Reader Trish recently asked, “Great royal hats are easy to spot. They just stand out as great! I can’t figure out exactly what the formula is that makes a hat great. What do you think it is?”
It’s a difficult question, Trish. I think there are a seven factors that make a great royal hat- here are the first three:
Click on any of the photos to jump over to original feature posts or photo sources for additional information.
1. Is the hat attractive on its own? If not, it’s not going to look better on even a royal head.
2. Does it flatter the person wearing it? No matter the design, a royal hat must look great on the person wearing it. If only more royals thought about what millinery styles work best for their face shape or hairstyle and what colours go best with their hair and skin tone! Look at the four queens below – the difference a flattering hat (right side of each pair) makes is staggering!
The most beautiful hat is nothing if it’s too small or too large (as are the four hats above) for the person wearing it. Look at the two hats worn by the late Princess Margaret below- both are dramatic pieces in fuchsia feathers. The first one is a better size for her face and body; together with Margaret’s coat, the ensemble is balanced. The second overwhelms the princess and looks as if it is about to swallow her for lunch. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s hat, while a work of art, is simply too big for her. The mass of ribbons, roses and feather trim is as large as her face and leaves her looking dwarfed in comparison.
A hat also has to have balanced proportions within itself. Princess Alexandra of Kent’s two grey picture hats, worn here just two days apart, couldn’t be more different, thanks to the too-high proportion of the first hat’s crown.
Picture hats, by their very nature, can be a proportion challenge. When done right, as these six are, however, they are stunning.
Jump over to this post for the remaining four factors that make a royal hat great. Thanks for your question, Trish!
Question 1 photos from: Julian Parker via Getty; Van Parys Media/Sygma/Corbis; Elisabetta Villa via Getty
Question 2 photos from: Julian Parker via Getty; Splash News via Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Mark Cuthbert and Chris Jackson via Getty; IBL via Svenskdam; Vladimir Simicek/isifa via Getty; NTB scanpix
Question 3 photos from: Mark Cuthbert, Tim Graham, Tim Graham, Mark Cuthbert, Ray Bellisario/Popperfoto, Tim Graham via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty, James Whatling/Splash News/Corbis; Pascal Le Segretain, Tim Graham, George de Keerle, Max Mumby/Indigo and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty