Rocco Forte Hotels

From formal weddings to glamorous gatherings and garden parties, Vivien Sheriff’s exquisite hats have adorned the heads of high society at the most prestigious events in the summer social calendar. Here, the milliner-to-the-starsand Brown’s Hotel’s Milliner-in-Residence, shares her essential tips for picking the perfect hat.

What is the first thing one should consider when buying a hat?

“Dress for the occasion. Think about the event you’re attending and whether there is an established etiquette for dress. For example, if you’re a guest at a wedding, consider your role and dress accordingly. For instance, don’t show up with a huge showstopper hat that will outshine the mother of the bride!”

How do you pick your hat style in accordance to your face shape or height?

“It’s really important to ensure your hat flatters your face and your silhouette. If you have a rounder face, it can look great to wear an angular disc shaped hat that sits to the side of the face, asymmetrically.

As a rule of thumb, tall women can carry off wider brims. If you are a petite person, I really wouldn’t suggest you wear a big brimmed hat because you would feel totally overwhelmed by it. If you are smaller, there’s an abundance of headpieces that offer real height to the wearer, and make you feel really elegant.”

Is there a timeless hat style that never dates which one should invest in?

“Absolutely, but not just one. I would say that everyone’s wardrobe should contain a quality winter felt fedora and a summer panama straw hat. In summer, I love wearing my big brimmed floppy panama. It’s really easy to travel with and protects you from over exposure to the sun—it also makes you look and feel really chic.

Our men’s and women’s straw hat collection is becoming ever more popular, and they’re not just being worn at traditional events such as Goodwood, Wimbledon and Henley Regatta, but also more casual day-to-day events like a picnic in Hyde Park on a lazy summer afternoon or a garden party.”

What hat embellishments and adornments are on trend for 2018?

“This summer, expect to see a lot of flower crowns. Our collection uses a lot of handmade silk orchids. The flower crown is proving to be particularly popular with our bridal customers.”

What type of hat would you recommend for a wedding for him and her?

“For ladies opting for a traditional hat shape, an upturned sweeping brim is best for kissing guests and making sure your face is visible in the photographs. For those wanting to be more subtle, a small headpiece or beret shape will work really well. For gents, a classic fedora in wool felt or Panama toquilla straw always adds effortless style to an outfit.”

For someone looking to make a bold style statement, what style of hat would you recommend?

“A contemporary shape and unique trim that really makes people stand up and take notice.

Something free-form and structural like our ‘Wave’ headpiece fits the bill. Making a bold statement is one thing but don’t stand out for the wrong reasons. A hat like the ‘Wave’ bridges this gap—stunning but still understated and refined at the same time.”

Where is the best place to shop for the perfect hat?

“Go somewhere where they have a dedicated expert member of staff who can cater for your specific needs. My team and I have worked in headwear for so many years, so you gain a real intuition in terms of knowing what style will suit what person. We can look at someone when they walk in and instantly get a feeling for what shape will suit them.

When someone comes in who is a bit dubious, it’s really satisfying to put a hat on them that immediately eliminates any fear they previously had of wearing a hat. We are opening a new flagship store on Fulham Road this spring, where we will have a very large selection of hats for all occasions, so we’re really looking forward to engaging with our customers this summer, and helping them find their perfect hat.”

Vivien Sheriff is Milliner-in-Residence at Brown’s Hotel. Guests can arrange to meet with Vivien in their suite for a personal consultation and fitting. Discover Vivien Sheriff’s world of magnificent millinery here

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