How to choose a hat for your outfit and/or season

What kind of look will you want to achieve? An easy and quick guide to think about: if your hat is for a tailored suit or dress, it needs to be a bit more classic or formal and have a structured look (like a pillbox, fascinator or beret. If you’re looking for a less formal but still classic look, go for a trilby- good for a man or woman, and always in style. For a cosier, less formal or even retro look, choose a cap or beanie. 

For summer, it could be in a lightweight material such as straw, rather than anything too heavy such as felt or velvet (which is perfect for winter, and teamed with heavier fabrics).  

If the hat is complementing a floaty dress or a two-piece in a soft fabric, a larger hat with a soft brim would work perfectly. And remember, you should always have the outfit in mind (or take a picture of it with you) before you purchase a hat. Some hats are non-returnable and you don’t want to be stuck with a costly mistake! (Luckily, Shappos offers an easy returns process)


The hat needs to balance out the whole look.YOU should wear the hat, the hat should never wear you. It's all about getting the proportion right. The taller you are, the larger the hat can be and can make more of a statement. The smaller you are, the neater it should be. However, the brim of the hat should never be wider than your shoulders. 


The hat you select would probably work best if it’s a complementing colour and similar in tone to the rest of your outfit, rather than clashing. You want the hat to accentuate the colours of the outfit, not compete with them.

If the outfit is in a print, try and pick a hat that brings out the predominant colour of the outfit. Hats in the Seventies and Eighties were made in the same fabric as an outfit, but that look now is way too contrived, so no need to look for an exact match.

Some ideas for hat colour/outfit choices:

The Brown Hat
Brown hats look best with brown or green suits or coats. If wearing a dark blue or dark gray suit, a dark brown hat may also look acceptable.

The Gray Hat
Gray hats are quite versatile and can be paired with black, blue, and dark gray suits and coats.

The Blue Hat
Wear a blue hat with a blue or gray suit or coat. If pairing a blue suit with a blue hat, the colors must match fairly closely. Alternatively, you can pair a dark blue suit with a light blue hat or vice versa. You can also get away with wearing a blue hat with a light brown or tan suit.

The Green Hat
Green hats are surprisingly versatile. They look best with tan or light brown suits. But they also accent black, green, and gray suits very nicely. 


Long or medium-length hair should always be tied back in whatever way is most neat, and the fringe should be tucked away so as not to compete with the overall look of the hat. Sometimes with pillboxes fringe is okay, depending on the style of the hat. As a general rule, hair should be neat and tidy, and not loose and unruly as it distracts from the look.

If you’re worried about your hair coming out limp and flat after wearing a hat, try this: brush or blow-dry your hair in the wrong direction and then smooth it over into the correct style before putting on your hat. It will retain its body. Or, you could additionally spray some hairspray on your hands whilst doing this to guarantee a more finished, perfect look.