History in the Making

History in the Making

The Art of Wearing a Hat, Style File Friday

In honour of the Royal Wedding happening tomorrow (or has already happened, depending on when you are reading this), I’m sharing my thoughts on the art of wearing a hat. Millinery is an elegant and timeless way to elevate an outfit, and add a certain level of chic that can otherwise be difficult to achieve for a daytime event- it can be a big step to get started but once you do, it is a wonderful accessory. It’s also just a lovely throwback to a mostly-gone era where you dressed to the occasion, and embraced the formal!
The Art of Wearing a Hat (1)

Unfortunately, my invitations to the last few royal weddings have not been forthcoming (I’m not too sure why….), so I don’t get to wear my millinery pieces as often as I would like. I usually take any opportunity I can to wear them, usually teas or wedding showers. Typically elsewhere in the world, hats are worn to weddings, baptisms/christenings, the races, and several other events (pretty much everywhere but Canada and about 2/3 of the United States), and I love the statements that they make.
To quote infamous milliner Philip Treacy, “hats always look much bigger off than on”, so don’t be afraid to try something and give it a chance, even if it seems a little large and “out there”! Unless it is actually a diorama type hat, that you see at the Kentucky Derby and Royal Ascot, you probably aren’t as noticeable as you think, and it will provide a nice finishing touch to your ensemble! (If you are looking for a fantastic guide to choose a hat, this article is chock-full of history, quotes, and advice!)
People will often comment that I am a “hat person”. While I am thankful to receive that compliment, I think that anyone can be a hat person given the right hat! A lot of it, I think, is confidence. I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily a confident person, but I am typically not overly doubtful of myself, either, but any piece of clothing or accessory will look odd if you aren’t comfortable and confident in wearing it. With hats, I tend to just remember that people covered their heads for centuries and it’s only very recently in this dressed down society that we live in that hats are eschewed in favour of “easy”.
A few tips for buying and wearing hats:
1) Look on Etsy- you can often find vintage and/or pieces made by up and coming milliners that aren’t as expensive,
2) When you are purchasing a piece of millinery, ensure that you do in fact own something to wear with it,
3) If you are new to millinery, I would recommend either your millinery or your clothing in a neutral colour,
4) Balance your hat with the shape of your clothing, much like you would the rest of your clothing;
5) Try on as many pieces of millinery as you can to get a feeling for what you like and don’t like on yourself,
6) Remember that wearing a hat should be fun and enjoy it!
Do you ever wear hats? If you do, what style is your favourite?
Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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