Hat Cost

Royal Hats Blog  Reader E. submitted the following question:

I love a lot of the hats that you show on your blog. How much do they cost?

Tough question. The short answer is: it depends. It depends on the designer, the complexity of the hat design, the cost of the materials the hat is made of and the circumstances around the purchase. Bespoke (custom designed hats) are more expensive than off-the-peg hats and I suspect that discounts are given when multiple hats are purchased. I think it’s important to remember that couture hats are very different in quality, material and design to what you might find in your local department store- just as a hand-beaded dress designed by Armani or Valentino is completely different to a machine made dress off-the-rack at Macy’s. The workmanship, materials and overall quality are very, very different and the price reflects that. I like to think about designer hats as similar to designer purses or shoes.

Here are some hats worn in the past year by the British Royal Family with current pricing:

Lock & Co Embed from Getty Images

The Duchess of Kent in “Tango” by Lock & Co Hatters, £395 on June 4, 2013

 Embed from Getty Images

Zara Phillips in “Zaphara” Couture by Jane Taylor, £855 on March 15, 2013

Nerida Fraiman SS640   Nerida Fraiman SS647

Embed from Getty Images

Princess Eugenie in June 18, 2013 “Meagan”, £285 and Princess Beatrice in “Imelda”, £330 both by Nerida Fraiman 

              Jane Taylor Lauren Embed from Getty Images

 Countess of Wessex in “Lauren” Couture by Jane Taylor £980 on June 15, 2013

Gina Foster Primula  Embed from Getty Images

Autumn Philips in “Primula” by Gina Foster £395 on June 20, 2013


Jane Taylor MadeleineEmbed from Getty Images

The Countess of Wessex in “Madeleine” by Jane Taylor, £850 on March 31, 2013

Jane Taylor Catherine Embed from Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge in “Catherine” Couture by Jane Taylor £910 on June 4, 2013

Olivia Roat FitzroviaEmbed from Getty Images

Autumn Phillips in “Fitzrovia” by Olivia Roat, £355 on March 15, 2013

Philip Treacy Wave Beret Embed from Getty Images

Lady Frederick Windsor in “Wave Beret” by Philip Treacy, £825 on June 5, 2012

                 Jane Taylor Aura Embed from Getty Images

Zara Phillips in Aura by Jane Taylor, £590 on March 12, 2013


      Jane Taylor Lady A Embed from Getty Images

The Countess of Wessex in “Lady A” by Jane Taylor, £1,545 on October 20, 2012

Before I am bombarded with comments about how expensive these hats are, let’s remind ourselves that these are designer made items (many are handmade). It is also is important to remember that even designer hats go on sale. Jane Taylor Millinery has a sale on right now that includes two gorgeous picture hats for £90 each (see here and here). A designer hat for £90?! I’m having to seriously restrain myself from buying one.

Photos of hat designs from Lock & Co. Hatters; Nerida Fraiman; Jane Taylor Millinery and Love Hats. Photos of Royals from Getty as indicated.


28 thoughts on “Hat Cost

  1. Hi just found your site by accident and I love it. What a great forum.
    I’m trying to find the pale pink hat with the rose under the brim that the dutchess of Cambridge wore a few months ago on the balcony of Buckingham Palace watching the colour of the troops.
    Cheers I’m confident that you can help me after looking at your pages.

  2. I’ve worn hats when they were in style and when they were out since I was 18. If anyone thinks the royals should donate all their hat-money to the poor, I say after you. There are few who are truly like Mother Teresa who gave her all. Most people who complain about things want OTHER people to give all their money to someone. As I said before, “YOU FIRST.” The royal hats are beyond wonderful and I only wish I had somewhere to wear every single one of them.

  3. Oh how I adore hats! I finally got rid of the ones I have had 25 years or more. They last forever and, if chosen well, will weather the fates and fancies of fashion and still look great! My only regret is the dwindling occasions to wear hats . . . 😦

  4. What a waste of money. There are starving children in the world and thesey royals who claim to live lives of “public service” spend their money on selfish baubles.

    • That’s your opinion and that’s fine. I happen to love hats and the tradition and formality that happens when a royal wears them. Just because a royal wears hats doesn’t mean they don’t do a lot of other good work too.

