One Coat, Four Hats

Royal HatsWhen the Duchess of Cambridge appeared in Ireland last month in a new hat paired with her gold brocade coat by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, I promised a look back at the three other hats she has worn with it. Today, I’m making good on this promise- here are the four hats Kate has paired with this go-to coat:

Look 1: At the May 6, 2006 wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopez in a cream cocktail hat with feather explosion trim by Yvette Jelfs

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Look 2: With a Jane Corbette designed black pillbox percher hat trimmed with bow tails and a net veil, worn to the May 1, 2010 wedding of Oliver Baker and Melissa Nicholson

Kate Middleton, May 1, 2010 in Jane Corbett | Royal Hats  Kate Middleton, May 1, 2010 in Jane Corbett | Royal Hats  Kate Middleton, May 1, 2010 in Jane Corbett | Royal Hats

Look 3: With Gina Foster’s famous ‘potato chip’ vertical wave design in natural pinok pok straw, trimmed with a large silk rose and pleated straw bow on the underside of the hat, worn to Zara and Mike Tindall’s wedding on July 30, 2011

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Look 4: In a teardrop shaped percher hat with swirled sinamay rose centre by Lock and Co., worn in Northern Ireland on June 14, 2016

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

We have talked before that pairing a cream coloured hat with this coat runs the high risk of a resulting ensemble that looks “all rather biscuit”. I have a hunch that one of these hats will be your overwhelming favourite but I’m curious about what makes your favourite pairing here tops for you. Is it shape? Scale? Colour? Do tell!

Photo from Getty as indicated; Rex Features

33 thoughts on “One Coat, Four Hats

  1. I adore the potato chip. Always have. I strongly dislike the cinnamon bun, worn with this coat or not. The black hat is generically inoffensive but too stark for this coat, and the feather-splosion is fun, but not really my style.

  2. I like them all! True, I like the large statement hat best, (texture, shape, trimmings) but I don’t dislike the others. I think the black hat should go with a different outfit. It’s really nice in an understated way. I also like the cinnamon bun, although it’s not exciting. I think it might be better in a different color — say a pink or coral. The feathered fascinator (or percher?) is my least favorite, but it is still lively and youthful.

  3. My vote:
    #1 the potato chip hat (as they call it) a very elegant look
    #2 the feather explosion but those tendrils coming down into my face would drive me crazy and with that much going on I think it would have been better if her hair was pulled back instead of floating around making the whole look a bit all over the place.
    #3 the small black hat…not flashy but simple and clean
    #4 the rose hat….just not a fan of this one, it seems too clunky or something

  4. My favourite hat is definitely the splendid Zara wedding one. I also think it makes the best of this coat out of the four looks, as it adds some much needed oomph (which some complementary colour might otherwise do). I don’t at all mind the other 4 hats, and the last one is really interesting, if somehow a bit stolid-looking. I don’t like Kate’s hair over her ear with it, though, for some reason – it looks better in the photo from the other side!

  5. If it were just a case of which hat is my favourite, it would be Potato Chip…but considering which hat looks best with this particular coat, I would say:
    1) Black. I LOVE the colour contrast, and the simple design of the hat allows the coat to make its own statement.
    2) Cinnamon swirl. Although I would like to tweak the design, the hat’s texture and colour work flawlessly with the coat – a great monochrome effect.
    3) Feathers. This hat looks dated when worn with cascades of hair, but if worn with an updo, it’s an interesting texture complement for this textured coat.
    4) Potato chip. To my eye, the coat texture looks too fussy and overdetailed when placed next to the smooth sleekness and drama of the Chip. I prefer to see a big statement hat like this coordinated with a more minimal, simple style of coat

  6. I really like the feather explosion, I remember thinking at the time that it was such a polished ensemble, so we’ll put together, and she was only 24! The potato chip is of course a winner, she can really do these big hats and I hope to see it again. I don’t hate the rose swirl, just with this hat (I’ve been swayed by mass opinion) it’s all a bit bleh…

    I have to say though, I’m ready for this coat to be retired. She’s had good wear from it, I’m just finding it a bit dated now… (Or is Kate going to do a Princess Anne and be pulling this out of the cupboard in 40 years time!)

