An American Heads Into Britain's Fashion Rules For Facing Events Among The Upper Class

By Ali Bauman
CBS2 Reporter

Today the streets of Windsor are really starting to fill up with royal fans, and nearly every conversation is about the wedding.

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One of the biggest draws of a royal wedding is the fashion. I’m not just talking about dresses – but hats always seem to steal the show.

They’re the personification of British style – but hats just aren’t as popular in America.

So I wanted to find out, what makes this accessory so beloved by the Brits?

If you’re looking for a hat in London, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with more expertise than Philip Treacy.

“It’s a quintessentially British accessory, however glamour transcends culture,” he says about the important and longevity of hats in fashion.

The Irish milliner is known for his hand-crafted head pieces worn by the most upper class.

He designed 36 hats worn at Prince William and Kates’ wedding.

I asked what to expect from Prince Harry and Meghan Markels‘ guests.

“The only rule is you can’t not wear a hat,” he said.

And you’re only as limited as your imagination.

“When you meet somebody you meet their face, you don’t meet their foot no matter how fantastic their shoes are,” he said.

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Treacy meticulously curls each feather by hand, but notes there’s no “one size fits all.”

“This would be a couture hat,it’s like hand rolled organdy,” he said, showing of a design from his workshop. “Every hat has a personality and makes you feel different.”

Just don’t call them fascinators, as Treacy says that’s isn’t actually a traditional British word.

“I hate that word ‘fascinator,’ it sounds really dodgy,” he said. “It’s a hat. Or headdress.”

Treacy believes the younger generation of royals has reignited the popularity of hats in Britain, a trend that is starting to spread.

“They are the influencers of how people perceive ultimate dressing up moments,” he said. “American women are beginning to understand they can wear a hat too.”

Not everyone can afford a designer hat like those Treacy makes, but the designer says anyone can be a “hat person.”

“When you put on a hat like this, why do you have that little boost of confidence?” Treacy said. “Because when a woman is wearing something beatiful on her head she feels beautiful. So hats give people confidence and hats are empowering for women.”

As for me, you might say head pieces are beginning to grow on me.

A big white one I tried on is priced at about £8,000, which is roughly $10,000 dollars.

The designer says it takes him about a week to 10 days to create a custom hat for his clients, but of course they’ve been working around the clock this week.

Treacy said a wedding guest who apparently procrastinated placed an order this morning, and even though it’s last minute, he plans to have a hat ready for her in time for the ceremony.

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Ali Bauman is in Windsor, United Kingdom, covering the spectacle of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.