse-drawn carriages brings the Queen to the course. / AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

BIG HEAD. A racegoer poses in an oversized hat in the shape of a rose.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Anouska Lancaster attends Day 1 of Royal Ascot on June 14, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

TROPICALIA TOPPER. Anouska Lancaster wears a hat featuring tropical birds and flowers to Royal Ascot.