Where To Find The Best Hats This Season

With the WEDDING and RACING SEASON in full swing there is no better time (or excuse) to don a great hat. THE GLOSS selects THREE TOP MILLINERS and asks them about their creations and styling tips …

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Aoife Kirwan

“The dreaded “fascinator” is long dead with stylish women now opting for proper hats and headpieces. Elegant wide-brimmed hats are a very popular choice for weddings and races. Classic “Jackie O” style pillboxes and Breton-style brimmed hats that sit on the back of the head, boaters and crowns have become very popular options.

Inspiration for my designs can come from anywhere from international fashion forecasts like Premiere Vision in Paris to being inspired by a new fabric, or being inspired by shapes and colours in nature, art or architecture. Ideas can come at any time which is why I have sketchbooks dotted all over my home and try to always have one with me on the go. My customers are my main influence as I try to create my collection to fulfill their needs with pieces to inspire, complete their look, give them confidence and make them feel amazing when they are wearing my designs.

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My biggest piece of advice is to try on as many styles as possible in a full-length mirror to find what works for you. In addition to your outfit being a guideline, remember your colouring, how you will be wearing your hair, your face shape, your figure, etc. A tall broad figure can look out of place with a tiny cocktail hat perched on top but can look very elegant with a beautiful wide brim which might drown and overwhelm someone with a petite build. A petite lady may benefit from a small to medium sized piece with trimmings that add height and lengthen the frame.”

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Kirwan’s hats are available at Arnotts. www.aoifekirwanmillinery.com.

Sarah Stephens, The Hat Society Dundrum 

“This is a busy time for us; we have one of the largest collections of hats for hire in Dublin and we also make to order. In fact, The Hat Society is a one-stop shop as we have other accessories to complete any outfit – whether for a wedding or race meet. We also have a selection of bridal hair accessories too.

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We always recommend that you bring in your outfit and also try on different shapes and styles – rather than be fixed on one idea. Our bespoke styles cost from €160, while hiring costs €60 for three days.

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We actually had a guest at Pippa Middleton’s recent wedding wear one of our hats and many were worn to Royal Ascot last week.”

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THE GLOSS can recommend The Hat Society’s hire service which we used for a recent wedding. Compliments were numerous and the accolade “best hat of the day” made this investment well worthwhile.

The Hat Society, Dundrum Station House 14, Taney Drive Dublin 14. www.hatsociety.ie.

Emily-Jean O’Byrne

“Hats can be key to the success for a winning outfit, and while anyone can wear a hat you need to be familiar with your face shape and the complementary hat styles. Keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to matching the hat to your face shape (sometimes it’s just trial and error and an instinctive feeling), and that there are some other considerations which can help in your final decision. For example, it can depend on the length and colour of your hair and, of course, the outfit you intend to wear the hat with.

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If you have a round face, balance the shape with an asymmetrical hat. Brims should be worn at an angle, not straight. Square faces look best when wearing a brim at a slant too.

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For oval face shapes, almost all hat shapes work well. However, be mindful that the crown is narrower than your cheekbones.

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I always ask my clients to bring their outfit when I am making a bespoke hat, rather than a colour swatch or material swatch. The hat colour does not necessarily have to match the shade of your dress or suit, often a lighter or alternative colour can add just the right amount of pop to enhance your overall look.”

1 St Augustine St, Galway. www.emily-jean.com.

Penny McCormick

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