What to wear to the King’s Plate

It’s that time of year again – the King’s Plate, North America’s oldest continuously run horse race is a week away!

The King’s Plate

If you aren’t familiar with horse racing around the world then you may not have heard of the this particular event. The King’s Plate is Canada’s most prestigious thoroughbred racing event and is aptly named after the reigning British monarch. Last year it was known as the Queen’s Plate however with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II it will now be known as the King’s Plate after more than 70 years.

If you’re not into horse racing you can still attend the King’s Plate as it is the social event of the summer in Toronto and features a day of high fashion, high stakes and lots of excitement! The event takes place on Sunday August 20th at Woodbine Racetrack. Tickets can still be purchased here:https://woodbine.com/kingsplate/tickets/

What to wear

So what exactly should you wear to such a prestigious event? I find the fashion trends seen at the Plate often mirror those at Royal Ascot, which takes place in June every year. 2023 was a great year for fashion at Royal Ascot. The main change we saw was longer hemlines! Typically ladies wear tea length dresses to racing event but this year the hemlines were definitely edging more towards a midi and maxi length. I’ve also observed longer hemlines in summer fashion overall with maxi skirts having their fashion moment this season!

Wardrobe wise ladies often opt for dresses, although you can go for a classic suit if you’re feeling up to it or a skirt and top. Generally most dresses are solid colour or feature very delicate feminine prints. Fun colours are always a winner. This year we saw the Princess of Wales in a bold red ensemble which was quite eye-catching! Gentlemen usually tend to wear suits to the Plate however since it’s not as formal as Royal Ascot ties are optional. At Ascot ties are mandatory.

No race day outfit would be complete without a fabulous hat! I have quite a few hats and fascinators in my personal collection but if you are new to the world of millinery then I would suggest first picking out a dress before you pick a hat. Picking a hat first can be done too bit it is best to match your hat to your outfit. While we are on the subject of matching you should also consider matching your shoes to your outfit or hat. In general ladies wear covered shoes to racing events although you can get away with a heeled sandal as well. You can also check out the fashion inspiration section of the King’s Plate website.

There is also a detailed style guide on the Ascot site which can also provide some guidance.


Will you be attending the King’s Plate?

Queen’s Plate ready with Queen Bee Millinery

I’m back with a new blog post and this sure is an exciting one! If you’ve been following me over the years you know that I love hats and fascinators and will find any excuse to wear them. After the closure of my go-to shop for hats I was on the lookout for a store that featured classic feminine headpieces. When I came across Queen Bee Millinery in Perth,ON I was beyond excited.

Queen Bee Millinery

I first heard about Queen Bee when my parents took a day trip to Perth and sent me a photo of the shop. I quickly found the store’s instagram account and sent a message inquiring about their pieces and hours of operation. That’s how I connected with Ranelle Larocque the owner and designer behind Queen Bee Millinery.  I shared my upcoming collaboration with Woodbine Entertainment to create content for the Queen’s Plate and my ideas about a hat for this very special event.

I visited Perth and stopped by the store; it was an absolute pleasure meeting Ranelle, and the rest as they say is fashion history! We became fast friends over our shared love of feminine fashion, classic style, and of course hats! Ranelle was gracious enough to design a bespoke hat for me to wear to the Queen’s Plate.

The Process

I stopped by the store with my outfit ideas and brought a long a few dresses to show. Ranelle had the cutest tea party set up for us! We decided on a strapless floral print midi dress that I had recently received from Shein. I loved the floral print and cut of the dress and I knew I was looking for a hat to incorporate the floral elements.

After trying on a few in-house pieces for size and taste we decided on a saucer shape. Making the hat took about 2 weeks and I received photos of the process as well. It was really special to see my hat coming together piece by piece.

Ranelle made some great recommendations about adding a hint of pink to my hat as well as some silk flowers and a green sinamay bow to incorporate more colour and movement. We wanted to add some extra elements for a bit of flair and debated between a quill and some feathers, the feathers won out in the end!

A few weeks before the big day I went in for a fitting to make sure everything was just perfect, and it truly was!

The Main Event: The Queen’s Plate

I was thrilled to attend the Queen’s Plate let alone have a custom designed hat for it. The whole outfit came together so well, thanks to Ranelle’s recommendations and talent. I got so many compliments and many ladies approached me to ask where I found my hat. I was beyond proud to say, ” it’s a custom piece by Queen Bee Millinery in Perth, Ontario”.

The Queen’s Plate was an incredibly meaningful collaboration for me in so many ways. As most of you know I was born in Sri Lanka, which was a British colony named Ceylon at one time. My great-grandmother loved the races when they took place at the race course in Colombo. I am told she used to travel to Colombo with her circle of society ladies in their bespoke outfits to watch the races. It was such a honour to be able to carry-on a little bit of  that legacy here in Canada.

Worth the drive

If you’re in the Ottawa area I would definitely recommend taking a drive to Perth and stoping by Queen Bee Millinery to say hello to Ranelle. She does a wonderful job listening to your vision and bringing it to life. If you’re not in the area she also ships worldwide and you can certainly contact her via email (ranelle@queenbeemillinery.ca) and zoom to set up a consultation.

I really enjoyed my time in Perth and can’t wait to visit again. There are so many wonderful businesses and hidden treasures just like Queen Bee Millinery.

Be sure to check out my Instagram for some behind the scenes footage at the Queen’s Plate.