When British Ladies Go to the Races, It's Their Hats That Are Competing

We know balancing the cheese plate on your head is your signature dinner-party trick, but let this image serve as a warning why you should stop this behavior. Photo: Getty Images

Of course you remember the scene in My Fair Lady where Eliza goes to the Royal Ascot horse races in that glove of a lace dress and marvelous hat — well, the real-life, annual version wrapped up in the U.K. last week. And though we assume people don't sing on the sidelines, attendees are still delightfully proper and old-fashioned. The men wear top hats and the women wear all kinds of hats, some of which are, well, memorable. The dress code in the Royal Enclosure, where the Queen sits, was especially strict this year, forbidding women from wearing dresses that were too low-cut, over an inch above the knee, off- the-shoulder, with straps less than an inch thick, or with halter necks. Yes, it's a whole new kind of VIP section. Let's have a look: