Wedding Accessories - Hats

wedding hat 1Over one hundred years ago it would have been unthinkable for a woman or man, rich or poor, to step outside their front door without a hat on.

Women with pompadour hairstyles wore enormous hats that were elaborately trimmed with overflowing ribbons, lace, flowers and fruit which were then fastened onto the hair by huge ornate hat pins.

Feathers displayed on hats were treated with poisonous chemically. Victorian and Edwardian ladies sometimes suffered convulsions or St Vitas Dance, hence the saying 'as mad as a hatter'.

Wearing a hat at a wedding is very much up to each individual unless this is what the bride and groom ask for and it is stated on the invitation.

So you have your invitation and the next step is to choose your outfit which consists of dress or suit, shoes, handbag and maybe a hat and this is where the 'fun' can begin....

Finding that Perfect Wedding Hat

Where do you start first? Do you find the hat and look for the outfit or do you already have that old favourite dress in the back of your wardrobe that with some great accessories can be made to look like new.

Hats can be found almost anywhere today from an expensive hat shop to EBay and from the local market place to clothing stores. Bargains can certainly be found if you take time to look around.

If you find your dream hat but it is out of your budget and you know the chances are you will probably never wear it again, why not hire one. As a bride you have the added assurance that nobody else will turn up with the same hat as you if you decide to go down the line of hiring a designer piece.

  • Remember to look into insurance and if you are responsible for dry cleaning before returning the hat.

Matching hats, handbags and shoes are one option to make it easier rather than buying them all separate and then finding time to look around to match them up all. Buying them this way though can work out that little bit expensive.

Brides Wearing Hats

wedding hat 3If you think that because you want to wear a hat when you walk down the aisle it means you can't wear a veil, you are mistaken!

Any length of veil can be added to the front or the back of a hat, attached to the crown or placed inside to be wrapped around your face.

Brides wearing hats were very much in fashion at one time and Victorian or Edwardian style hats can certainly look stunning and will compliment antique wedding gowns.

  • Carry a lace parasol with you to give that truly authentic look and it can also be used as an accessory in your wedding photographs.
  • Practice wearing your hat round the house before the big day, especially if it's a large brimmed one and you wish to keep it on at the reception. Remember you will have guests coming up to kiss and hug you. Learn to tilt your head to the side for this.

Hats and Face Shapes

A hat will compliment the wearer if chosen well and should become a natural part of an outfit that helps in balancing the neckline, waistline and hem. Face shapes are to be considered when buying and wearing a hat:

  • Square Face. The hat should be slighted tilted or have the brim asymmetrical.
  • Narrow Face. Tall hats should be avoided. Go for the fuller hat with a wide brim and a low crown.
  • Wide Face. Pillboxes or Bretons sat on the back of the head will balance out a wide face.
  • Round Face. Big hats with the brim at a slight angle are ideal for this shape of face and unless the brim is the most prominent feature remember that the crown should never be narrower than the face.
  • Heart Shaped Face. Hats should be worn straight across the brow and hairline. Guide is for the crown to be the same width as the cheekbones rather than a wide brim as it will prevent the jaw line from looking to narrow. This shape of face is one of the lucky ones that can wear almost any style of hat.

Body Sizes and Shapes

Now that you have your face shape sorted you have to also take into consideration the shape of your body:

  • Petit women are best suited to wearing smaller hats with small brims and crowns. Wide picture hats can be suited to you if you scale down the brim. If you want to look taller then go for a higher crowned hat with a slope. Pillbox and derby hats would work well.
  • Tall women should choose hats with wider brims and shorter crowns and steer clear of such hat styles as the Derby.
  • Curvy/Fuller figured women are best to choose wide full brimmed hats with curled brims and low crowns.

Materials Used in Wedding Hats

Different seasons will denote which type of hat you will wear, after all you do not want to turn up to a summer wedding and find yourself wilting away under the heat in a woollen or leather hat, never mind what it will do to your hairstyle and composure!

  • Winter/Autumn: Leather, Fake Fur, Suede, Velvet, Wool, Felt, Fleece.
  • Summer/Spring: Chiffon, Cotton, Lace, Linen, Satin, Straw, Taffeta, Tulle, Organza, Crepe, Jersey.
  • Evening -All Seasons. Satin, Silk, Lace, Organza, Jersey, DuPont Silk, Crepe, Chiffon, Taffeta, Tulle.

It is amazing what can be done to a plain hat when dressed up with the vast selection of decorations that are on offer.

Styles of Wedding Hats

There are many styles and variations of hats that you could wear to a wedding. Here is a brief summary of some of the more popular ones.

cloche hat

The Cloche. Once all the rage in the 1920s and sometimes known as the 'flapper', this style is a close fitted helmet-like hat that is worn low on the forehead and can be with or without a brim.

Suits and vintage dresses are complemented with the wearing of this style. Perfect for the bride with short, spunky or bobbed hairstyles.

coctail hat

The Cocktail Hat. Small and brimless is best perched on top of the head slightly tilted.

Usually adored with a spray of feathers or flowers with a net that wraps around some or all of the face. They can be ideal when used by a bride as a headpiece attached to veil.

pillbox hat

The Pillbox Hat. This style of hat is round and brimless and is worn on the centre or the back of the head.

Very much a 60's hat but was in fact first launched in 1930. Jackie Kennedy wore this style of hat and revived the look.


The Turban. Made from tulle, satin, velvet and netted materials this style of hat can be transformed into a functionally and chic headpiece worn by wedding guests and brides alike.

Once used by women during the war to tie up their hair while operating machinery and the chosen adornments of wartime brides. (These are not readily available but good millinery can make you one from your own design).

pagoda hat

The Pagoda. Triangular-shaped and based on China's distinctive Cooley hat, this high-fashion version was popularised by Dior in the 1950s.

Great with A-line and sheath styles of dress.

picture hat

The Picture Hat. Considered one of the most classic hats with its wide brim and typically made out of straw or horsehair.

These hats can be simple with just a small ribbon or made elegant and elaborate with swaths of organza and netting. Ideal for summer outdoor weddings.


Fascinators. This is fast becoming one of the most popular headdresses worn at weddings by brides, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and wedding guests.

This stylish option is ideal for brides who do not want to wear a tiara or veil. Ideal for any hair length and any style.

derby hat

Top Hat or Derby. Why should it be just men who wear this style of hat?

Many modern brides have been seen with white top hats tied round with ribbons or flowers.


Decline in Hat Wearing

wedding hat 2The demise of wearing hats really came about in the early 1960's due to the fuller bouffant hairstyles that were produced by backcombing and applying masses of hair lacquer by squeezing a plastic bottle and spraying until hair was virtually solid.

Vidal Sassoon was made famous by his introduction of the short skilled hairstyles that were shaped and layered in the late 60's and hats had no place to 'hide away' such hairstyles.

In today's modern lifestyle with hairstyles galore and one's we can manage much easier, brides and wedding guests are returning to wearing hats to weddings and choices and styles are vastly improved to sit on our heads without the need of giant hat pins.

Hats have been around for a very long time. It's impossible to say when the first animal skin was pulled over a head as protection against the elements, and although it was not a hat in the true sense; it was realised that covering your head can sometimes be an advantage.

Most women love hats, and weddings are perfect opportunities to wear them. The wearing of a hat makes a fashion statement, denotes a sense of style and presence and compliments your outfit, face and figure.

There is no doubt we have come a long way since man first pulled animal skins over their heads as a protection against the weather!