Jul 09

How To Wear A Hat

A hat is  likely the most under-used accessory a  woman can wear, and especially for crossdressers as it conceals a large head while adding distracting but beautiful elements to your face. And hats are most certainly the forgotten accessory as you can see in this post on TG Forum.  Hats range from the pillbox made famous by Jackie Kennedy to the large floppy hat ever popular today. And don’t forget those large fur hats that add elegance to your winter wear or bejeweled and feathery fascinators that add incredible interest to the women wearing them.

But where to start: your face shape. In this video, Marilyn Hellman talks about the five general face shapes and the types of hats that flatter those faces. Marilyn is the owner of Marilyn’s (Distinctive European Fashion Boutique) located in Naples, Florida. This video is a great “how to” tutorial on how to choose a fashionable hat to enhance your own individual beauty.

Today’s most popular hat is an oversized hat which is a great way to cover up in the sun (and look really chic.), but there are definite Dos and Don’ts for wearing a big hat.

Don’t Wear a Hat That’s Too Big.


Charles Eshelman/Getty Images

Big hats may be the hottest look in fashion but that doesn’t mean that just any size will do: there is such a thing as having a hat that’s just entirely too big, like Donna Karan’s.

What we do love about Donna Karan’s look is that she wears her hat with complimentary neutrals for a finished head-to-toe look.

Do Wear an Oversized Hat in Proportion to Your BodyAudi At The Foundation Polo Challenge hat

While Nicollette Sheridan’s hat is definitely oversized, it still looks in balance with her body. She wisely chose a fitted dress that showed off her fit figure and kept the outfit neutral to make the hat stand out. She has the height and shoulder width to carry off the big hat without looking like the hat is wearing her.

"Life Happens" Special Screening hatDon’t Let the Big Hat Wear You.

Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet wears a large red hat that overwhelms her look and makes her entire outfit look costume-y. While we love color in hats, the combination of scale and bright color (in addition to being worn with a print and matching red belt) just make it all too much look

Do Wear a Big Hat to Ground a Print. Hat -Seen Around Lincoln Center - Day 7 - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Rachel Zoe wears a wide-brimmed hat that fits her petite frame just fine; she also uses the oversized hat to ground a floral print hat. It works because the base colors of everything are monochromatic (black) so the effect is sleek.

hat - alice + olivia By Stacy Bendet Hosts The Preview Of The Kelly By Kelly Killoren Bensimon Jewelry CollectionDon’t Overdo Your Outfit with Big Hat.

Polka dot shoes, sheer skirt and major necklaces? Each one of these elements are intense enough on their own, but combined with the floppy hat they are just too busy on designer Stacey Bendet.

Do Wear a Floppy Hat with a Simple OutfitProject Ocean Launch Party hat

Skip the maxi dresses, frills and piles of accessories with the floppy hat and go for a cleaner look like Tali Lennox does with her short wrap dress and floppy hat. Remember that the floppy hat itself makes a big statement, so don’t overdo the rest of the look.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Tribute To Sophia Loren and hatDon’t Be Too Matchy-Matchy with Big Hat.

White go-go boots, white fur, white dress AND a big white hat? Too matchy-matchy (and not in a good way) for Linda Ramone. While head-to-toe black can work with a big hat, almost every other color looks like too much of a good thing when you add a matching hat. If you like a tonal look, try mixing different hues of the same color together, like different shades of brown (chocolate, taupe and cream).

Do Wear a Casual Floppy Hat. Charlotte Ronson & Sephora New York Dinner hat

Skinny jeans, casual tee or sweater and a floppy hat: one of our favorite looks for hat wearers. Dani Stahl keeps the groovy floppy hat casual with her jeans look. Skinny jeans also look great tucked into tall boots and paired with a floppy brimmed hat.

Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic-VIP Marquee hatDon’t Dress Like a Witch.

A floppy brimmed black hat with all black clothing (especially a long black skirt?) It borders on a witch-like look for fashion designer Catherine Malandrino. Big floppy hats are a fashion statement all their own and work best with clean-lined simple clothing. We would’ve loved the big black hat with simple skinny jeans and a black shirt.

Do Go Ladylike with a Big Hat.

