With just over five weeks to go until Ascot, why not buy the most spiffing of hats, the top hat? Christy, founded in 1773 by Miller Christy, is the only manufacturer in the world that still produces the traditional top hat. Top hats became fashionable in the early 19th century; one of the first was the kite-high dandy, which was a rather impractical seven and a half inches. Today's versions are a more modest five inches. I think they're splendid - very Darcy. You need to get a move on if you want one for Ascot, though - Christy top hats need to be adjusted individually for a perfect fit. AB

Christy's Topping Top Hat, pounds 200 in black, pounds 150 in grey. Available from Simpson, Piccadilly, London W1, tel: 0171 734 2002 ext 3310. Christy hats are also available nationwide, call 0161 480 8731 for your nearest stockist.