Style + Beauty

The Most Ridiculous Hats From the 2014 Royal Ascot Races

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 (All photos courtesy of Reuters)

Anybody who claims to attend the Royal Ascot races to watch the horses is kidding themselves. The real reason anyone goes is to observe and/or showcase some fluffy, ridiculous headwear.

Eat your hearts out, Kentucky Derby goers.

Every June, England's most fashionable spectators flock to the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire for the annual event, often wearing huge, impractical hats. While the dress code forbids men from wearing anything other than a silk top hat (for real), women are allowed to go hog wild with the headgear — so long as the base of their hat measures at least four inches (again, for real). 

Through the races will last through Saturday, this year has already seen spectators in florally fishnet helmets, bird-brimmed bonnets, and Seuss-inspired styles. And those were arguably the tame ones.

Scroll down to see some of the weirdest and wildest fashions from this year's races, in order from least to most ridiculous:

Perhaps the tamest hat belonged to Queen Elizabeth, who wore similar floral hats for both the first and second day of the races.

Camilla Parker Bowles chose a larger bonnet, albeit in the same vein as her mother-in-law's. (Notice how Princes Philip, Charles and all the other male attendees are wearing nearly identical top hats.)

Prince Harry's cousin Zara Phillips, as one of the younger royals in attendance, took a chance with a more whimsical hat than her grandmother. But be warned: Things start go off the rails from here.

This is by far the reddest hat we've ever seen.

Yellow gets points for having a functional brim, but Red narrowly wins this hat-off. Good job, Red.

Hey lady: There's already a guy taking a photo of your ridiculous hat. (And no, you are NOT a peacock.)

It's a wonder these women didn't get tangled on the way here.

You can tell by the look on her face that she just spied some women with more outlandish hats.

And here they are.

It probably took lots of self control to stop at just three birds.

As far as hats go, it's impressive. But as a model of the solar system, it's got far too many Mars-es.

Somebody consult the rulebook. We're not so sure the second one is technically a hat.

Fun fact: Five different species of unicorn had to die to construct this headpiece.

This last woman didn't arrive with a hat. Feeling underdressed, she just swiped all the doilies from the bar area.