Ahead of the Game . Choose the Perfect Hat – by Sarah Davey

Weddings, Race events, Polo; there are many opportunities throughout the summer to wear a hat, but which one should you choose? How do you avoid making an expensive mistake?

First you need to look at your face shape. Oval-shaped faces can get away with almost any style. A large brimmed hat should be tilted backwards slightly so that it frames your face. If you have a square or round face, choose a hat with a large brim and wear it slanted. A long face looks lovely with a beret style or even a Matador style. Glasses can be a bit tricky but choose a hat with an upturned brim style so that it doesn’t feel like you are hiding behind a lot of face furniture!

There is a bit of an art to hat wearing. You need to think about your hairstyle. Hair should complement the hat. Hats nearly always look better worn with hair up, because it accentuates the neck. Small hats should rest just above the eyebrow, they look wrong perched on the very top of the head. If in doubt, ask the stylist in the shop. They will be trained to help you choose the right piece and talk you through how to wear it to best effect.

Try lots of styles, colours and textures. Make the most of trained staff. Let them be your guide. They will get a kick out of finding exactly the right hat for you.

Don’t shy away from ‘big’ hats because they generally look smaller once they are actually on your head.

Most people start with an outfit and try to find a hat to complement it. But it might be better to do it the other way around. If you fall in love with a hat that’s a real statement piece, then you should keep your dress and accessories minimal to allow it to take centre stage. If you’ve already got the outfit though, then pick out elements such as colour or fabric, to try and match. Exact matches are not necessary, sometimes complementing tones work better.

If you are very lucky you might have a dress and hat hire establishment in your town. This can be an excellent way to get the outfit and hat of your dreams for a fraction of the cost of buying it outright.

At the end of the day you have to feel happy, confident and comfortable in your chosen hat. Physical comfort is the most important factor.

You shouldn’t pick anything you feel you have to fuss or fidget with; you should feel completely confident. As the hat designer Piers Atkinson says, “Make sure the hat doesn’t wear you; you wear the hat!”