16 June 2015

Royal Fashion Awards: Garter Day, 2015

Are you sick of tiaras? (Are you ill?) Not to worry, we're moving right along to the fancy hat portion of the month.

Garter Day is our plumed topic for today. The annual service for the Order of the Garter, Britain's oldest order of chivalry, includes all the royal Knights and Ladies of the Garter strutting around in their Hogwarts best. (By "strutting", I mean "slowly processing down a hill", obviously.)

If you're interested in the details and significance of what they wear (a bonnet, mantle, collar, and more) as well as the details on the jewels worn by the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall, you can check out my post on the event at the Jewel Vault, and all the links there.

Just a few awards to hand out today:

Most Unstoppable
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh
Photos: Courtesy of gabeyslave on Twitter; 
Corporal Max Bryan (Army Photographer)/MOD/Crown Copyright
Here's your regular reminder that, at 89 and 94 years old, these two could run you into the ground: Saturday was the celebration of the Queen's official birthday (and they also fit in a private birthday celebration with their eldest grandkids at a wine bar), Her Maj was at the polo on Sunday, Monday was this thing with the feathers, and now Royal Ascot will roll on for five days. And then a state visit to Germany, and then a week of engagements in Scotland, and then Princess Charlotte's christening. These two kids, I tell ya.

Best in Plumes
The Ladies of the Order of the Garter
The Princess Royal, with carriage companions Sir Tim Laurence and the Gloucesters.
Photo: Courtesy of gabeyslave
Oh, sure, there were men there too. (And they were wearing suits. Morning suits, covered by the mantle.) But Princess Alexandra and Princess Anne are my annual Garter faves. They're a rare breed, royal ladies that have been given the Garter honor, so I can't help it. No one makes the plumage as imperious as Anne does and no one makes it as elegant as Alexandra does.
Princess Alexandra of Kent with carriage companion the Duke of Kent

Best in Spouse
The Countess of Wessex
Left to right: The Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Wessex, Duchess of Gloucester
The Duchess of Cornwall knows she can handle a big hat, and this Philip Treacy chapeau is the very definition of major. Paired with an Anna Valentine coat, it's an outfit she's repeating from the Jubilee Thames River Pageant, with the Queen Mum's pearls thrown in for good measure. The Duchess of Gloucester continues to bring out the best of her jewel box, and I'd take those two diamond clips off her lapels real quick like.
Photos: Corporal Max Bryan (Army Photographer)/MOD/Crown Copyright; Suzannah
But I feel like we've had a sad run of blergh ensembles from the royal Garter spouses in the past couple years, and the Countess of Wessex's repeated green Suzannah dress is the refreshment I didn't even know I needed. It's the rare outfit that can actually hold its own against all those feathers and all that velvet, and doesn't need to be ridiculous to make it happen (I'm looking at you, Sophie, thank you for rethinking last year's strategy). A+ work.

Who's your Garter best dressed?

P.S.: Keep your eyes peeled both here and at the Vault for all the Ascot fun!