Hat Buying Guide

Hat etiquette
Hat etiquette was very important in previous decades when all women wore hats to public occasions. Traditionally a hat was always worn on the right, the gentleman wore his sword to the left. Frequently when I mention this to a mother of the bride or groom the husband nearly always states he left his sword at home. Humour is always good during appointments and this piece of information rarely fails to amuse and relax ladies who are slightly uneasy.

Today, hats can be worn on either the right or left depending on your personal preference. Factors which may influence which side ladies prefer include the position of their hair parting, visual preferences or comfort.

Having your hat designed and made by a milliner, or buying a ready made hat
When visiting a milliner one choice you will be given is where do you want your hat to sit, this is entirely the client’s personal choice. Everything will be discussed in an appointment. The milliner will advise you on colour, size and shape which is suitable for your overall outfit and look.
It is generally common that the outfit is chosen first. Sometimes the hat is designed or purchased first and the outfit is then chosen to match or compliment the hat.
The colour chosen for the hat can either compliment the outfit and/or match the accessories .  An exact colour match to your outfit is sometimes difficult to achieve, therefore choosing a colour which is on the same colour spectrum can work well. Alternatively choosing a contrasting, but complimentary colour, which may be also picked up in other accessories can look very effective.
If you buy a hat or fascinator online, or from a shop, they will mostly be made to be worn on the right. Wearing them incorrectly might feel uncomfortable. A simple giveaway (to how the hat should be positioned on your head) is the label, this should always be at the back.
Hair Styles
As milliners we offer many styles of head wear from fascinators to traditional hats, saucers, buttons, pillboxes, top hats, decorated hair bands, berets and many more. When choosing a hat, the hairstyle needs to be decided either when trying on different designs or prior to this. It might be useful to think about which aspect is most important to you – the hairstyle or the hat? Or perhaps you’d like them to be equally important in your look. You should also consider how the hat will be made to sit securely on the head – certain styles which require an elastic may not be suitable for ladies with fine or very short hair, however fascinators and hats which are attached to headbands suit all types of hair and head sizes.
When wearing a simple fascinator, you can style your hair in many ways from a simple to an elaborate design. Hair and fascinators can be equally important. With other hat designs there are many options.
One simple rule is with a perching hat, which can be worn to the front or side of the head, just above the eyebrow, try not to have any visible hair between the hat and forehead. The hair can irritate and distract focus from the hat.
As a milliner when designing for a client, hair styles are always discussed. Consequently, the hat and hair style will work in conjunction with each other.
It is also important to consider your hair colour when choosing a colour for your head wear.
Choosing your hat if you are Mother of the Bride or Groom
If you are the Mother of the Bride or Groom, you’ll want to choose a hat you feel comfortable in and consider how long you will be wearing it, will you be wearing it all day, or just for a few hours? If wearing the hat for only a few hours, choose one which does not give you ‘hat hair’ once it is removed.
Size is also important. If you are looking for a wide brimmed hat, make sure it is only as wide as your shoulders, never wider. The hat should be suited to your height.
 Choosing your hat if you are going to Ladies Day at the Races, Royal Ascot, Cheltenham Races
If you are looking to turn heads, having a hat made by a milliner will be the best way forward. We all enjoy designing and creating a hat which is inspirational. Is there a specific theme or look you want? The more creative the decoration on the hat, the more likely you are to be noticed. A hat or headpiece with height is always a good way to stand out from the crowd.
As a milliner I personally enjoy the more creative and out of the box design briefs I am given.