How to shop for your perfect hat

With Royal Ascot drawing closer, here’s how to make the right choice of millinery

As the season’s most stylish events approach – including Royal Ascot, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the Henley Regatta – it’s the perfect time of year to invest in some new millinery. But with a host of hatters to choose from, where you can find sartorial guidance?

For the ultimate stress-free shopping experience, book an overnight stay at the luxury Mayfair hotel Dukes London, which has exclusively partnered with Lock & Co Hatters to help you source your ideal headwear. The British milliner will provide guests at Dukes with complimentary services including hat fittings, top-hat polishing, and band and bow changing – all with the goal of minimising hassle for fashion-conscious travellers.

Hat, £945, Lock & Co Hatters

Gentlemen will find plenty of choice at Oliver Brown, the UK’s oldest independent top-hat specialist, whose store on Lower Sloane Street stocks more than 400 antique silk-top hats alongside plenty of contemporary options. Last-minute shoppers will also be relieved to hear that the brand will have a presence at Royal Ascot itself, hosting a top-hat area within the Ascot shop.

Top hats, from £200, Oliver Brown

It’s always worth attending a professional fitting to ensure that your new hat sits perfectly: ideally, it should be positioned about half an inch above the ear, and should be flat on the head, rather than tilted forwards or backwards. Watch Oliver Brown’s video below for helpful tips on exactly how to wear yours:


Still not sure where to look for your hat? Consider selecting a piece from one of the exclusive capsule collections launched in honour of the season. There’s the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective’s elegant eight-piece range, featuring exquisite creations by a selection of Britain’s most talented designers (see pictures here); or there’s Maison Michel’s ‘50 Shades of Sky’ collection of four hats, inspired by the changing skies above Royal Ascot.

Hat, £555, Maison Michel



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