Monday, March 3, 2014

How to Wear Hats

I just adore hats. And I get a lot of comments for people that go along the lines of "I could never pull off a hat" or "I have hats but I just don't know how to wear them". I thought I'd take some time to try and distill some of my hat wearing knowledge and pass it on to you.

One of the main stumbling points to potential hat wear gals is hair. What hair goes well with a hat? What isn't going to work? The good news is that there is one general formula that works well. The bad news is that there isn't one magic hair do that looks great on everyone with every hat.

In general, you want a nice flat section of hair where the hat is going to sit. Since most 40s and 50s styles have a flat crown section, most of your dos will work with hats although victory rolls tend to be a no no with hats.

Generally, if a hat has a unique feature or some sort of asymmetry, I like to put that on the side of my head with the part so there is less hair in the way to block that detail.

But for every rule there's an exception.

Bangs also look really great with hats!

Some hats also require special hair dos. For example, turbans are usually worn with the hair slicked back which is very different from the average 40s hair style. If you are unsure, do some pinterest research to see how women wore your particular style of hat in period.

So now that we've gotten our hair taken care of, what should we wear with our great hats?

Hats in neutral colors such as brown, tan, white, navy, black, etc work just like neutrals in garments-they go with everything. And don't be afraid to mix neutrals. See I'm wear brown, white black and tan in the same outfit.

 Match your hat to your other accessories to bring a pop of color to an otherwise to matchy-matchy look.

Use a hat to bring out one of the more subtle colors in a print. The blue and greens stand out in this dress but the pink hat helps bring out the small pink flowers in the print and the pink buttons.

Wearing a similarly colored hat and skirt is a great option especially if the colors aren't an exact match. They'll be far enough away that you can't tell.

For a more authentic look, pick accessories and a hat that pull from one main color of your outfit to look sharp and put together.

 Don't be afraid to mix it up a bit. I love this navy blue and white hat but with only one sweater as the sum total of navy in my closet I didn't wear it much until I realized that I could wear it with other colors too!

For even more great hats, check out this video I made last year of a bunch of my hats.

What is your biggest hurdle when it comes to wearing hats?


  1. Great photos and outfits to go along! i love vintage hats and wearing them, but my biggest hurdle is the Kansas wind. From March through November it blows constantly and December though February, its snowing constantly. i guess i just dont live in the best area for vintage hats or hair. This has always been the biggest obstacle for both :(

  2. Oh this is wonderful! I love seeing all your different hat styles! You certainly have the perfect look for 50s toppers!

  3. Great post! You look like you stepped out of a time machine! Love the hats with your wonderful dresses and accessories! So very well done!


  4. You wear hats so well, and have such an amazing collection! As a milliner, I've also found that a lot of people have this idea that they can't wear hats well, so it's great that you are sharing your wisdom to try to break that notion. I also really loved the video looking at your collection. I learned a few cool things (upside-down bows - I love it!) and gained a lot from hearing what it is about the hats that makes you love them.

  5. Terrific post! Comments of that nature are amongst those that I receive the most often myself, too, both online and off. I wish more folks would take the plunge and start wearing hats again (be they vintage or modern). It's a shame that, by and large, only the vintage community and a handful of 21st century favoring fashionistas sport hats still on any kind of a regular basis. They're such an incredible way to jazz up or compliment nearly any ensemble (and there truly is one or more hat styles out there for everyone).

    ♥ Jessica

  6. I love the way you display your hats.

    I find it easy to wear my knitted beret, but my felt hats feel too dressy somehow, and I hate feeling as though people are looking at me.

    I have trouble buying hats - there are lots of nice ones on the High Street, but as I have a tiny head, vintage is my only option. Modern Small-Medium is simply too large. On the plus side, there aren't many people competing for the size of vintage hat I need.

  7. What a great post and I love your hat collection!

    I'm one of those people who has some hats but doesn't really wear them. Most of the hats I own actually look good on (not all because I bought most before I had my hair cut in a fringe and they don't all work with that) but I find it difficult to combine them with clothes in a way which I like and doesn't look too costume-y. And I'm never sure about the etiquette of wearing large-ish felt hats indoors.
    Most of my hats are fairly large, which is making it more difficult to ease into wearing them. I would love to find a couple of cute small 1950's style hats but I expect those might not work for me (long sleek hair doesn't exactly form a good background for a 50's hat).
    Your post is reminding me to try and wear them more.

    1. You could always try a french twist or low bun with a 50s hat.