Whether you’re off to Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta, or have a busy wedding season ahead, London-based milliner Jane Taylor shares her essential tips on choosing the right hat this summer.
Her Royal clientele includes The Duchess of Cambridge, Zara Tindall, The Countess of Wessex and Princess Eugenie, while her millinery has been worn on screen by Kate Winslet, on stage by Beyoncé and in photo shoots by Kate Moss. Jane Taylor’s creations are stocked in Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick, and she was the milliner for Ascot in 2014. So when it comes to hat trends and etiquette, Jane Taylor of Jane Taylor Millinery knows her stuff…
WHAT SHOULD WE KEEP IN MIND WHEN CHOOSING A HAT OR FASCINATOR FOR THE RACES?
This is an opportunity to have a little fun and show off your eccentric side, so make sure you go for something that’s eye catching but doesn’t look over-the-top and cheap. If you want to go to town with the hat, it’s best to keep the dress simple or the overall look will be too busy. When dressing for the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, the hat base should be no smaller than 10cm diameter and keep it chic.
WHAT COLOURS OR SIZES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR THE RACES, OR DOES ANYTHING GO?
Anything works at the races. There is a hue of every colour to suit all skin tones, so pick something you feel fab and confident in. Black has been a favourite at Ascot for the past two years, but pastels, nudes and corals are always popular choices. Wide, flat brims have seen a comeback and discs are an easy option. Go for something on-trend, such as stripes, neon, florals or colour blocking.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR TRENDS IN MILLINERY RIGHT NOW?
Fascinators are dead, thank goodness! But elaborate headpieces in lace with roses are very pretty and work for all ages. Big is back, including large brims, a move away from discs to more dish-style hats and oversized bows. Organic shapes for cocktail hats are another new trend and work well for weddings or the races.
WHAT ARE THE DOS AND DON’TS WHEN CHOOSING A WEDDING HAT?
Make sure the hat suits the event. For a country wedding, something more romantic, soft and organic with details such as roses and curled feathers is perfect. When attending a city wedding, something more structured and tailored, with draped sharp shapes are appropriate. Make sure you don’t out-do the mother of the bride, so always keep it chic and avoid an Ascot-style piece, or it will look like you are trying to steal the show.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OR TRICKS TO ENSURE YOUR HAT OR HEADPIECE IS FIXED SECURELY?
A hat should be worn at the correct angle. When you have a fitting or purchase a piece, the hat should be fitted to your head and advice given on how to best secure it. Either use a comb and elastic, which sits under the back of your head, or the piece may have wire feet or a band that should be concealed by the hair.
DO DIFFERENT SHAPES OF HAT SUIT DIFFERENT FACE SHAPES?
For a round face, pick something a little angular to give definition. A more square face shape can take a softening touch, such as feathers, veiling and rounded shapes. Asymmetrical shapes and brims suit everyone and are very flattering, and if you have a deep forehead, make sure you choose a piece that doesn’t give too much height – shallow crowns are best.