Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Hourglass Hats of Angela Kelly

Royal Hats Last summer, we took a closer look at several of the common hat shapes used by Angela Kelly  for Queen Elizabeth’s millinery wardrobe (remember the “Diagonal Crown Hats”,  the “Flat Brim Hats”, the “Teardrop Crown Hats“, the “Split Crown Hats”, the  “Oblique Brim Hats” and the “Wrapped Crown Hats“?). Today, we’re going to pick up this series with a look at the “Hourglass Hats”.

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The Queen at Ascot, June 18, 2010 and June 21, 2013

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at St Michael’s Mount, May 17, 2013

 Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

At the Commonwealth Leader’s Summit, November 28, 2009; At the Tower of London, October 16, 2014

Of all the Angela Kelly shapes we have seen so far, this one most loudly yells “Mad Hatter!”. I appreciate creative exploration of new hat shapes but the flared crown of this particular shape tends to make the hat look bulbous and off balance. Paired with whimsical trim, as most Kelly designed hats are, and you have a hat that looks more suited to a cartoon movie set than a royal engagement. Of the hats shown here, I think the light purple one is most successful because of its lack of trim. I admit that these hats are not my favourites but I’m curious, dear readers- what do you think?

UPDATE: Queen Elizabeth debuted a new hat in this shape in October 2014 (see more detail at this post). While this new turquoise hat does not make me love this hat shape, it takes over as my favourite in this group thanks to the saturated colour and beautifully contrasting (and restrained) black velvet trim.

Photos from Getty as indicated and: Max Mumby/IndigoTim Graham, Pool, Carl Court/Stringer and STR/Stringer, all via Getty Images

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22 thoughts on “Hat Cousins: Queen Elizabeth and the Hourglass Hats of Angela Kelly

  1. I do see that these have the same crown shape, but actually, they seem less related than many of the other groups you’ve featured. The variety in them (the height of the crown, the width of the brim, the shape of the brim, whether the crown seems even or a little diagonal) makes such a big difference to them, to say nothing of the varied trimmings, that they seem much less of a group, and I like some and not others. The plain one in pleated lilac is very successful, and I like the last one in white too, although I think it would have been better without the patterned dress. I’m not fond of the pouf explosion on the white hat with blue trim, but the hat itself with its upturned brim is a lovely shape.

    • Thank you, Katie, for the link. Article is fascinating. I’d only known a few of the details earlier.

  2. I agree that this syle of hat looks better without a lot of frou frou flowers bows and so on.

    I had a funny thought– it seems that Angela Kelly likes to put a lot of this type of frou frou on hats. What if it’s not her who does it and it’s actually the queen herself? Too funny to think about the queen adding these doodads to her hats with a glue gun herself!

  3. I think there’s less common ground with these hats than some of the others, which are obviously from the same block. I like a lot of them – the lilac with the pleating is lovely, as is the navy. I do however hate, hate the white with the flowers – that whole look had that slightly tween homemade look that a certain dressmaker can tip into sometimes…

  4. I am new to this blog so am enjoying the current discussion and in the interests of thorough research (ha ha), spent a most enjoyable hour reading the previous posts featuring AK’s various designs. My least favourite is the flat brim, my most favourite the diagonal crown. As for this hourglass shape I think it makes for an enjoyable change as long as the crown is not too tall and the brim is small or upturned. Did you end up reviewing Rachel Trevor Morgan’s designs? If so, could you please provide links. Thanks so much.

  5. I actually like this hat shape on the Queen, as it’s a nice change from her usual styles. I do find this shape reminds me of Dr Seuss, so it does border on costume, but the Queen has the status, the confidence, the bold personality, and the wit to carry this look. The Queen obviously likes to have fun with her clothes, loves variety, and generally knows what suits her. This shape also gives this petite woman a bit of extra height, which can make her easier to spot in crowds. I love the Queen and long may she reign, and long may he surprise us with new fashion ideas including dramatic hats.

  6. While I understand your “cartoon movie rather than royal engagement” statement, I like most of these hats. I’m not too fond of the darker turquoise one because of its bow, but I really like the old navy blue one — as well as the light purple since its pleats match the pleats in the coat and in the dress. But the purple in particular does look Mad Hatter-ish, I admit.
    Despite all the negative comments from last year’s Ascot, the blue and white hat rather appeals to me too, and does the red and green on white hat was created for the Commonwealth summit in the Caribbean. (The outfit was made to look tropical, I assume.)
    I guess I like the hourglass shape in general but think some of these hats are too tall, including the pleated purple. Since the Queen is short, I’ve always wondered, though, whether so many hats whose crowns appear too tall are designed simply to make the Queen more visible.

  7. well , don’t blame everything on milliners..some clients are “unstoppable”:). Queen Mother was..(according to her milliner).
    as you see across all “royal clients”- have some favorites (horrible and criticized plenty in press )to which they return and return and return.. and milliners and wardrobe managers just obliged to follow orders..

  8. I really like the last one with the flowers and in some very very weird way the blue one with the big bow in the center (her majesty looks so cute in it :D) but other than those too, this shape is not one of my favourites.

  9. I don’t mind the shape of these as much as others appear to. But I think the most successful are the ones with the least amount of trim. Just let the shape of the hat be the most eye catching part of the hat and I actually like it. The shape in and of itself is interesting enough that it can stand one, as the purple hat shows us.

  10. Yikes! My absolute least fav hat shape she ever has worn (including her turban phase in the 60s and 70s) – the only one here for me that is slightly passable is the navy one. I want her to retire this hat shape (yesterday!!)

  11. So many that shape and it looks like a stovepipe. The dark colours are better as is the wider brim. Enough of that shape please.
    Do you think Princess Beatrix’s style would work for the Queen?

  12. I think the navy and the blue straw one are the most successful as the dark color and the restrained trimming downplay the funky shape. But heavens to Betsy, that last one with the red, eek! That dress print is soooo not HM at all and the hat just makes it worse.

    • I instantly thought the same thing, Buffy, and then I read the caption stating that outfit was worn at a Commonwealth event. Perhaps that red fabric (which is so polar opposite to HM’s style) is a nod to the culture of the host country???

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