Brits Take Gold in Crazy Hats

By ABC News

Aug 2, 2012 6:58pm

By Jake Whitman

What would possess Team U.S.A. beach volleyball player April Ross to walk the streets of London in this ridiculous hat? Ross is right at home playing in her bikini in the sand — but strap on a sparkly hat made out of Olympic rings, and she gets much different looks.

If hat wearing were an Olympic sport, the Brits would surely bring home the gold. As the latest royal wedding showed, prominent British women from Princess Beatrice to Posh Spice to Camilla have serious hat game.

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“The Brits have always been completely synonymous with hats,” Bundle MacLaren, one of Britain’s top milliners, told ABC News. “There’s no rules — well, only that it has to be big and fabulous.”

MacLaren said the British obsession with hats dates back centuries, to Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire — and distant relative of Princess Diana and Fergie. Legend has it she could pull off hats that were three feet tall.

MacLaren’s designs are all the rage — even Pippa Middleton had to have one:

 

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(Image Credit: FD/NewsPix/starmaxinc.com/Newscom)

Correspondent Julie Foudy and I wanted to see if we could convince some of America’s current Olympians to try MacLaren’s Olympic theme hat on — to take on the Brits on their home turf.

“This is the hat you’re wearing in closing ceremonies,” Foudy said to one Olympian.

“Really?”

We had to fib a little.

Ordinary Londoners had a range of reactions to the hat.

“I think it’s fantastic, very original,” said one couple.

An older lady said, “Listen, you’ve seen what some people wore to the Royal Wedding. I think that’s probably a bit tame, actually!”

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