Guarantee Your Hat-iness at the Epsom Derby – Part 2

You’ve read part one and have been inspired; the sinking feeling you felt at considering a hat for the Derby has disappeared. Congratulations! You – like us – have become hat converts…

…But you still have no idea what hat to choose. What’ll suit you? How will you find it?

Don’t worry, we have your back. Our hat guru, Helena Sheffied, is back with her top tips for finding your perfect hat for the Investec Derby Festival.


What’s hot in 2016

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to the Royal wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall at Canongate Kirk on July 30, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips will marry England rugby player Mike Tindall today at Canongate Kirk. Now that you’re well and truly hat-spired, you may be wondering what the key hat trends of 2016 will be. We’ve already seen a movement away from fascinators in recent years as people are gaining confidence and donning more daring headpieces (hurrah!). As we move into racing season now, it’s all about florals: these hats are often in muted pastel colours with subtle layers of flowers incorporated either in the fabric pattern or as embellishments. There is more emphasis on the height and size of the flowers this year, with bolder blooms taking preference over shrinking violets. The contrast between the soft colours and statement blossoms creates a sophisticated balance.


  1. Choose a theme for your outfit. This can be a colour, a fabric, a style (particularly if you want a vintage flair – consider which era you’re going for), and will help you begin your search. You may change your mind once you’ve found The Hat, but it gives you a good place to start.
  1. Determine your face shape. Look at our guide at the bottom of the page to see which hats best suit you: narrowing down your search is key at this point, and knowing what suits you as well as what you like will save time.
  1. Begin with the hat. It’s much easier to match the colours of a dress to the hat than the other way around.
  1. Size matters. If you’re not used to wearing hats, don’t feel pressured into wearing something big. The Derby accepts hats or “substantial fascinators”, and the last thing you want is to be distracted by an overbalanced hat all day. Start looking at pillboxes and sinamay berets. These are small, often simple, and perch on your head without getting in the way.
  1. Try everything on. Or, at least, as much as possible. It’s really the only way to understand what should be avoided at all costs, what makes you look positively magnificent, and everything in between.
  1. Check your sanity. Will there be an outfit that goes with this hat? Chances are there will be, but once you’ve settled on The Hat just ask yourself whether you’ll find a dress that really does match its gorgeous acid green tones. Yes? Then all that’s left to do now is sit and stare at it with pure glee. Congratulations, you’ve finally found your true love.

The Art of Wearing HatsThe Art of Wearing Hats

Hat connoisseur, Helena Sheffield, boasts a collection of somewhere over 40 hats!

Complete with tips on where to buy them, how to wear them, who wears them best, and the tricks of the trade, The Art of Wearing Hats is the ultimate pocket guide for hat novices and afficionados alike.

Buy it here.

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