Wednesday, 28 January 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

A fun way to add pizazz to your look, hats can change the feel and attitude of an outfit even just with a slight tilt of the brim. Choosing the best hat to suit your style can be easy if you know what to look for. It's all about face shape, brim size, and paying attention to features you want to highlight or camouflage.

These guidelines apply to both men’s and women’s hats.

Start with Face Shape

Knowing your face shape is important for buying a hat that’ll rock your wardrobe. To figure it out, stand in front of a mirror and take a piece of soap (or lipstick, eyeliner, eye pencil, or dip your finger in lotion, shampoo, or toothpaste; anything non-permanent) and trace the outline your face on the glass. When you stand back, you’ll be able to see that your face is one of the shapes listed below.


  • Oval faces suit almost any hat. Lucky you!

  • Wear your hat straight across your brow, forward above your eyes, or back along your hairline. A slight tilt also works.

  • Make sure the crown of the hat is wider than your cheekbones.

  • Shapes to try out include streamlined, square- or round-crowned, and brims swept up on the side(s) or back.

  • Avoid hats that are asymetrical or that have odd proportions, which will disturb your balanced look.


  • Look for hats that give the illusion of length. (Think oval.) For example, small-brimmed hats with a high crown.

  • Sleek, simple styles with clean lines can counter-act facial roundness. (Again, think oval.)

  • You can wear asymmetric shapes, or on an angle for some attitude

  • The crown of the hat should be wider than your cheekbones.

  • Avoid hats with a short crown and/or a small rounded brim (e.g. like flower pot or pork pie hats). These will just make your face look wider. 


  • To break up the length of your face, choose medium to wide, straight-brimmed hats and wear them straight across or forward. (A forward tilt will make you look both stylish and mysterious.)

  • A short, snug crown, or a hat that covers your forehead also helps minimize length.

  • Styles to try include sharp, clean lines, but floppy, curvy hats work too (e.g. berets). Play around with feature details, like a feather, flower or ribbon.


  • Hats with curvy lines (e.g. for women, think soft and feminine; for men, think big and floppy) help minimize an angular face.

  • Look for large brims you can wear upturned, as well as round or curved-edge square crowns with some height.

  • Crowns should not be wider than the cheekbones.


  • Read the round and square guidelines.

  • Think “lift”, for example, Bretons, upturned brims, and pillboxes (women) worn back on the head.


  • You can wear asymmetrical designs with square or round crowns. Try tilting them to the side for some flair.

  • Look for hats with soft curves, and medium-sized brims. (Avoid large brims, which will just widen the look of your forehead. Small brims will also highlight a wide forehead.

  • Choose moderate crown heights and crown widths that are narrower than your cheeks.

Camouflage Tricks

If you have some facial features you’d like to camouflage, hats can help.


A prominent nose can be balanced with a hat that sits forward on your head. Brims and peaks can counteract the shape of your nose. For example:

  • Wide noses are camouflaged by both a narrow brim and/or a higher crown (peak), especially one that is pinched in at the front. Add height with a narrow, contrasting hat band.

  • Long noses can be balanced with a shorter crown that is rounded. (Avoid tapers.) Try on a wide, colourful hat with a wide brim turned up, or a wide-brimmed (brim upturned) Fedora or felt Safari hat.


A wider brim and a full crown of moderate height helps balance prominent ears. The wider the better. Don’t roll the brim; instead, snap it downwards.  Styles to try include a Slouch, Gambler, and even a large-brimmed Panama.


An upturned brim helps balance prominent eyebrows, and a fully-snapped (down-turned) brim will cover them. Avoid light colours since they will make eyebrows stand out. Styles to try include a Homburg, a Bowler, or a felt Safari hat with the brim snapped down.


If your jawline is broad, avoid large crowns and brims, especially ones that are snapped up in the back. Short to medium crowns are your best bet. Side dents and a medium brim snapped downward work well. Try on a Fedora with a dented crown.

If your jawline is receding, go for a low, tapered crown with a narrow hatband, balanced with a flat or slightly downturned brim. Try a Porkpie style or a narrow-brimmed, short-crowned Fedora.

Other Guidelines

Body type

  • Petite people can wear hats with low crowns and small brims. Avoid big-brimmed hats.

  • Short people can get away with long-crowned hats, which can give the illusion of height.

  • Tall people can wear wide-brimmed hats with shorter crown. Avoid narrow, angular shapes.

  • Large people can wear full-brimmed hats to provide overall balance.

Styling an Outfit around a Hat

  • Don’t let a hat overpower your outfit. A dressy outfit works best with a simple hat, and vice versa.

  • For a tailored appearance, match your hat to one wardrobe item, like your belt, shoes, or purse, but not all three at the same time.

  • In spring, wear light colours and straw fabrics. In winter, wear heavier fabrics and felt halts.

  • Choose hat colours based on colours that go well with your complexion. A coloured brim can accent your eye colour. For women, match your make-up to your hat, and a bright lipstick with a bright hat.


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