How To Wear A Hat This Summer: 6 Essential Hat-Tricks From An Ascot Milliner

26 June 2014 by

How To Wear A Hat This Summer: Tips From Ascot Milliner Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite knows her hats [Getty]

It’s that time of year. The sun is shining (intermittently), the racing invitations are arriving faster than you can say Pimm's o’clock and there’s more weddings to find outfits to than you can shake a Stephen Jones hat at.

So what’s a gal to do? Hit the mid-summer sales to find another perfect dress and bag a bargain on the latest pair of must-have Kurt Geiger’s? That’s the easy bit. It’s finding the right hat that really throws a fascinator in the works (sorry, couldn’t help it). Because when it comes to all things millinery, let’s face it, most of us are complete and utter novices. And why wouldn’t we be? 364 days of the year you probably don’t even think about putting extravagant headgear upon your noggin.

So we’ve enlisted the help of up-and-coming milliner Kate Braithwaite (whose creations were recently turning heads on the grassy catwalks of Royal Ascot), to get the low-down on the dos and don’ts of hat wearing.

So if your palms are sweaty at the thought of putting something near your blow dry and your mum is trying to dress you like your lovely but rather un-trendy great aunt, take a deep breath - and read on.

The 6 essential hat-tricks  

How To Wear A Hat This Summer: Tips From Ascot Milliner Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite hats hit Ascot

1. Make sure you try on different styles of hats and see what suits you – think about the shape of your face and finding a colour that will go well with your complexion. The perfect hat can transform you!

2. Be brave – maybe chose your hat first and then dress around this, this way you will be more adventurous!  If you’re looking for a cocktail hat, be creative.

3. Try something that will give you height and make you feel elegant. 

4. Don’t be afraid of wearing something that has been made with unconventional millinery materials. This is something I love experimenting with as feel it adds a contemporary feel and it’s a challenge to ensure the hat is still glamorous. You may not imagine yourself wearing a hat with plastic pleats!

5. Remember that you are wearing the hat all day and we are in England.  You want to choose one that you will be comfortable in that fits securely.

6. Hats will extenuate your features, so you want to make sure you pick the perfect one to make you look your best.

3 common hat mis-haps

How To Wear A Hat This Summer: Tips From Ascot Milliner Kate Braithwaite

An example of what NOT to do [Getty]

 1. Don’t go over the top - If you’re wearing a bright outrageous hat make sure your outfit compliments this.  

2.  Don’t match everything – especially if you are wearing bold colours.

3. People often lack confidence and choose the safest option. A lot of my clients have said to me they don’t suit hats -  but seeing the transformation on a clients face and in their body language when they find the perfect one is fantastic!

See all the best (and worst) hats at Ascot in the gallery below and go to for more hat-spiration...


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