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The Hat Guide

From a day at the races to weddings and garden parties, summer is officially the season of the hat. And whether you're a first-time buyer or are looking to go more directional with your headpiece, we've consulted our top milliners Philip Treacy, Vivien Sheriff and Jane Taylor for their top tips to help you get a head-start on the season...

1. The Colours: "This season we've focused on drama and excitement with lots of carnival brights and sugary pastel tones. In terms of shapes we’re seeing a move to more sculptured larger silhouettes as people are being more adventurous," says Vivien Sheriff.

 2. The Details: "For this season I've used lots of orchids in my hats. Orchids are the sexiest plants in the world. They are the ultimate flowers and the height of elegance. In my view, orchids are couture flowers and they make people dream away," explains Philip Treacy.

3. Styling Sequence: "When shopping online, buy the outfit first and then complement the overall ensemble with a beautiful hat. Always think about your silhouette as a whole rather than looking at your outfit as separate elements," advises Jane Taylor.

4. Shopping The Shape: "Wear a hat that's in proportion with your face and build. If your face is round, wear an angular hat that cuts across your face. Or if your face is more angular, soften it with a rounded hat and soft trim," suggests Jane Taylor

"Hats like people come in all shapes and sizes and a little awareness of your face shape and size will help you find the hat to fall in love with. Round and symmetrical faces suit most hats, but narrow faces should avoid wide brims which will only accentuate that shape," explains Vivien Sheriff.

5. Headpiece Style: "I would suggest making a feature of your hair at the back as fascinators tend to only cover the front," recommends Jane Taylor.

"If you consider yourself not a "hat person", try a substantial headpiece such as a disc which is less formal than a traditional hat and can be worn on a comb or headband. As well as feeling lighter, they're also less likely to mess up your hair," Vivien Sheriff explains.

6. Colour Matching: "A good rule of thumb is that the stronger the colour of the outfit, the more likely an accent colour will work better than a perfect match. For example, if your outfit is a very strong colour like a sapphire blue, a matching hat might be too much, so try on some lighter options from the same palette like a light, silvery blue.

"If your dress or outfit are more neutral or natural colours, these look stunning when colour-matched in a hat or headpiece. A flattering oyster dress and hat ensemble is also great for complementing most older skin tones. This is also true for soft golds, silver-greys or very pale rose-pinks," advises Vivien Sheriff.

"Look at the outfit for the occasion, busy printed or heavily beaded outfits best suit a plain simple hat with simple trim," says Philip Treacy

7. Wedding Hats: "For weddings, and especially if you're the Mother of the Bride, an upturned brim is best for kissing guests and much more flattering as it won't cast a shadow in photographs. And it’s also a good idea to avoid a dark coloured brim as it can shade your face in photographs," explains Vivien Sheriff.

 8. The Right Fit: "A hat that's too big or too small is as uncomfortable as an ill-fitting pair of shoes. At the studio we make sure customers get the right fit, so the hat or headpiece won't blow off in the wind. You can buy pads which can reduce the size of a hat that is too large, but if you're wearing a headpiece on a headband, try using good old-fashioned hair-grips crossed over to secure the band in your hair," recommends Vivien Sheriff.

9. How To Wear It: "A slightly jaunty angle down over the right eyebrow is best, and not on the back of the head unless it is a 1940s vintage piece. Stand tall, feel splendid and enjoy your day," says Vivien Sheriff.

10. Hat Heights: "Look at your height, tall ladies can wear almost any hat. Trimmings and angled hats give the illusion of height for smaller ladies. Look at face shape, long faces will suit most hats. Square and round face suit bigger crowns and big brims. Keep in mind your colouring; skin tone and hair colour. The hat should enhance and not drain or wash out the wearer," advises Philip Treacy.

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Make sure your hair is in ultra glossy condition for any hat occasion with our Summer Haircare Guides

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