If you plan on heading trackside during the autumn racing carnival, don’t be pipped at the post in the hat stakes
WHEN it comes to dressing your head, traditionally a felt hat is required for autumn. I have been a judge at many fashions in the field events over the years (sorry, had to blow my own trumpet!) so have had some experience in this department! So if you read these top tips, I promise you’ll be a winner.
Hats can be expensive, and because of their unique and individual styles, can really only be worn a few times. But if you’re on a budget or you can’t find what you want, create something truly individual by adding ribbons, feathers or flowers onto a basic hat. Your local Lincraft, Spotlight or haberdashery stores are brimming with choice. But the main thing is to make sure it’s comfortable, as you’ll be wearing the hat all day.
How to wear your hat
- Make sure your hats sits firmly on your head so your hands are free for eating, drinking and talking! If your hat feels a little loose, use a hat pin
- If you plan to make a statement with your hat, keep your outfit simple. However, if your outfit is bright and colourful, keep your hat small and simple.
- If you have long hair and need to make an impression, take your hat to the hairdresser to have it fitted correctly.
- If you are tall you can carry off large-brimmed hats and ones in a contrasting shade to your outfit, to break up on strong colour. But don’t wear hats with high crowns if you are very tall and slim – they will only make you look taller.
- If you are short wear small-brimmed hats, especially if you have a rounded figure – large brims will make you look shorter and plumper. For extra height, wear hats with tall crowns, and one that co-ordinates rather than contrasts, with your outfit.
- Whatever your height, try on hats with your outfit to make sure you get a good colour match and a feel for the overall look.
What hat style suits which face shape
The following is a general rule of thumb regarding head shapes and suitable hat styles. One should wear a hat wider that the broadest part of their face (this includes glasses). Width may be achieved by the crown, brim or trimmings.
- Oval face …can wear most shapes. But be cautious if you are tiny, avoid the over-large hat style.
- Round face …choose a hat with a tall crown, an uplift brim and off-centre trim will add length to the face.
- Square face …select a hat with height and irregular outline. An oversized crown is excellent. Since your face is broad your hat should soften your features.
- Oblong face (long) … you need a hat to widen and soften the facial features. A mushroom brim hat with a full blown look is ideal. Avoid the tall narrow hat, as this will make the face appear to thin.
- Triangle face (wide)… you should wear a hat that sits on the back of the hairline. The hat should have width as you need to widen your narrow brow and minimise the strong jaw line. A breton or turban draped low and wide will do the trick.
- Heart-shaped face… wear your hat deep on the brow, large brims are great.
How to avoid hat hair
If you have long hair and plan on wearing it down, take a small amount of hair near the crown, twirl it around and pin into a chignon (small bun) on the crown before you put your hat on. Not only only will you have a place to put your hatpin (the chignon will provide a good anchor), but when you take the hat off and unpin the chignon, the top layer of your hair will be wavy and full, and voila, no hat hair. Alternatively, pull all your hair into a chignon — either high up under the hat, or low under the bottom of the hat, which will also provide an anchor for a more full-fitting hat.
On the other hand, if you straighten your hair, a hat can help maintain the straight look.
Those with short hair should ruffle your hair after removing the hat and then it leave alone; too much fussing only makes it worse.
How to care for your hat
- Avoid getting your hat wet.
- “Bruises” can be easily fixed by steaming. Place the affected area over a steaming kettle and gently push back into its original shape.
- Brims can be knocked out of shape. To re-align, gently bend the wire back to the original shape.
- Remove any marks with dry cleaning fluid, such as white spirit. Apply sparingly on a clean cloth or cotton wool, and gently remove the mark with a circular motion. Do not overwork as you could remove some colour from the hat.
- Dust can be removed by gently brushing the hat. Always brush with the nap, hold the hat with the brim towards you and brush from left to right.
- Don’t throw out the hat box that came with your hat. Perfect for keeping your hat looking its best, to avoid crushing the hat and trim, and prevent dust and dirt build-up when not in use.