In days gone by no respectable lady would have even thought about leaving the house without her hat and gloves on. Over time, the convention of hat-wearing slipped by the wayside, and women everywhere started going bareheaded. Because of this, vintage hats are comparatively cheap to other vintage accessories. But how to wear them? And even more confusing, how to look after them? Angel Cutsforth has asked some of her vintage blogger friends for their top tips when it comes to vintage hats.

Kristin of Leproust Vintage suggests that a vintage hat can be worn with a vintage outfit to create a ‘period’ look or with modern clothing to create an edgy and fashion-forward style. “I think a vintage hat wearer cannot go wrong styling the hat in her own way, whether it be with other vintage, or modern piece.”

“Frank Sinatra himself said: “Cock your hat – angles are attitudes”. This tip is fantastic, because sometimes a hat can look ridiculous until you angle it forward, backward or to the side. German stylist Alex Kruse, when showing Jodie Kidd around Berlin, said that smaller hats and fascinators should be worn more on the right side of the head. One of my personal mantras is that berets should be worn slouching to one side or to the back. It creates a style that looks relaxed but still stylish and polished. Just play around and experiment with angles.”

Hailey of Style Symmetry talks about how to wear specific types of hats and gives some inspiration. “Honestly, I constantly hear comments like ‘I could never wear a hat like that’ or ‘I can’t pull that off’. But all you really need to wear hats is a love of hats. A beret is super cute with a skirt and fitted blouse or will spice up a basic pants look. A special hat is great with a more simple outfit to let the hat stand out, think a solid printed dress or basic black and white look. Wide-brimmed sunhats are for just that, sunny days. They work great with sundresses, flowy maxi dresses or wearing with shorts and your bikini at the beach. Sun hats are the perfect way to help protect your hair, scalp and face from the hot summer sun.”

“Menswear inspired hats like the bowler or structured brown tweed are great with a fitted business-like vest to go for an androgynous look, neutral colors for a pulled together casual look or really top it on any look and see if it looks good (hint: it probably will).”

untitledAya of Strawberry Koi Vintage gives a top tip about where to get inspiration from: “I definitely recommend looking at vintage photos for inspiration on how to wear vintage hats. But something I’ve learned is that hats were barely that, they were more like berets or fascinators, often tipped to the side and pushed towards the front of the crown, while headband types of hats go far back on the crown. Hats are meant to ‘frame the face’ and were always placed more artistically rather than for practicality. For cleaning your hat, a gentle spot cleaner (I use one that came with a dry cleaning kit, from Wall-Mart) would be best, or maybe a simple baby wipe.”

Andi.B. Goode knows a thing or two about hat hair: “I don’t have any tips on how to avoid hat hair because I never take my hats off once they’re on, otherwise my outfit goes off kilter! It is my firm belief that the most important part of any outfit is hair, and an outfit with a hat is no exception. I think hats are made to accentuate or finish off a hairstyle – not hide it! Many vintage hats just don’t sit right without a vintage hairstyle, even if it’s just a matter of curling your hair.”

Andi B. Goode also gave some great tips for protecting feathers on hat:s “If you are worried about your feathers disintegrating or going out of shape and they can be removed from the hat, take them off while the hat’s being stored and wrap them gently in some tissue paper and store in a safe place until you’re ready to wear the hat again.”

il_430xN_34999003Solanah of Vixen Vintage, an expert on hats, gave some great advice on caring for hats. “All hats should be stored away from direct sunlight, not to say they should always be in hat boxes, but if there is a wall of shelf facing a window that brings in sunlight, avoid it and choose another location for your hats. Straw hats should be brushed regularly if they are not constantly in use. Take a baby brush (it has soft bristles) and gently brush away any dust collected.”

“This method can also be used for felt hats, but with a brush with stiffer bristles. All hats stored flat, such as in hat boxes should be stuffed in the crown with acid free tissue paper of unbleached muslin. This will keep its shape between wearing, and prevent any warping or bending that can damage the structure or design.”

“If you have a misshapen hat, all you need to do is boil some water in a tea kettle until the water steams. Hold the hat a few inches over the spout at the warped spot. Hold for a few seconds then take it away and shape it with your fingers. Make sure not to let felt steam too long or it will shrink.”

“My tip for storing hats is that if hat boxes are limited, put berets at the bottom of you box laying flat  and then put another hat on top. Down the sides you should be able to place some simple fascinators (nothing to elaborate since the feathers will disintegrate). Fill the top of the hat box with tissue paper and close.”

4 Responses

  1. Lisa Prest

    and always store hats crown down, not brim down. My millinery teacher never stopped telling me off for this.

  2. Solanah

    Thank you so much for including my advice! And it’s wonderful to learn new tips as well 🙂