Attending a wedding in the upcoming months? Looking for that special something to complement your outfit? Well, here at Chatelaine we’ve been hit with royal wedding fever, and have deemed extravagant hats (à la Kate Middleton) the perfect accessory.
“A wedding, whether it’s a royal one or a normal wedding, is quite a fancy affair,” says British manners expert William Hanson. “It’s something to celebrate…and because it’s quite an elaborate ceremony, it’s a good excuse to wear hats.”
Our favourite pick is this Kate Middleton-inspired Lilliput hat, designed and created by renowned milliner, Karyn Gingras.
Gingras was in Vancouver when the Royal engagement was announced, and she immediately thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to design a hat that would be inspired by [Kate]?”
Keeping to her Canadian roots, Gingras decided on a red hat with a sculptural crown, as a nod to the West Coast and the mountains. She stuck with the nature theme (she believes our “love of nature” is what makes Canada so compelling) by constructing a nest out of twigs and berries from her backyard. She then added an abstract bird for fun.
“I think [Kate] has a really good sense of humour,” said Gingras. “So it’s a very high style hat, but also a little kitschy, and I thought the colour and the shape and everything would look great on her.”
Each Lilliput hat is moulded on one of the wooden blocks that Gingras has collected for over 20 years, giving them a slightly vintage but sleek and modern look. Gingras’ traditional millinery has been open for 17 years, and her creations can be found in the closets of Sandra Oh, Whoopi Goldberg and Celine Dion.
If you do want to don a royal wedding-style hat, Hanson has these etiquette tips:
1. Make sure your hat fits properly: “A hat should be fitted properly, as it’s not really etiquette for ladies to hang onto their hats. You often see people walking down the road hanging onto their hats, and that’s a big no-no. It should be securely fastened. You should be able to test it, so if you hang your head upside down, it doesn’t fall off. And you should practice with your hairdresser, or if you don’t have a hairdresser, practice with your friend, or whatever.”
2. Do not wear a fascinator if you are older than 25: “The vogue has been for fascinators, which are these awful things that are not really hats. Some of them are like birds’ nests sitting on top of people’s heads. Kate Middleton and her mother have a penchant for these things, and they’ve often been pictured wearing such things. I personally can’t stand them, they’re a little bit twee, and you shouldn’t really be wearing them if you’re over about 25 in my opinion.”
3. Make sure your hat does not block the view of others: “Ladies are allowed to keep their hats on inside, but it would be bad form to obscure the view of the guests. So the brim shouldn’t be too wide, or too tall. Hats that are angular [do] help, as people can see past them.”
4. Men can wear hats too, but only outdoors: “If you’re a gentleman wearing a hat, you remove your hat when you go indoors. And when gentlemen are wearing top hats, they should be at a jaunty angle. They should not be sitting absolutely straight on the head; they should be tilted to one side.”
5. Your hat should touch your eyebrows: “You should pull the hat down to your eyebrows, if it can go that far. You don’t cover your eyebrows, but sort of pull it down as far as it should go.”
6. Ladies should remove their hats at the reception: “If they’re going to the evening event for this royal wedding, they may remove their hats, they may even change. And you don’t wear a hat with an evening dress. You may wear a tiara, but that’s not technically a hat, that’s a crown.”
The Kate Middleton hat is available at the Lilliput Atelier in Toronto at 462 College Street for $350.