Celebrity milliner Stephen Jones shares guide to choosing the perfect hat

With wedding season and race season nearly upon us, it's time to invest in a good hat to top off your formal outfits.

Celebrity milliner Stephen Jones, who has created headgear for stars including Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga and Madonna, shares his guide to modern hat etiquette with HELLO! Online.

 

Stephen with Dita von Teese



As clichéd as it sounds, a hat really finishes off a look…
A hat can make ordinary clothes look instantly dressed up. If you’ve got a hat on, you can get away with murder! You’ll always get served first and you’ll always get to the front of the queue – always. Hat-wearing is all about etiquette and it’s funny to play with that, and with dress-up.

Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to buying a hat…
Hats are such a statement so it’s good to go to a department store like Debenhams where they’ve got lots of different hats and you can try on lots of different styles. Take a hand mirror with you, so you can see what the back looks like. And just literally try every single style on, until you find one which works.

Get a hat to suit your face, as opposed to your clothes…
Because if it suits your face, you’ll feel comfortable and it will just go with your clothes. The worst thing is to feel awkward. That’s why my hats in the Debenhams collection come on bands to easily position them correctly on your head.

 

Stephen posing with Erin O'Connor



I think it’s better to get the clothes right first…
I’d love to say put the hat on first! But the reality is finding the right fit with clothes is more difficult, let alone what style suits you! In fact, that’s really why I wanted to do something like this with Debenhams, design hats that go with their more dressed up looks.

There are so many British occasions where you do need to wear a hat…
You can wear hats to weddings, races, christenings, Bar Mitzvahs. Hats are for wearing when you’re going to a party. To wear when you’re feeling a bit glum or need to give your outfit a lift. It’s fun to wear a hat, because how often do we get the opportunity to dress up?

Ascot has banned fascinators but they’re right to do so…
It’s a daytime event, people are usually wearing coats and you need something a bit more substantial than a fascinator to balance out a tailored shoulder. Fascinators are great for evening with a cocktail dress – it’s just so glamorous.

I think you do need a wardrobe of hats…
You need a hat for a special event; you need a straw hat to keep the sun off your face on holiday; you need a beanie hat for winter; you need a little fascinator you can wear in the evening - or a tiny fascinator for smart post-work events that you can put in your handbag and you can put that on to smarten up and you feel different too.

Top Hat by Stephen Jones is available exclusively at Debenhams in store and online now at www.debenhams.com. Prices range from £30 to £110 to suit all budgets and occasions.

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