One Coat, Two Hats

Royal HatsAt the unveiling of the Afgahnistan and Iraq memorial earlier this month, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out in a beautiful Michael Kors navy coat dress. We’ve seen Kate in this coat dress twice, the first time in Australia where it was paired with an Australian designed cocktail hat and the second, with the mushroom brimmed hat we saw a few weeks ago. The hats lend a very different feel to the ensemble, despite both being in dark blue felt (and both appearing at memorial events), proving that shape and scale have significant impact when it comes to a hat. Which hat do you think pairs better with this coat?

 

Marking ANZAC Day in Canberra, April 25, 2014 in a percher design by Australian brand Hatmaker by Jonathan Howard

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34 thoughts on “One Coat, Two Hats

  1. While I agree the scale of the brimmed hat is a bit large, I would give it the vote as I think the Duchess can look wonderful in larger scale hats (and should be encouraged to wear them more often). The over-all style of the outfit is more thoroughly elegant including the updo. I feel it better suits the mood of the engagement while looking timeless.

    The Duchess is transitioning to larger hats and looking comfortable in them. They lend her a poised maturity as she further grows into her role. Hopefully in a year or two, she will be a more confident and playful wearer of hats.

  2. I do like the cocktail hat, but wish she’d worn her hair up. With her hair down, the cocktail hat reads “casual” to me, at a function that is anything BUT casual.

    The mushroom brim is a bit big, but I like it better for the occasion.

  3. I like both of these looks. I do wonder if Kate had her hair down with the brimmed hat if that would lighten the look; with the tight chignon and plainness of the hat, it’s a bit severe. I also wonder why so many people think hats would look better with hair up; I think there are advantages and times for both updos and letting one’s hair down and hats. Personally, I would like to see a full hat with more of an upturned brim paired with this coat.

  4. I can’t find a reply button for your comment, HatQueen, so I’ll just add here that I don’t see “hair up” as a rule, whether old-fashioned or not, it’s just that to my eyes, hats generally appear to better advantage and look more elegant with hair up! Since I like the hats, I want them to show at their best, and to me, that often isn’t the case with hair down, as it creates a “muddied” look, less finished. Obviously this is a sweeping generalisation, and as I said in my comment, there are some hats that do look good with hair down.

  5. I can’t get past seeing bunny ears with the percher hat, so for me the brimmed hat is better, but I agree that perhaps a better hat could be somewhere in between these two extremes.

  6. I don’t like the ‘antennae’ effect of the cocktail hat but, having said that, there’s something off with the large-brim hat which looks like it’s swallowing her! Both colours are good and the coat-dress is very nice … but I think we’re still waiting to see that hat that goes best with it. I would like to see the ‘mushroom’ hat with something else and another hair-do though, just in case.

  7. She looks lovely in both! I honestly can’t pick. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but I think she wears them both very well.

  8. Hi, I usually just lurk and enjoy this blog but today I have to post. I know I’m out of step with the majority of your followers (because I always choose one of the least favorite hats in your various polls and I always laugh at how out of step I am) but I just can’t see the charm of the mushroom hat. It’s more than the scale issue (it looks like it’s too big for her head), I just don’t like the shape. I like hats with brims, but this shape seems to be almost droopy and unhappy. I like the cocktail hat better.

    • I agree with the “unhappy” assessment of the brimmed hat. I hate to say it, but I think the Duchess’s slouching posture has something to do with that, her slumping shoulders echoing the downward slope of the brim. This type of hat had no problem looking terribly chic and smart in the Dior fashions of the 50s and 60s and the ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ film it is based on. The difference was the stance, the posture and the panache it took to bring off a hat that is visually ‘heavy’ and hides the face.

      • Posture is worth noting but in this case, I think the culprit really is a clunky design on the hat. I don’t think a wearer can make a hat look “visually heavy” as you say (although the ensemble it is worn with certainly can!). I think, in this case, the heaviness is actually the hat.

    • I agree with you – and I generally vote completely differently to popular opinion too!
      I think the updo with the large hat does not really help. The small hat lightens the look as does the hair. Though I do think it’s nice to see her wearing an actual hat for a change!

  9. Big hat wins for me – and as a lot of other people have said and I have said before, it is mostly a hair issue. If the Duchess wore her hair up under a cocktail or percher she would look much more streamlined! Her long hair hanging detracts from her whole ‘look’. I think this smaller hat would be better partnered with a straight coat rather than a wide skirted one – a question of balance.

    • That question of balance is exactly why I prefer Kate’s hair down with this hat! I really do think wearing her hair down with these smaller hats balances a fuller skirt such as this one.

      • You have a good point there – however, I think the disservice to the hat counters that! Obviously Kate needs to practice Hat Hair that gives some volume while showing off the hat better! Sometimes the half-up style does that well, so maybe this would be a candidate for that!

      • I just don’t understand why so many people are against hats worn with hair down. The “must have hair up with a hat” rule feels very out of date.

  10. I prefer the brimmed hat as worn. However, I do really like the jaunty cocktail hat, it just so much needs hair up underneath! The hat and the loose hair don’t complement each other at all. (In general I think hair up suits most hats better, but some look perfectly fine with hair down too. This one I think doesn’t!)

  11. I like the mushroom better, if for no other reason than it’s shape is a nice departure from the perchers. Also the color seems to be a rich shade in between navy and royal. Queen mother, RIP. (15 years ago today)

  12. I like the cocktail hat, though I would like it better with hair up. The bee created by the “bow” nicely echoes the diagonal lines in the coat fabric. I like that she’s branching out into bigger hats, but this particular one seems heavy.

  13. Definitely the mushroom brimmed model. I generally prefer wide brimmed hats to cocktail hats/culottes/fascinators etc. This percher here has the additional disadvantage that the bow trim looks as if the Duchess was wearing sad bunny ears – and nobody wants that.

    • I completely agree. At best, I’m not a fan of the percher hats, and the antennae/bunny ears effect here does nothing to change my mind. I love the mushroom bride and don’t see it as too large at all.

      • *brim (Although “Mushroom Bride” would make an excellent title for something…)

  14. The mushroom brimmed hat was my favorite. Of course, her hair being up was also perfect with the hat.

    The other night when she wore the Alice Temperly green lace dress, i thought it would have looked a thousand times better if her hair had been up as well.

  15. The larger hat is my preference, but I do see JamesB’s point about the cocktail hat going well with the “swingy skirt” of the coat. And, hair style affects the look, too.

  16. Definitely the big hat. The look is effortless and chic. I am over cocktail hats and perchers, and I like big hats better. I think that’s why Queen Maxima is one of my top favorites. She really knows how to rock a big hat.

  17. I prefer the cocktail hat – it’s small size balances the swingy skirt for me. Oh, we’ve seen the coat twice, but the second time was sans chapeau, so it probably wasn’t on your radar!

      • While the “mushroom” is a very handsome hat, and suits the coat dress very well in itself, I agree that it is too much hat and too severe for the duchess. I too prefer the cocktail hat.

  18. The big hat, easily. The whole styling is better. (She’s actually worn it a third time as well, but hatless so not relevant here.)

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