Hats are enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Don’t ask why, but they’re out there – in magazines, on the red carpet and in the windows of all your favourite shops. But hats can be tricky to pull off. One foot wrong, and you’re suddenly attracting attention for all the wrong reasons (remember Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding?). Get it right, however, and you’re bound to turn heads. Here are some top tips for choosing the right hat for any occasion.
Know the rules for racing hats
Fancy winning big at Ladies Day? It’s going to take some effort, but it will be worth it once you’ve bagged yourself that lucrative best dressed prize. First, check whether the racing event you’re going to has a dress code or not. Ascot, for example, has very strict guidelines on what you can and can’t wear. Hats should be worn, the rules state, but fascinators are not allowed. However, a head piece is permitted, provided it has a base diameter of four inches or more. Even if you’re not heading to bet at the races, there are also some unwritten rules to bear in mind. At weddings, for example, you need to tone things down a little bit so that you don’t outshine the mother of the bride, who is also bound to be sporting a carefully chosen hat.
Choose something you’re comfortable with
If you’re a petite height and you aren’t comfortable with a huge hat dwarfing your figure, go for something smaller and more elegant instead. Milliner Piers Atkinson gives Vogue readers some good advice which recommends pillbox style or a teardrop-shaped beret for those who do not want to be overwhelmed by their headwear.
Decide what you want to show off
A flamboyant hat can really steal the show. If that’s the look you’re after then you’ll need to tone down the rest of your outfit so that the hat takes centre stage. So, if you’ve chosen a particularly bold design for your head piece, make sure your dress is sleek, with no fussy ruffles or loud prints to distract the eye. Shoes should be equally classic and simple in order to draw the eye upwards to your hat.
Make sure the shade complements your eye colour
A hat that’s carefully chosen to suit your features is the best way to pull off any millenary look. And since the nearest feature to your hat is your eyes, it makes sense that they complement each other. Brown eyes look great with camel, royal blue and emerald green. Green eyes need muted colours in order to show them off, and can also be enhanced with mauve and plum shades. Blue eyes suit warm browns, soft peaches and greys.
Choose a hat that suits your face shape
One very wise trick for choosing a hat that looks great is to go for something that flatters your face shape. Here are some pointers:
Heart-shaped faces suit most hats, except very small ones, which can draw attention to a wide forehead
Square jaw lines suit wide hats with circular brims and asymmetrical hats
Oval faces suit pretty much every type of hat – lucky you!
Round faces suit long, asymmetrical or angular hats which will lengthen their faces
Oblong faces suit a low-brimmed hat which can conceal the forehead, but should avoid tiny pillbox hats which will emphasise a larger head
Wherever you’re planning to wear your hat, have a fabulous time!