I was listening to Matthew Williamson talk fashion today. He was asked about hats and baulked at the question; he dismissed fascinators then failed to commit on anything else, offering a very limp ‘if your dress needs it’.
He missed the point! Hats are about attitude, they are <gasp> in unnecessary. They should be fun and make you feel fantastic. So many people say that thy don’t suit hats; true we all have hat shapes that bring out our inner gurn. Find the right hat and the smile says it all. It is like gorgeous underwear: a good hat is not just about what you see, it is about how you feel.
When clients try on hats initially I don’t even look at the hat: I look at the person, the moment we find the right shape I can see that sparkle. I can then dissect what makes that hat special and start to weave some magic, fine tuning it to that individual and her outfit.
Hats can make a fashion statement, but are much more about a personal statement. If you love fashion the hat that looks great on you will almost certainly reflect or even predict fashions. Retro can be cool, but finding a great shape, texture and colour may not need a sartorial category.
There are rules, they can offer a few short cuts but there is not substitute for trying on and having some fun.
A lady is always right!… If are going to have rules why not start with this. It also can remind us that ladies tend to wear hats on the right hand side of their heads and avoid the hat kiss clash.
It also helps to consider weather and body shape: large brims can balance your silhouette, but if you get it wrong you may feel like a mushroom. There are a range of elements that can help you look and feel fabulous: texture, brim, crown shape and height (generally it is more flattering to and a crown that is broader than your cheekbones).
The most important thing about style is making it yours. You wear the hat, it does not wear you. A few rules may narrow the field to help you find the one, but breaking sartorial rules can be worth the risk – without it Chanel could not have liberated us from corsets or YSL would have not given us ‘le Smoking’. Try, enjoy and shine!
Oval – a lucky shape for milliners. Almost any hat can be worn, you can even get away with hats that go straight across the brow or hairline. Maybe try a sophisticated cocktail hat because an oval face balances well with even the trickiest hats.
Round – unlike oval face shapes asymmetric lines are useful, particularly the brims. Add a bit of height so you don’t emphasise the circle. Trilbys and fedoras can be a great place to start a fitting.
Heart – a mid (but not wide) brim with a bold crown can balance width across the forehead then play to get a great jaunty angle.
Triangle (broader at the chin than the brow) – add focus at the top and definition across the brow, so maybe a bold side band or a square crown.
Square – either enjoy your angles or play with softening them. Slant the brim or experiment with asymmetry. How about doubling up and wearing earrings as well as your hat?
Oblong – Avoid narrow and tall hats and try a little width. Why not try a cloche or floppy hat.
If You Wear Glasses – Try wearing your hat with the brim turned up.
Double Chin – a good trick is a hat that is slightly lower at the front, this will remind you to keep your head lifted thus reducing the appearance of a double chin.