There has been a ton of analysis over the best and worst hats at the Royal wedding, with a lot of bi-atching about the Princesses Eugenie & Beatrice, who in case you were under a rock this weekend and missed it, wore these showstoppers;

Wedding hats

Source

But what is the real reason British women like to buy alarmingly expensive headgear for weddings and other formal occasions, to only wear it once? Is it mandatory, or just a bit of good old fashioned British eccentricity?


Hat’s off to these lovely ladies! Courtesy of The Washington Post

It seems that the tradition dates back to the time when the Anglican Church required ladies to keep their heads covered in Church, much like other religions still do to today. Women were also required to wear gloves back in the day, though only a select few did last weekend and it is by no means considered improper to omit hand wear or head wear. (However the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron chose not to participate the hat wearing festivities, and has been criticized as looking “strangely naked” and for being “disrespectful” – see below)



Courtesy of Bella Sugar

Interestingly, there are a few other dress code rules that the Anglican Church no longer insists upon, but since Westminster Abbey (where Will & Catherine exchanged their vows) is like the Father of all Anglican Churches, these rules were adhered to.

Sleeves are mandatory – no shoulders or too much chest and arm. This worked out great for Kate’s wedding dress whose lace sleeves looked simply stunning;

Kate wears lace sleeves at Westminster Abbey

Courtesy of blogs.smarter.com

For men, top hats (traditionally worn with Morning suits (or ‘tails’ here in the US) should be removed when entering the church, as you may have noticed Kate’s father doing. David Beckham also carried his hat most of the day;

David getting more gorgeous by the day

Today, most British wedding guests select their outfits based on style rather than traditional codes that are for the most part outdated. However weddings are a rare opportunity for women to wear big fancy (sometimes ridiculous) hats in public and not be seen as crazy in doing so. So, of course they run with it!

Weddings are not the only occasion though. Those lucky enough to attend the annual races at Ascot have the opportunity to be even more outlandish. Here are some of my favorite pics to give you the idea;

Whimsical!

Ultra Stylish

Taking ‘birds cage’ to a whole new level

“Forget the bird cage, let’s just wear a bird”

See the full slideshow here!

So what do you think? To embrace the British hat wearing tradition or not?

(I’ll share some of the hats that made my own British wedding in an upcoming post!)

Know someone who is getting married? Wow! Glowing Bride makes the perfect gift for a bride to be…

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  • Dani

    I adore the British tradition of wearing hats to such events. I wish we would import that custom to the States.

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