Tags: Norfolk

How to wear that hat

09 Feb 2014

How to wear that hat

Don’t groan when the bride says she wants everyone to wear a hat. The experts promise that with help to find the right one you’ll look fabulous.

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There is a hat to suit every woman and every woman suits a hat.

The firm belief of Margaret Sims and she ought to know, she’s been in the hat hire business for 10 years and with 900 or so hats and fascinators in stock, she’s helped thousands of women find the perfect hat.

Weddings are the perfect occasion for hat wear, the opportunity to really enjoy dressing up with the ideal outfit and accessories, but take your time, advised Margaret.

Choose the stunning outfit first and then find the hat for a wedding – unlike outfits for racing when it’s typically the hat that takes centre stage and the dress is secondary.

So, find the outfit and wear it when trying on hats, and try on plenty. It helps to try hats of the same shade as the outfit and hats of contrasting colours to decide which is preferred.

“Often women don’t know what they want to start with and say they can’t wear hats. But I have never found a woman who doesn’t look good in a hat or any occasion that a hat doesn’t enhance how they look,” said Margaret. She said while many women would wear the same outfit to different occasions, adding a different hat each time created a fresh look. When many hats cost at least £200 to buy, hiring a hat typically costs well under £40.

She has all manner of styles and colours, from asymmetric brimmed big hats to little pillboxes, cocktail hats and hats dating back to the 50s and 60s for people who adore the retro look.

It can take an hour to choose that ideal hat, and often groups of friends like to come in together and choose their hats for the same wedding, and the bride will join in the fun with her mother and future mother in law.

“It’s fun. It’s quite a girly hour, but I do have to make sure that women are not carried away with the excitement of trying on. It is easy to wear a hat in here, but they will be wearing their hat outside in the world and need to be completely happy with it,” said Margaret.

She said choosing a hat can be another emotional part of wedding arrangements, particularly for mothers of the bride and groom, and it can be a special time for the fathers too, watching their wife transformed.

“I do get men who cry in here when they see their wife in a hat,” says Margaret.


Hats Francise is based at Horsford, near Norwich. Hat hire is a maximum of £40 and special rates are available for those needing several hats.

Tel Margaret Sims on 01603 898776/ 07867 854411. www.hatsfrancise.com



...and how not to


There are few rules about hat styles, other than try on plenty and make sure they are comfortable and fit properly.

Women with short necks need to avoid down-turned brims as these can almost rest on their shoulders, and stay away from wide brims at the back too as these will touch the shoulders when the woman looks up.

Experiment when trying on with different angles to find the most flattering, and practice when you find the position you like.

Watch out for lots of navy and emerald green, this year’s top colours.

As for keeping it on – it’s traditional to follow the lead of the mothers of the bride and groom.


Also see...

Town Living (hat hire and purchase), Harleston

01379 853258


The Hat Shop at Burnham Market

Tel 01328 738267



Olivia’s of Sheringham.

01263 823149



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