How to Wear Summer Hats: An Expert Guide
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Did you know that there are 14 different types of hats? A style for every taste, a shape for every head. We’ve consulted the experts at Penmayne of London and Lock & Co hatters to find the best hats to suit everyone, plus our selection the best summer hats on the market right now.
‘There is something very elegant and beautiful about a woman in a hat, so wear it with confidence. Wearing a hat is a statement and if it is new to you it can feel a bit strange at first, but you just need to wear it and get used to it, like a new pair of shoes. You’ll be surprised by how many compliments you get and wonder how you ever lived without it.’ Claire Howeson, founder of Penmayne of London.
How to Wear Summer Hats
Christy’s Hats has shared their tips for wearing a hat in summer, to events and weddings…
How should you style your summer hats?
Panamas are a great classic addition to your summer wardrobe, using the unique lightweight toquilla palm that’s handwoven in Ecuador, they keep your head cool and protected in the summer heat. The classic shape of the Ethan preset Panama can bring a little drama to your outfit, transforming it instantly to a more sophisticated look. A ladies wide brim style, such as the Emilia Panama is a key summer look that adds an instant chic factor.
Hats at weddings: Essential or extravagant?
Essential. Hats are essential in order to take your wedding attire to the next level. There is no need for extravagance, keep it classic and cool. Ensure you wear a hat that works with your proportions and one that compliments your outfit rather than upstaging it. A classic Christy’s Ascot Panama (above) for a summer wedding is an investment you won’t regret.
Key to looking stylish in summer hats?
Invest in an Ascot Panama style that you can treasure. It will become your summer side-kick that protects you from the sunshine and ensures you look great.
Claire Howeson of Penmayne of London believes you should ‘go big and enjoy it’ at Ascot. It’s about the only place where you can guarantee that someone will be wearing a hat that’s bigger and crazier than yours. Your outfit doesn’t need to be ‘matchy matchy’. Bold clashing colours and prints can look great too. Focus on the silhouette of your outfit and hat. In my opinion that is where it all comes together and you can have lots of fun with this at somewhere like Ascot.’ She continues, ‘I love summer straws styled with boho white dresses or wide-legged trousers – think Sienna Miller at Henley.’
Claire also agrees with Christy’s when it comes to weddings and hats…‘They are essential. How often do you get to dress up in a gorgeous outfit and stylish hat? It is so smart. Go for good quality, a classic shape and a nice neutral band – that way you can wear it with everything and it won’t tire year on year.’
For summer, a bit of shade is necessary, so don a fabulous hat and prepare for the admiring glances. These are the best on the market right now…
Sensi Studio Rolled-brim straw hat, £48, matchesfashion.com
Gucci Green Papier Wide Brim Hat, £350, brownsfashion.com
How to Find the Right Hat for You
Claire Howeson from Penmayne of London shares her tips on finding the right hat:
‘My advice would always be to keep it simple and go for quality; buy one great quality hat that you can wear with everything and will last you for years to come. It won’t go out of fashion, will become a trusted wardrobe staple and will look and feel completely different from a cheaper version. And by the time you’ve brought a couple of cheaper hats that won’t last the season you are much better off making the investment.’
‘What colour are your coats, jackets and scarves? The answer to this question tends to reflect the colours you wear most often and feel most comfortable in. It’s a great starting point and tends to steer towards one of two camps; either black and blue hats or brown and taupe hats. While everyone seem to love grey. What is your skin tone? A hat sits right next to your face, so it’s really important to go for a felt colour that suits your skin tone; something that brings warmth and colour to your skin and doesn’t wash you out:
Pale skin and light skin tones: Darker colours like grey, brown, burgundy, green and dark blue will contrast with your skin and bring warmth and colour. I would suggest avoiding black as this can wash out pale skin.
Olive skin tones: This warmer complexion will suit a much wider range of colours. Most colours will look great on you but try to opt for shades that are either slightly brighter or darker than the middle ground.
Darker skin tones: You can pretty much wear any colour you like but try to keep some contrast between your skin colour and the felt colour.’
Watch your head
‘If you are tall, you can wear wide-brimmed hats and can carry contrasting colours. Try to avoid small and short brimmed hats as they will look out of proportion with the rest of your body.’ ‘If you are smaller in height, avoid wearing wide-brimmed hats and instead choose a brim that stays within the width of your shoulders. Choosing a hat that’s a similar colour to your outfit can help to create the illusion of a few extra inches.’
Flatter your face
‘If your face shape is round, try to avoid wearing hats with a round crown and instead go for something more angular. You can wear a medium to wide brim but make sure you have some height in the crown to elongate the face. If you have a long face, go for a medium sized brim and a shorter crown to balance out the length of your face. If you have a small face and delicate features, opt for a style that has a small brim so that it doesn’t swamp you.’
Fedoras and Trilbies
The fedora is versatile and great with almost everything. If you have a round face, this will flatter and compliment your features. Opt for classic colours such as navy, camel or khaki.
Jacquemus Santon wide-brimmed straw hat, £709, matchesfashion.com
Weekend Max Mara Ricordo hat, £60, matchesfashion.com
Nick Fouquet Grosgrain-trimmed straw fedora, £342, net-a-porter.com
Hats for Men
Roger Stephenson, the Deputy Chairman of Lock & Co and 7th generation family member of Lock & Co, sheds some light on finding the best menswear hats:
‘Hats suit everyone, it is just a matter a choosing the right hat that suits you. Caps are very popular at the moment, especially 8 piece caps. They seem to be appealing to a younger, more fashion conscious buyer. They are very versatile as they can be worn in town with an overcoat or more casually for everyday. We have a great choice of tweeds and cloths to choose from for both urban and country wear.’ ‘Our cashmere beanies, which we have made in collaboration with Johnstons of Elgin, have proved to be a big hit with both men and women. They are beautifully tactile and ideal for winter weather.’ ‘A good quality felt hat, commonly known as a trilby or fedora, is a really good investment. They are very hard wearing and should last many years with the proper care. Every gentleman should have at least on in their wardrobe. When choosing a felt hat or fedora, the secret is to get the proportion of crown and brim right for the build and face shape of the customer.’
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