Side Street Style: Cheltenham updates dress code to state silly hats “not obligatory”

Side Street Style

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Cheltenham updates dress code to state silly hats “not obligatory”

How amazing is this hat? (image)

In a stunning turn of events, The Cheltenham Festival has updated its official dress code to remind guests that silly hats were “not obligatory”, to the relief of many of the fairer sex. As the news spread on Cheltenham’s opening day many were observed destroying their elaborate millinery with burning and shredding among the more popular disposal methods. A Vogue correspondent had to be restrained in a particularly emotional (and hopefully cathartic) moment, whilst attempting to eradicate to her feathery headpiece with a shotgun.

The Queen was one immediate beneficiary of the rule change; ditching her traditional magnolia flowerpot for the more comfortable flat cap. Whilst smoking a cigar in the Royal Box, Her Majesty was heard to observe that she “never had time for the bloody nonsense anyway” and “had only come for a flutter on the geegees”. Nonetheless some of the other 23 million or so minor royals who frequent Cheltenham defiantly stuck to old ways, with Princess Beatrice sporting a 10 lb “bird of paradise” with two live Toucans apparently glued on.

I have to say I enjoy wearing hats, and can't wait to get a few colourful ones for summer

Despite wide acclamation, a minority of racegoers were unhappy with the changes. “I never come to Cheltenham without a tie and lynx on, its about standards isn’t it?” opined one inebriated racegoer who was, indeed, sporting a horseshoe tie but nothing else save a pair of bright pink socks. The unmistakable fug of deodorant this bravo left behind was enough to convince this reporter that, on this small corner of England at least, people do maintain Standards.

Zara Phillips at The Cheltenham festival (image)

Bookmakers too have been stunned by the latest news, which was announced by racing boss Premier Horse Lord Sir Jonny Elliott VC OBE KGB only this morning with no prior warning. “With all the hats gone at least ⅔ of our racing advertising is now redundant” sighed Coral executive Max Deveson, before adding “horses are actually quite dull, come to think of it”. With up to £600m on the line for these intrepid men of commerce, your correspondent decided to withdraw at this point so as not to disturb the smooth progress of industry.

Another beautiful creation

As the racing progresses on the ancient Prestbury Park course, the view will no longer be interrupted by outrageous headgear of no aesthetic value, which had solely existed due to an abundance of zeal for tradition. Now that Cheltenham has clarified the situation, we may now listen to the raucous cheers and occasional, violent horse deaths in peace. As we hand over our money to ever present bookies and drink overpriced beer we take comfort in the fact that we live in a brave new world of reason - with no room for the anachronisms and cruelties of the past!


  1. Love this! As a local, I'm one of the people who hates the races themselves, but is strangely fascinated by all the weird and wonderful things it brings to town.
    Interestingly, I read a post from a local journalist who said when he'd started going to Cheltenham in the 90s, the advice was always 'Dress for the weather - it's March', but that has been forgotten now as women wear strapless dresses, with only a thin shawl to keep their shoulders warm and the highest of heels (how do they even walk?), topped off with this outrageous headgear.

    1. Since you're a local perhaps you can translate this?

      “had only come for a flutter on the geegees” ??

  2. Very Nice Inspirations

    FOLLOW my Blog!!! Maybe we can follow each other!!!

  3. Very funny! I love the first hat in the picture that you've posted- gorgeous.

  4. Hilarious. Love this too. I was a judge for best dressed at Wolverhampton Races ladies day last year and have to say, some of the hats were a hoot!



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