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The 5 Golden Rules of Hat Buying

Buying a hat for the first, or even fourth, time can feel like a bit of a minefield - so many styles and colours to choose from and where to begin?! There are some really simple rules that will make buying a hat much easier, and hopefully pretty foolproof. Give these a go and see how you get on. 

Penmayne of London hat stack - 5 rules of buying a hat

1. Keep It Simple and Buy Quality 

It's so easy to get a bit overwhelmed when faced with lots of different colours, shapes and funky hat bands, but unless you are an avid hat wearer (in which case don't let me stop you!) my advice would always be to keep it simple and go for quality.  Buy one good quality hat (for example a simple ladies' black fedora) that you can wear with lots of different things and will last you for years. It won't go out of fashion, will become a trusted wardrobe staple and will look and feel completely different from a cheaper version.

Penmayne of London grey fedora - 5 rules of buying a hat
Image credit: Pinterest 

2. Match Your Coats and Scarves 

I always ask customers about their coats and outerwear as a starting point - even their big jumpers and scarves - as this gives a pretty good indication of the colours you wear most and feel comfortable in, and of course are most likely to wear your hat with. The answer tends to steer either towards black and blue hats or towards brown and taupe hats, with grey sitting somewhere in the middle. So have a think about what colours you tend to wear and you might fall clearly into one of these camps. 

Penmayne of London hats and coats - 5 rules of buying a hat
Image credit: Pinterest

3. Think About your Skin Tone

As a hat sits right next to your face, it's so important to get the right colour for your skin tone; something that brings colour and warmth to your skin - you'd be amazed by how powerful the right colour can be. Here are some simple (but not steadfast!) rules:

Pale skin and light features >> go for darker colours like grey, brown, burgundy, green and dark blue and try to avoid lighter pastel colours. One exception is the combination of slightly older skin tones and grey hair which looks fab with neutral taupe and light grey. Be a little bit careful with black though, as this can wash out very pale skin. 

Olive-toned skin >> most colours will look great on you but try to go for shades that are either a little bit brighter or darker than the middle ground and not too close to your skin colour. 

Darker skin >> the world is your oyster! Avoid browns and keep some contrast in the colours that you wear. 

Penmayne of London navy blue fedora - 5 rules of buying a hat

And just a little word on hair colour. Dark blue and grey hats look amazing with blonde hair, green hats look amazing on redheads and burgundy and black hats look amazing with dark brown hair. Other than that, there are no rules.  

4. Choose a shape that suits your height and face shape

Try and stick to the following... 


If you're little, avoid wearing wide brimmed hats. Choose a brim that stays within the width of your shoulders and go for width across the hat rather than at the front (as this will drown you). Choosing a hat that's a similar colour to your outfit can also create the illusion of a few extra inches. A trilby or a medium brimmed fedora would work best. 

If you're tall, avoid small hats as they will look out of proportion with the rest of your body. Instead, you can wear wide brimmed hats and can carry contrasting colours more easily. Go for a wide-brimmed fedora or a less structured hat with a wide wavy brim and a rounded crown 

Penmayne of London floppy hat - 5 rules of buying a hat
Image credit: Pinterest

Face Shape

If you have a small face and delicate features, avoid wide-brimmed hats and opt for a style that has a smaller brim. You'd look great in a trilby

If you have a round face, avoid wearing hats with a rounded crown and instead go for something more angular like a trilby or fedora with some height in the crown. I'd suggest going for a fedora with a medium brim 

If you have a long face, go for a wider brim and a shorter crown to balance out the length of your face. You would look great in a wide brimmed fedora or a less structured hat with a wide wavy brim and a rounded crown 

5. Buy With Confidence  

Wearing a hat is a statement and you need to wear it with confidence. The first step is to buy with confidence; go for it and don't be scared. There is something very beautiful and elegant about a woman in a hat, so stand tall and enjoy the compliments that will start coming your way! 

Penmayne of London black fedora - 5 rules of buying a hat

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