The big floppy hat is a great casual look, but the more structured styles can also look amazingly ladylike, like Evan Rachel Woods’s big hat. Complete your ladylike big hat look by pairing it with something distinctly feminine like a bowed blouse.

Here are some more tips on wearing a big hat stylishly, although ignore any advice on keeping it black. Follow the examples here and check out our Pinterest board on Hats Make The Difference.

Reprinted from About.com/Cynthia Nellis

Jul 09

A Short History of Women’s Hats

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

Phrygian cap and hats

Phrygian cap

One of the first hats to be depicted was found in a tomb painting at Thebes and shows a man wearing a coolie-style straw hat. Other early hats include the Pileus, which was a simple skull cap, the Phrygian cap, which became identified later as the ‘liberty cap’ given to slaves in Greece and Rome when they were made free men, and the Pestasos which comes from ancient Greece and is the first known hat with a brim.

Although women from an early stage were always expected to have their heads covered by veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples, it was not until the end of the 16th century that women’s structured hats, based on those of male courtiers began to be seen.

It was in the late seventeenth century that women’s headgear began to emerge in its own right and not be influenced by men’s hat fashions. The word ‘milliner’,   A maker of women’s hats,  was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and the northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called ‘Millaners’ from which the word was eventually derived.By the mid 1800’s Swiss and Italian straws, together with imitation straws made from paper, cardboard, grass and horsehair were available to women, along with the introduction of velvet and tulle.

Woman's Bonnet and hats

Woman’s Bonnet

During the first half of the nineteenth century the bonnet dominated women’s fashion, becoming very large with many ribbons, flowers, feathers and gauze trims giving an appearance of even greater size. By the end of the century, although bonnets were still prevalent, many other styles were to be found, including wide brims with flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque – feathers and veils abounded.

Although early in the 1900’s most hats were enormous and adorned with flowers, feathers, ribbons and tulle, by the mid 1920’s women’s hair had become much shorter with the shingle cut and the cloche, which hugged the head like a helmet with a very small brim, had come into fashion. Now, after World War 1, there was suddenly such a proliferation of styles and materials that many women had to rely on the advice of milliners.

From the 1930’s to the 1950’s it could be said that New York, with its many European immigrants had become the world’s leading millinery city, with department stores such as Sacs Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman leading the way with their own millinery workrooms.
During the 1930’s and 40’s the tendency was for hats to have higher crowns with smaller brims and once it was War-Time again, it was mainly the trims which were changed with women making do with turbans made from pre-war materials.

By the 1950’s the arrival of ready-to-wear clothes was robbing the milliners of their crucial part in the world of fashion. Equally during the War many women, who had not previously worked, found themselves employed and were then loathed to lose their new-found freedom and independence. This new situation meant, however, that they no longer had so much time or energy to spend on being fashionable.


Diana, Princess of Wales hats

Diana, Princess of Wales

In the 1960’s the hat was once again overtaken by wigs and hairdressers, who colored, back-combed and sprayed women’s hair into exotic ‘sculptures’. Both men and women also realized that they could dress less formally and the hat was inevitably a temporary casualty. However, in the 1980’s and 90’s there has been a revival of interest in women’s millinery. This was instigated, to a large extent, by public figures such as the late Princess of Wales’s enthusiasm for wearing hats. Many new hat designers have emerged because of this, and therefore has made the 90’s a very innovative and diverse period for hats.

Since their invention, hats have come and gone as status symbols, uniforms and fashion statements as well as being functional sports and protective headgear.

There are still, and presumably always will be, two basic styles – brimmed and brimless – and two basic forms – caps and hats. Milliners take these shapes and with the aid of many trims and details, create a never-ending range of hats for men and women.

Let’s then take a quick at the variety of hats, caps and bonnets from the victorian era to the present century. Check out this timeline from 1400 to present and then the video below.

Then Justne Leconte tells us about 22 common types of hats worn by men and women

In America, there were no greater curators of women’s headwear than the hat ladies of Charleston

This is followed by some unusual if not distinctive hats and two how to wear videos, the first on dressy hats and the second on casual hats. I hope you enjoy them.

How to Wear a Casual Women’s Hat

How to Wear a Dressy Women’s Hat

If we haven’t overwhelmed you yet with our version of hatorama, then you can read the long history to your heart’s content on Wikipedia.

Reprinted from Hatsuk.com



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