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Millinery Magic: Stephen Jones’ Top Tips


Stephen Jones Hat

The intricacies of millinery etiquette, those old-fashioned but time-honoured rules of ‘when’ and ‘how’ to wear hats and headpieces, confuses even the most savvy of fashionistas. Come spring, we’re typically wondering – do I need one for this occasion? Should it match my dress? How big is too big? What do I do with my hair? And most importantly, how do I make sure it stays in place?

Who better to ask, then esteemed milliner Stephen Jones, who, since opening his first shop in 1980, has designed hats for everyone from Princess Di to Rhianna, collaborated with designers such as Raf Simons for Dior, and whose work is collected at the MoMA in New York and the Louvre in Paris?

Luckily, Stephen, who designs the exclusive Top Hat collection for Debenhams, allowed us to gain a little insight into his magical love for millinery. He told us:

· Wearing a hat is like having a party on your head

· Hats aren’t about age, they’re about attitude

· A hat is the one ultimate fashion expression

· Fashion is a wonderful adventure, so go and explore

· A hat is for the races can be an extravaganza, but remember that for a hat for a wedding, it’s not only you, but the bride that has to shine

· Wearing a hat will transform you from a princess to a queen


With Stephen’s tips as whimsical and fabulous as his designs, we thought we’d reveal a few of our own rules for when it comes to having a ‘party on your head’:

· If you have a colourful dress, then choose one colour from the dress that will be featured in your hat.

· If you have a dress that is sequined, printed, or has a lot going on, then make sure you wear a simple hat or minimalist fascinator (has only one key detail).

· Wear diamond or pearl stud earrings with a hat or fascinator. Dangly earrings are too much and risk detracting from the total look.

· Keep fascinators to one side. A fascinator should always be worn off to the side, despite reported  trend to wear them in the front of your head.

· Elastic goes behind your ears and at the nape of the neck, then pinned in place. Not under the chin.

· Keep your hairstyle simple so it does not distract from your hair accessory. A simple ponytail, bun, a slicked-back style, or a slightly-curled loose style look best.

· When wearing a comb-based fascinator:
1. Back comb or tease the hair slightly on the side of the head upon which you intend to place your fascinator. This provides a stronger and thicker base on which the fascinator comb can grip.

2. Push the comb slightly in the opposite direction before you slide it into place. This picks up more hairs and weaves them between the comb’s teeth, ensuring a firmer grip.

3. Spray hairspray onto the area around the comb. This will help the comb and hair stick together.

4. For extra security, place a few pins to hold comb in place.

So there you have it – you’re all set for winning style. Need an outfit to match? Check our our Summer Occasions style advice to ensure you RSVP with style.

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