How to choose a Wedding Hat

How to choose a Wedding Hat

We firmly believe there’s a hat or fascinator to suit every face, and our fabulous Nigel Rayment exclusives are the perfect finishing touch for your wedding outfit.

Our advice is always to try on lots of different styles – most of us aren’t used to wearing hats on a regular basis, so don’t instantly know what will work for us. And it can be fun trying on the many different shapes and styles you will find in our London and Manchester boutiques. We find you will need several hours trying on different hat and outfit combinations before you find the one.  While there are no hard and fast rules, here are a few key tips to help you choose the perfect hat.

Get the colour right

Bold colour can work well as a contrast to neutrals (for instance red with navy), especially when you pick out the hat colour in shoes or bag for a co-ordinated look. A plain hat usually works best with a patterned outfit unless the hat has been perfectly matched. Nigel Rayment’s exclusives are designed to co-ordinate perfectly with each of our designer outfits, so we’ve done the hard work for you.

Tip: The hat really needs to work with your hair and skin tone because it’s right next to your face, and sometimes this can be a starting point for deciding on the whole outfit. Pales and neutrals tend to be flattering choices for most.

Right hat, right place

At the risk of sounding obvious, do consider where the wedding is taking place. If this is likely to be a windy location, you will need a hat that has staying power so that you don’t have to hold on for dear life. And a small hat, fascinator or the halfway house (a ‘hatinator’) may be more appropriate for afternoon-into-evening events where you don’t want the hat to become a distraction. But for a high-summer gathering where you want a dramatic effect and shade from the sun, a larger scale hat looks wonderful and is also practical.

Tip: Many of our hats are made in sinamay, which is a versatile and high quality natural fibre (made from banana palm) that retains both its shape and colour. It’s also light to wear – a key consideration at warmer weddings.

Larger hats

A large hat can be dramatic and super-flattering, but on petite faces or frames it may be overwhelming if it’s worn square on or exceeds the width of your shoulders. If it doesn’t feel right, try tilting the hat at a jaunty angle so that it points upwards to give the illusion of height, or try a hat with a higher crown and shallower brim to give the illusion of height without swamping your features. We offer many larger hats that are designed to be worn at an angle so they flatter and reveal more of your face – a key consideration when photography is involved.

Tip: Consider a hat with a shallower front brim to show off more of your face and ensure your hat doesn’t stop you meeting and greeting your guests.

Smaller hats

Smaller hats are often flattering on more petite faces and frames, especially if you have a looser or longer hairstyle, but ensure the design doesn’t look unbalanced with your outfit – especially if you have a tailored jacket with structured shoulders. Smaller hats worn at a jaunty angle or to the side of the head can be very effective in ensuring your look remains structured and balanced – also adding height.

Tip: Smaller hats can be especially effective if you want to show more of your hair. Also consider a fascinator.


Hugely popular, fascinators are flattering for all face shapes and also very easy to wear. In most cases, the fascinator is designed to be worn at an angle and the band that holds it on will help you position it just right and ensure it stays firmly in place. Fascinators are effective with both structured and floaty and cocktail-style wedding outfits, and extra details such as feathers and sequins add day-into-evening glamour.

Tip: Bands on fascinators can be revealed or concealed – we advise you to speak to your hairdresser if you are looking to conceal the fascinator band.

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