Hat-Hunting Tips

I love helping customers find that perfect hat, a soon-to-be favourite – one that feels good, looks great, and is a natural extension of their personality.  Even if hat-wearing is unfamiliar territory, I always suggest to choose styles and colours that have an initial appeal – this is a great starting point. We often do have more style-sense than we realize. And often a second objective opinion can be very helpful – many a friendly passer-by has stopped in their tracks to offer up valuable feedback. Watching people try on hats is a fascinating and entertaining social experiment! Aside from a proper fit, I don’t believe there to be too many hard & fast rules – your intuition can often be your best guide.

I encourage everyone, regardless of their level of experience with hats, to experiment. Trying on many different types of hats will help develop a better sense of what feels right. If you haven’t worn hats for awhile you may find that the styles and colours which once worked for you may also have changed due to a new hairstyle, differences in your face shape and colouring, wearing glasses, and lifestyle changes.

Choose a hat that fits you properly. This is a priority if you want to feel truly happy with your purchase. A comfortable fit means ease of wearing – it will be effortless wearing your hat anytime. If you do find a hat style you love but it doesn’t quite fit, find out what sizing options are available.

What’s a good fit? The hat should be snug enough that it won’t flop around on your head, feel like it may fall off, or fall too low and obscure your vision. A hat that’s too small may give you a headache, not allow for air circulation, or at the very least leave an indent line on your forehead – not pretty.  A general guideline: there should be room for two of your fingers to slip under the band.

PROPORTION refers to the overall size of the hat, and should also be a consideration: i.e. – a larger hat silhouette is usually better for larger people; smaller people find balance in a more compact hat silhouette.

It’s very helpful to have a good idea of your head size. First, take a measurement of your head while referring to this diagram. To see how these measurements translate to common hat sizing, refer to this chart.

Another good indication of fit is the ALIGNMENT of the hat crown to your cheekbones: the sides of the crown should be somewhat flush with the outer edges of your cheekbones to be balanced with the face. (more on ‘face shapes’ below)

COLOURS – Look for a colour that brings out the best in your skin tone and hair colour. This is important as a hat frames and draws attention to the face. The colours next to your face can either flatter your skin tone by minimizing flaws and giving a healthy glow, or detract from your looks by accentuating lines and dark areas – especially around the eyes.

Think CONGRUENCY when considering your best colours and patterns. Most often people will naturally gravitate towards the colours that look good on them – usually the same colours of the clothing they normally wear. This generally works pretty well, as you’ll want the flexibility of wearing a hat with lots of different outfits.

If the bulk of your clothes are neutral tones, hats can be a fun way to add color and a bit of ‘oomph’. As an accessory item, a hat can also be a more subtle way to sport the latest colour trend. These colours for Spring/Summer have lots of ‘punch’ so it may make sense to wear them in smaller doses – like with a pretty hat!

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PATTERN and TEXTURE – If you have bold colouring (hair, skin tone) you typically suit more vivid hues, contrasting shapes and patterns and highly textural fabrics. Those with more delicate colouring usually find a tone-on-tone palette, small patterns and smoother fabrics have more appeal.  If you need help determining your best colours, this website takes you through the steps and is pretty straightforward.

Now it’s time to ‘work’ the hat on your head and play with the angle of the brim. Try tilting it slightly to the right or left to see how it feels, checking if it flatters your face on bit of an angle. This also helps emphasize the eyes by letting in some light, and helps to draw the viewer’s eyes upward. If you wear glasses, a tilt can give some breathing room for the frames. Try all other possible positions of the hat on your head: sideways, forward over your brow, even backwards. It’s often a surprise to see how a minor adjustment can make all the difference. Don’t forget to check out the back and sides with a hand mirror, and most of all, have fun!

Different styles of hats will flatter different head and face shapes, so it helps to be familiar with your own face shape. You may find a face shape chart helpful.

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As a general rule, those with round faces should avoid narrow-brimmed or close-fitting hats as they will make the lower part of your face look wider. Those with long faces should avoid a high crown as it will elongate your head. Heart-shaped faces should avoid wide-brims and baseball peaks which tend to obscure and add weight to the top half of the face while making the lower part of the face disappear. As you can see, when considering the right hat silhouette for your face shape, and the tilt or position of the hat on your head, it’s all about BALANCE: how the overall hat shape balances with your own face shape.

Consider other physical traits such as your height, weight, body proportion, neck length – does the hat provide balance and create a harmonious look with your body type? Try to get a full-body and back view of yourself in the hat. Don’t be afraid to ask another person for their feedback. As mentioned at the start of this post, friends, family, and even strangers passing by most often get a kick out of being asked for their opinion.

Your perfect hat should feel comfortable to wear, and bring out the best in you; it should add to your style, put a special twist on a simple outfit, and feel like it’s part of you. Wearing a hat with confidence is a remark-able thing. It’s certain that people will stop you to say “hey, nice hat!”, and even better “you look amazing!!”

Hope these tips help you find a hat that becomes YOU… enjoy!  Shari