The perfect hat

Lis Merrick

Lis Merrick wearing By Betty

This month, for the first time, I’ve invited Beth at By Betty Bespoke Headwear to write a guest blog.

I was introduced to the wonderfully talented Beth by Lis Merrick, a client of mine. Beth made Lis a stunning bespoke hat for a wedding. I’m sure you’ll agree, she looks amazing and I wanted to share with you Beth’s advice on choosing the perfect hat. Enjoy!…

Summer is finally here; time for weddings, trips to the races, garden parties and of course HATS!

I believe hats are the most exciting of accessories; they offer an opportunity to express ones personality, complete an outfit and transform the wearer!  As Martha Sliter once said  “Wearing a hat versus not wearing a hat is the difference between looking adequate and looking your best”.

Many people are a bit fearful of hats. I have often heard the phrase “Oh hats just don’t suit me”.  Nonsense! “Saying you don’t look good in a hat is like saying you don’t look good in shoes!” (anon.).  It’s all about finding the right hat, a hat that suits your personality, a hat that makes you stand taller and smile at yourself in the mirror.

Finding your perfect hat

There are various things to consider when choosing your headwear and I’ve outlined below some of the generally accepted ‘rules’ when it comes to choosing headwear to suit your face shape.  However, my advice is always to be open-minded and try as many different hats and fascinators as you can. Quite often people are surprised by what does and doesn’t suit them.

The good news is, having a unique piece of headwear made for you is not as expensive as you might think.  As a bespoke milliner, all my hats are hand-crafted to order with prices ranging from £75 to £200.  From my studio in Ilkley I can create your dream hat in whatever colour, shape or size you like; and you can be sure no-one else will be wearing one the same!

Choosing headwear to suit your face shape

If you have a round face, choose headwear with some height to help lengthen and narrow the face.

Square-shaped faces suit hats with irregular brims and headwear worn at a slant.

Narrow, oblong shaped faces look best in wide brims and should avoid high crowns and narrow brims.

If you have an oval shaped face, you’re lucky, almost any hat shape will suit you!

Style of outfit

It goes without saying your headwear must complement the style of your outfit.

A very tailored outfit would work well with a tailored hat, such as this angle-crowned cloche or this beret.

Swirl and Twirl Cloche

Swirl and Twirl Cloche

Frivolous feathered beret

Frivolous feathered beret








Whilst a softer, less structured dress would better suit this feminine cloche, a large brimmed hat or for something smaller, and easy to wear, this floral inspired fascinator.

Darling Buds Cloche

Darling Buds Cloche

Picture Perfect hat

Picture Perfect Hat

Two Tone Poppy Fascinator

Two Tone Poppy Fascinator









The colour of your headwear is extremely important; it’s worn next to the face so it must be of a flattering hue.

Headwear no longer has to be the same colour as your outfit; indeed dressing from head to toe in one colour can look over the top and be quite un-flattering.  Consider picking up an accent colour from your outfit, choosing a colour to tone with your outfit, or if you want to make a bolder statement, pick a contrasting colour for your headwear.

Hats vs Fascinators

Fascinators are sometimes considered a ‘poor relation’ to hats, but a fascinator can be more than a few feathers stuck on a headband.  The right fascinator can have just as much impact as a hat, plus there’s the added benefit of no hat hair to worry about!

Carnival fascinator

Carnival fascinator

Calla Disc fascinator

Calla Disc fascinator

Deco fascinator

Deco fascinator








So next time you have a special occasion, think hats and make your summer a summer of fabulous headwear!


For more information and to see further examples of Beth’s work please visit her website or visit her Facebook page.

By Betty

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