Weddings: A head for hats?
by Lisa de Silva
A wedding invitation is a great excuse to buy a new hat. But do guests these days still wear them?
At the top end of British society, no special occasion – and particularly a wedding – is complete without a hat, with Samantha Cameron’s decision not to wear one to the royal nuptials described as ‘disrespectful.’ In fact, back in the day, it would have been disgraceful to venture out of the house without a hat on any occasion, as only beggars went bare-headed.
As with many of our traditions, the custom for wearing wedding hats has its origins in religion and dates back to when the Anglican Church required females to keep their heads covered when in church. While this rule has now been relaxed, many of us still enjoy the sense of occasion, fun and opportunity to make a fashion statement by wearing a hat.
Headpieces not only draw attention, they can also provide a flattering frame for the face, even though styles have, of course, changed over the years. The early 20th century fashion was for very formal hats, from the wide-brimmed chapeau worn by Audrey Hepburn, to the sophisticated pillboxes of Jackie Onassis and the neat, often veiled, cocktail hats favoured in the 1950s. However, during the Swinging Sixties, formal hat wearing began to decline as people felt it was too old-fashioned and conformist, and it’s been left to the modern day fascinator to revive the trend for wedding hats.
Fascinators consist either of a comb, hairclip or headband, embellished with feathers, beading, lace and flowers or, more creatively and flamboyantly, with small replica gardens, animals and fruit, as modelled by various celebrities. Even The Duchess of Cambridge likes them. The success of the fascinator is that it is less formal than a full coverage hat, it doesn’t ruin your hairstyle, it is light to wear and can be as bold, glamorous or modest as you like. Today, even brides themselves are choosing bridal fascinators over tiaras or wedding hats.
What’s more, wearing a fascinator means you don’t need to be mindful of wedding hat etiquette that requires ladies wait to remove their headwear until the mother of the bride removes hers. More importantly, there is no need to worry about helmet head hair, or the problem of where to put your hat once it’s removed.
Hats are fun, flattering and can transform your wedding outfit from stylish to stunning. So, Ladies, if you want to get ahead, get a hat!