    • Yes there is always that point to make. I wonder why you are reading this blog though if you are offended by its content. I am a tertiary educated, professional person who has quite left-wing politics and has always worked in public health. But like many people, I am not without what could seem to be contradictory interests. I have an abiding interest in history and the role of monarchy. And I am interested in the lives of people who wear haute couture as part of their professional costume when they are performing in public. These hats are made by skilled artisans who are very fortunate if they get to sell them to rich people who lead public lives (perhaps as the front person who attracts donors to raise funds for starving people) because it means the milliner makes a living. The styles and colours influence other makers of hats who turn them out in their thousands for people who cannot afford couture but who want to look stylish – perhaps whilst they also are fundraising for starving people. Yes its shallow, but colour and movement help the world go round.

      • You make an excellent point. Artists and artisans have always depended upon royals and the wealthy to support their talents and craft. One may think of the wealthy as parasites, but without them there would be no fine art, music, jewelry or architecture. One can live without those things of course, but then you have, well…..the Soviet Union, which was a gray, soulless experiment that failed.

  5. I never thought of a hat like a handbag. If you pay more for a very nice handmade leather handbag you will be able to use it for our five times more than a cheaper one. I think because hats don’t go with everything and you can’t use them as much as a hadbag they still seem expensive but not as expensive as a designer handbag!

  6. I the most expensive hats are usually the uglies! LOL! I like the first pink one The Kent Duchess wore. That one wasn’t too expensive.

  7. In this, as in many other cases, you get what you pay for! And as hats are often repeated many times their cost can be justified. (See: Princess Anne) I would like to know more about hat storage, cleaning, etc. How often does a hat have to be cleaned? Are they stored in the round hatboxes we are accustomed to seeing in films, etc or in something more in line with the hat’s shape? How about the ones with large feathers like Sophie’s peacock up there? How is it stored/wrapped so that the feathers aren’t broken, smushed, etc. Everyone wants to play in the jewel vaults (me too) but I’d also like to explore the hat closets!

    • Interesting questions, Buffy. I have made a note and will do some research. I’ll do my best to find an answer for you in coming weeks. And I’m with you- I’d much rather play in the hat closet than in the jewel vault!

  8. I’m not shocked by the prices (mind you, I’m not buying one, either!), but by the fact that they don’t seem to come in sizes. As a person with a very large head, I can assure you one size does NOT fit all!

      • HatQueen, I am here to enable you! I am sure that you can google what the average size of a one-size -fits-all hat in Britain would be. And if the one-size hats you’ve tried on previously have fit you, well then, there wouldn’t be much of a risk, would there?!

  9. The couture millinery and the ladies pictured are so beautiful. It is a joy to open your e-mails and be greeted by them. Now I’m wondering, once the ladies shop and choose just the right hat to complement their features, do they all retain ‘dressers’ or ladies’ maids to help them assemble their ensembles for each event in their packed schedules, or are they able to match the perfect gown with the perfect hat and arrange their hair and perch their hats in just the right fashion themselves? They all seem so perfectly turned out day after day. Any comments?

    And yes, L90 for those hats seems like a steal, and I say go for it too!

    • Most Royal ladies have dressers and ladies maids. Many also have stylists. The stylist helps choose a hat and might offer suggestions on other outfits to wear it with. Clothes and hats are laid out and cared for by the dressers and ladies maids. Most royal ladies have a hair stylist as well who will do their hair on the day of an engagment. Queen Elizabeth is one of the few royals who will put her tiara on herself without a hairstylist.

  10. I am not that surprised, since my local milliner, for a bespoke hat, can charge up to 300-350€ (300£). They are certainely not high-quality couture hats like these you listed, but the quality is already way better than off-the-rack hats’.
    I thing the “Kate” design was customed for Catherine of Cambridge.

  11. Also, bespoke and all handmade hats, like bespoke or haute couture clothes, are professionally cleaned by hand and stored properly so that they preserve their quality for many years. You may not like her hats, but this is the reason Princess Anne can wear a hat made 30 years ago without it falling apart.

    • Very good point. That is what makes couture so special. Princess Anne’s ability to wear a hat or outfit 30 years after its first wearing speaks to incredible quality and care.

  12. I say don’t restrain yourself! £90 for something you could use over and over and over again, that would likely never go out of style? Winter coats cost more than that! Do it!!

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