How to Wear Summer Hats……

Monday, May 23, 2011

Frankly I don’t think people wear enough hats.

In line with my eternal plan to look as fabulous as possible with as little effort as possible I think the wearing of hats is to be positively encouraged. Nothing makes an outfit look “finished” like the addition of an elegant little hat.

My own fairly modest collection ranges from a practical black felt cloche and tilt hat for winter day wear, through tiny little hats that sit on the back of your head  to summer straw and the decidedly impractical sequins and feathers variety.

A lot of people are scared of hats, but investing in a nice straw one for Summer is the easiest way to start wearing a hat without feeling too obvious.

A subtle straw cloche has a 1920s feel and sits close to the head. Team it with a dropped waist dress and low heeled shoes.

Straw Cloche Hat £25 John Lewis

For a more dramatic look a straw hat with a huge floppy brim has a very 1930s feel. Wear it with cotton wide leg trousers, a wrap top and sunglasses.

Black and White Dents Wide Brimmed Hat £12.99 TK Maxx

For Summer events, weddings and garden parties, a small 40s style hat is an excellent choice. It looks fabulous with smart summer tailoring. Wear a nipped waist jacket and blouse with a straight knee length skirt. Hats weren’t rationed during WWII, though they were expensive.

Lincoln Green Hat £90 Sakura Designs

photo: candee photography


A cute pillbox hat is a very 1950s look. Although this style is smaller and less obvious than a cloche or sun hat you’re unlikely to convince anyone you’re wearing it to shield your eyes from the sun or prevent burning scalp. Great for evening events. but if you want to wear it everyday make sure you’ve the confidence to pull it off. Team it with neat gloves, pearls and shift dress.

Pill box hat £165 Suzanne Betley at House of Fraser

Hat Etiquette

As ever, if you’re going to wear something like a hat it’s important to be aware of the etiquette surrounding them. Women’s hats don’t come with many complicated rules likes men’s do, but be aware of your surroundings. Women are not expected to remove their hats when going indoors as it is considered part of their outfit, so feel free to construct elaborate hair styles around them. A polite woman, however will be aware of the comfort and personal space of others and broad brimmed hats should be removed during the day when inside or dining in a restaurant.

After 6pm Women should generally stick to small brimmed or brimless cocktail hats, and if you’re going to the theatre or cinema any hat that may restrict the view of those behind you should always be removed.

Finally, it’s unlikely to happen to you as you go about your daily business, but should you hear the National Anthem it is the style of hat that dictates whether it is removed. Women generally are not required to remove their hats, but should you have opted for a men’s cap, fedora, or trilby it should be removed when the National Anthem is played!


15 Responses
  • LandGirl1980
    May 23, 2011

    Well – I never knew that about hat-iquette (see what I did there?) – tres interesting!

  • Stephanie
    May 23, 2011

    I agree! The world needs more hat wearers! I’ve been dabbling in millinery so my hat collection is growing! 🙂

  • Perdita
    May 23, 2011

    Fab post! I am a little bit obsessed by hats, caps and any headwear really. I’m on the hunt for a straw one at the moment, I’m considering getting something plain then using different ribbons/scarves/pins to match it to different outfits.

    I’d also like something nautical (not a full tricorn pirate hat mind, ha ha) – maybe a little blue and white pillbox. Hmmm.

    Thanks for the tips on etiquette too, I often wear mannish hats (baker-boy caps and trilbies) with my 70s stuff so I shall remember to doff at the national anthem in future! 🙂

  • Brittany Va-Voom Vintage
    May 23, 2011

    I’ve been trying to wear more hats these days too. My collection is growing but I often forget to grab one before I leave the house! I just bought a fantastic red, wide brimmed straw hat with a navy veil, which I can’t wait to wear this summer to a garden party or something! Thank you for the hat etiquette too! I never really knew if I should remove my hat when indoors or not so I just went ahead and took it off, especially while dining out. Now that I know what’s appropriate, I’ll keep it on! 🙂

  • Roxie Roulette
    May 23, 2011

    Agreed! I always want to wear more hats but I, unfortunately, have a big head! They used to be such an important part of both women’s and men’s outfits, so when did they go out of vogue?

  • Louise
    May 23, 2011

    Well, I thought I knew all about hat etiquette, but I didn’t know you should remove the hat during the National anthem. I love those pill box hats. x

  • Paperdoll
    May 23, 2011

    Spooky! I just got a blue hat that is very similar to the fourth picture down, I added a blue scarf to pretty it up a bit. Mine was only £5 from BOYES!!!

  • For Those About To Shop
    May 24, 2011

    I so agree with you on that first line, especially after seeing the royal wedding. Oh, my, we are so lucky as women that we can wear these pretty confections on our heads. How can you not feel special with a pretty hat or headpiece as part of your ensemble?

  • Laurie
    May 24, 2011

    Great post! I just bought some small hats today and I’m eager to wear them. They’re more wintery hats, but I plan on wearing them in the rain when I’m likely to have a bad hair day. Thanks for hat etiquette as well!

  • Jamie Rose
    May 24, 2011

    I loved this post on hats because I, too, think there needs to be more hat-wearing going on. I love hats so much but rarely wear them outside of summer time. I enjoyed the suggestions on how to wear different styles and the hat etiquette section was really informative.

  • Katrin
    June 6, 2011

    Oh, I love hats. I rarely leave the house without one. They give an outfit the final touch without much work.
    I think most people don´t wear hats because the think they don´t have the right face for it. But all one needs is the right hat for ones face. You just have to search a bit and be a bit brave maybe.
    Also thanks for the etiquette part.