For more than two centuries, Royal Ascot has been an eagerly anticipated event and a spectacle of high-society British fashion. When it comes to formal wear, morning dress is a must for gentlemen in attendance. And what better way to complete the look than with a top hat?
Let's dive into the history of top hats at Royal Ascot, how to style them, and the difference between antique top hats and new ones.
The Essentials of Top Hats
In the 19th century, top hats became the quintessential accessory for the well-dressed man, and this trend continued through the 20th century. In fact, it was a requirement for men to wear a top hat in the Royal Enclosure until 1955. Today, it is not a requirement but it is still a popular accessory for the fashion-forward gentleman.
Top hats come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. When it comes to Royal Ascot, the most popular style is the black silk top hat, with a rounded or flat top, depending on personal preference. The size should be proportional to the wearer's head and body, with a standard height of approximately 5.5 inches. A top hat should always be worn straight and not tilted.
Styling Your Top Hat
When it comes to styling a top hat, the rest of the outfit should follow the traditional morning dress code. This includes a black or grey morning coat, grey trousers, a white shirt, a waistcoat, and black oxford shoes. To complete the look, a gentleman can add a silk tie or cravat, a pocket square, and a boutonniere.
To determine what sized top hat will fit you best, measure the circumference of your head an inch above the ears.
Buy or Hire?
For those looking to buy, we offer both a selection of new top hats made from high-quality melusine or wool, as well as antique silk pieces, sourced from the largest collection in the world.
Antique top hats are a unique and classic option for Royal Ascot though they require a bigger investment. Proper antique pieces are typically made from silk and haven't been manufactured for decades, as the looms that wove the original fabric no longer exist. Because heads were smaller during the height of top hat fashion, hats made for larger head sizes are far less common and as a result, tend to cost much more. But for the perfectionists who want to craft the perfect Ascot outfit, you can settle for nothing less.
Perfect Your Ascot Outfit With A Top Hat from Oliver Brown
A top hat is a classic and essential accessory for gentlemen attending Royal Ascot. Oliver Brown is the official top hat supplier for Royal Ascot, offering both purchase and rental options. So, if you want to complete your morning wear look with a top hat for the upcoming event, explore our selection and read our guide for more information.
Don't miss the opportunity to look dashing at Royal Ascot 2023 with a perfect top hat and morning dress outfit. Browse the Oliver Brown website and discover the finest options for luxury and high-quality formalwear for race day, tailoring, and much more.