    • I like the coat. Maybe we’ve seen it a few too many times, but wearing it to so many weddings takes the camera’s eye off her somewhat, and puts it back on the bridal party. I know she has attended many other weddings in different outfits, but I think that is a good strategy for staying out of the limelight.

  7. Another vote for potato chip – as for the reason: it came at a time when I thought the Duchess would never ever let go of her love for fascinators and cocktail hats. It was probably not the first time she wore a big hat but it was the first time I took notice and it gave me hope she’d become a bit more adventurous – as she did.

  8. The first look is classic Kate, and while it’s a bit ridiculous, it still remains one of my favorite, and one of her most iconic, looks.

    The second hat just doesn’t look good on her at that event and seems to be at odds with the coat for some reason, but she wore this cocktail hat better at Peter and Autumn Phillips’ wedding (although I think it’s too funereal for a wedding in general).

    The third is definitely the best because the hat, coat, and overall look is very polished, and because it’s not a cocktail hat! But the all-beige look does lose a few points from me.

    The fourth is my least favorite hat because I just don’t like it, but I think it works much better than the black hat. And I like her hair in this side chignon for something different.

    • I agree with all your points.

      The potato chip hat is great scale-wise, but the color is a pass for me. I would agree that the feather percher (look 1) is the best look with that coat as it adds more color and dimension.

      Emphatic pass on that “rose” hat.

  9. I’m with everyone else on the glory of the potato chip hat. It’s just wonderful. But I want to give a shout out to the feathers- I think that hat is fun and not actually too much. I think it would have been shown to much better advantage with better hat hair.

    • So agree. Potato chip heads up! But the feather hat is magnificent, even if her hair isn’t. Hats just seem better with updos.

  10. The potato chip for the win. It is dramatic in its simplicity and it looks really lovely on the flower side, especially with the sun shining through it. Also Kate’s half up hairdo is perfection.
    I also like the fun nature of the feather explosion. The black hat is fine for a serious outing. I don’t care for the cinnamon bun at all, too squat, too thick, too bland…

  11. Another vote for the potato chip! It’s not just the scale and flower trim, but the wave and angle that give this piece the drama to break up the biscuit look.

    I really the the cinnamon roll, too, but that one would work better against some color. The black doesn’t do anything for this coat, and the feathers are just silly.

    Thanks for the fun post, HatQueen!

    • Potato chip all the way.It’s totally about the drama. It’s a LOOK for once instead of the cutsey small hats she wears a lot.

      The first one with feathers is also a look but not a good one. There was once a video here with a hatmaker that called some hats chicken’s bums. This is totally a chicken bum.

  12. Potato chip for all the reasons mentioned. The scale keeps it interesting despite the monochromatic color scheme, but it’s a large, smooth piece, so it’s not competing with the texture on the coat. The feathers are ok, but I would rather see them with a chocolate brown coat. The black is just out with the color of the coat. I have struggled for weeks to ID why I don’t like the most recent hat (it seems like it “should” work), and I think it is actually competing with the coat texture. A simpler style in this size range might work just fine. I would also like to see this coat tried with other colors, maybe gold or even crimson.

  13. For me it has to be the gorgeous Gina Foster hat – the rose and bow underneath is lovely and scale of the hat is so good – she can do big hats. I agree that the colour is all a bit biscuit as you say but shape wise GF wins.
    I quite like the tear drop percher apart from the colour. As it has often been in the past with Kate it is about her hair – such a mess with the feather cocktail hat and not much better with the black hat. It would seem that she is learning how to have her hair to best show her lovely face and her hats to their best advantage. Well done to her hairdresser who seems at last to have got her hat hair right!

  14. My favourite is the wonderful hat at Zara’s wedding. Reasons include is that it is a statement hat – a real wedding celebration hat which stands out.

    I don’t like fluffy fascinators – looks like a bird has died on her head; the black hat is “office” rather than wedding (not literally of course) or worse – funeral.

    I have realised that Zara’s wedding came close to “all a bit biscuit” but this glorious hat saved it.

    Less said about the last hat the better IMO.

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