I’ve been travelling a lot recently, mostly to America and Canada to see some clients I have that side of the pond. All this travelling has given me ample opportunity to look over some of my past blogs. Upon review I’ve realised there is one aspect of wedding attire I’ve ignored completely to date: the top hat.
It’s a very traditional accessory I do admit, with less formal weddings usually seeing the groom in lounge suits rather than tails. However, if you are partial to the pillar box look then you could do much worse than to cast your eyes over my five tips for top hats.
1 – Measurements
As a rule top hats should be worn three quarters of an inch above the eyebrow and between one and one and a half centimetres above the ear. All head shapes are different so I wouldn’t recommend getting a hired hat as it will not fit properly and therefore it won’t give you confidence, especially if you are not used to wearing a hat.
2 – Colour
Traditionally top hats have been worn mainly in grey but there is now a trend for black hats, although this can look like you were meant to be at the races and accidentally had a wedding instead. At the end of the day it’s a matter of taste but make sure your hat and coat are the same colour.
3 – Price
Good quality felt hats are available to buy from £315 to £350. Silk hats are no longer made (they stopped being produced in 1970 when the specific silk ran out) but renovated vintage or antique silk hats can still be bought from £1,000 to £4,000. The price of the hat depends on the size of your head. So if you have a big head you will pay a higher price, I’m afraid!
4 – Confidence
Wearing a hat is similar to a suit. If you know it fits perfectly and you look good, you don’t think about it and you won’t even know it’s there. If you wear a hat that doesn’t fit correctly and wobbles or moves around you will be very conscious of it and it will detrimentally affect your confidence.
5 – Keep it in proportion
If you are of a smaller build many people assume that you should go for a taller hat. However, you should choose one that is in proportion to your size. If you have a large, bold personality you could probably wear a bigger hat. If you are taller you can get away with any size.
Less of a general tip and more of a personal recommendation, I would advise anyone looking for a top quality top hat to visit Lock & Co. It is a family owned hat makers in St James’s Street, London, founded in 1676 – I own several of their hats myself.
I’ll leave you with a piece of interesting history. Mercury used to be used in the production of top hats and exposure to mercury can cause nervous symptoms, making hatters shake and appear insane – hence the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’.
Toby Luper is the tailor behind Hemingway tailors. With 35 years experience in the fashion and tailoring industry, he has dressed sports stars, celebrities and royalty. For more information call 0800 5423406 or see www.hemingwaytailors.co.uk