So saith the Bard of England, in Richard III, not speaking of fashion of the turf, of course, but to save his own skin. Ah, Richard, ever the egomaniac.
For fashionables everywhere, whither a horse goeth, so goes high style. Breeders of thoroughbreds, fans of the track, and groupies of Nacho Figueras know that what you wear is as important as the horse that wins the day.
Valerie Steele, in her "Paris Fashion", says, as she spoke of Longchamp (the racetrack) in Paris:
"People were as interested in the contest of fashions as in the contest of horses on the turf."
Anglophiles in France were very interested in what the ladies were wearing to Ascot,and so the parade of fashion became a style competition. Designers sent their best dressed mannequins to the races, to preen before the well-heeled, and to take notes on what their competitors were creating. Clients of said designers planned their ensembles for months, ensuring their individuality, and spectacular turn-out. Hats, of course, were part and parcel of the tout. No one left the house without the proper chapeau: proper to their station, proper to their wardrobe, and proper to the occasion at hand.
Flaunting feathers that make bird-lovers cringe, bedecked in fanfreluches to die for, the ladies of every era made it their job to be fabulous while placing their bets.
Fashion is fun , and hats make it easier. Take it from one who knows.