Guys, I need to confess something. It’s a very dark secret, so you can’t tell anyone, ok? I
Wait, no… I can’t do it. I’m not ready yet. Uh… uh… let’s start over.
Hey, guess what? I went to Ascot!
I feel like everyone must know what Ascot is, but that’s probably not true. Everyone in England knows what it is, but you might be in Botswana or something, I don’t know. It’s a big, famous horse racecourse. Probably one of the most famous ones in the world. It’s the one they go to (and sing about) in My Fair Lady, if you’ve seen that. Every year in the summer, the course hosts Royal Ascot, a series of races that the queen comes to and that attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a giant media event and is especially famous for the fashion and the large, outrageous hats ladies wear to it.
Well, this wasn’t Royal Ascot (it was Autumn Racing Weekend), but attendees are always expected to dress up nicely, and hats are encouraged. I LOVE dressing up, so I got really excited. Here’s me in my hat and vintage dress.
Misa was really excited to come as well.
I purposely bought the slightly more expensive Premier admission because it’s fancier: men aren’t allowed in without suits. As a costume designer, I just love to see everyone looking their best! I greatly lament the general sloppiness of everyday modern dress; somehow, sartorial slovenliness seems to be at an all time high, and it makes my heart cry a little bit. So yeah, I was super pumped up for Ascot. And I wasn’t disappointed. Everybody looked so classy!
Here are some dressed-up dudes accepting one of the racing trophies.
I’ve been talking about fashion so far because I’m me and I can’t help it, but believe it or not, there were also horses racing.
I sort of thought there would be horses running constantly, but actually there was just one race about every half an hour. The rest of the time you just eat, drink, chat, look around, examine the horses, make bets, etc. There are actually no assigned seats: you just sit wherever you want whenever you want (more areas are available with Premier admission). Misa and I watched some races at the top of the stadium and some races right up against the fence by the track. Here’s a picture Misa took of me right in front of the track.
I wish there had been more races, but I guess they need all that time in between to reset everything and get all the fresh horses in. The moments when races were going on were definitely the best parts of the day. Everyone in the stadium would be so focused during the race, and then at the end, there was always a giant, collective roar. I love moments like that, when thousands of people are all sharing something.
Here’s a picture of the stadium. Is it called a stadium? I’m not sure. Probably not. It’s only on one end of the racecourse (doesn’t go anywhere close to all the way around it). This is the back, so the track is on the other side.
Overall, I loved Ascot. It had all of the British people I wanted to find but wasn’t sure I ever would: classy, elegant, beautiful, polite, a bit posh. Sort of the traditional people that Americans think of when they think of England. Add in hats and horses and the day is definitely a win.
Here’s another picture of Misa and me, happy after a very nice day.
Well, that was a nice post, goodnight! Bye!
Oh. Oh, you wanted to know my secret? Oh. Oh ok.
Well, this is my hat. What do you think?
I MADE IT WITH KLEENEX.
Yeah, that whole white band around the outside is carefully pleated Kleenex, sewn on painstakingly by hand by yours truly. I really did, I wore a Kleenex hat to Ascot, one of the most fashionable places in the country.
The whole time I was sewing it, I was like, “Am I actually doing this? Am I actually going to wear this in public?!” I had tried to buy ribbon, but I live in a tiny, tiny town, and there was no ribbon to be had. The hat’s feathers and netting are a cut-up fascinator from a charity shop (“thrift store” in American).
No one called me out, but then again, no one said, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know your hat doesn’t look like Kleenex.”
Just please don’t tell the fashion police where I am.