I’m often asked “What type of hat is best for my face shape, height or hairstyle”?
While every individual is different, here are a few guidelines.
A petite woman in a huge hat can look like she’s wearing an umbrella. In order to experience all the glamour of a wide brim hat, without the hat wearing her, a medium wide brim of approximately 16” in diameter is recommended.
If a woman has a broad, square, full or round face, a hat with an angled brim is very flattering. The diagonal line cuts the width of the face. If the wearer is not tall, a hat with a higher crown (top) adds height.
It is currently fashionable to wear hats with the hair back in a low chignon or down. Kate Middleton usually opts for a low chignon at the nape of the neck, which is elegant and sophisticated. Of course the choice depends on how formal the event is, but there are no hard and fast rules. Wearing a hat should be a delightful experience, so each individual needs to do what makes them feel best.
I find that many American women are afraid of hats. I often hear “I don’t look good in hats”, “I don’t know how to wear a hat”, or “Do I have to wear a hat”. Whereas British women jump at any occasion to wear a hat. I lived in London for eleven years and at that time the only retail hat shop around was The Neal Street Hat Shop in Covent Garden. Women of all ages lined up outside every day of the week, waiting to be omitted. When someone left they allowed someone else to enter. When I lived and modeled in London I had over 30 hats. Nothing very fancy, mainly just young and edgy, fun and frivolous. Hats seem to be imbedded in the genes of the British, who make up a large number of my clients.
Royal hats were a bit fuddy duddy until Princess Diana came along. She was tall, young and pretty, and all the milliners wanted to design for her. So we can credit her with making hats desirable for fashion conscious women of all ages. Of course there was always Royal Ascot, where it used to be fashionable to show off extravagant, elegant hats (My Fair Lady). Now days at Ascot it’s mainly outrageous, headpieces. Some are fun and imaginative, but many are ridiculous and anything but elegant. If you have a few thousand to spend, you may be able to afford a hat by the famous British milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Tracey. Ah, how receiving the Royal Crest can give someone the ability to raise their prices to dizzying heights.
Perhaps your head is smaller or larger than the standard 'medium' that shops stock. By purchasing from a milliner you can have a hat custom made with the finest materials, that fits your head size and shape. And when you order one of my custom made hats it will only cost about the same as ones you'll find in department stores like Nordstroms, that are mass produced in factories in China. So when you order one of my hats, you will not only get a hat that actually fits you, with individual style, but the higher quality materials
make for a much higher standard hat. This is the difference between couture and ready to wear.
In the end, whatever hat you fall in love with, that makes you feel confident and lovely, is the hat you should go with. That’s the purpose of a beautiful hat, nothing more.
Amy Ward/ Milliner
You can view my entire millinery collection at: AwardMillineryDesign.com