Top Repeated Royal Hat of 2017

Throughout a series of polls over the past year, we have narrowed down our favourite repeated royal hats to a finalist group of eleven stunning designs. Your finalists include numerous brimmed designs, a pillbox, an upsweep, a swirled percher and a lattice saucer and trimmings that run the spectrum from florals and bows to twists, bands and quills.

While each of these eleven finalists is a winning design, it is now time to cast your votes, dearest readers, for a single winner. Please click on each hat to link back to its original feature post with additional views and information. Without further ado, here are your eleven finalists for Top Repeated Royal Hat of 2017:

3.Apr 11, 2017 in RTM | Royal Hats   4.May 7, 2017 | Royal Hats   
5.May 24, 2017 in RTM | Royal Hats   6.June 17, 2017 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats
The poll will remain open until Tursday, January 25 at midnight GMT and as always, each computer or mobile device can vote twice per day for as many hats as you wish each time. We will celebrate the winner on January 26. Happy voting!
Photos from Scanpix; Patrick van Katwijk and WPA Pool via Getty;  Ole Hartmann Schmidt via Konghuset; Mark Cuthbert,  Max Mumby/Indigo,  Mark Cuthbert,  Mark Cuthbert and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; The British Monarchy; Asahi Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun via Getty   

Inventory: Duchess of Cambridge’s Red Hats

The Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her 36th birthday and in honor of this event, I thought we’d continue our inventory series with a peek at all of the different red designs in her millinery closet. Since beginning her royal life, Kate has worn four red hats- here they are in the order they were introduced:

1.   2. 

Designer: Silvia Fletcher for Lock and Co.; Rachel Trevor Morgan
First Worn: July 1, 2011;  September 25, 2011

3.  4.    

Designer: Silvia Fletcher for Lock and Co.; Gina Foster
First Worn: June 4, 2012;  April 7, 2014

Some of you may also remember Kate wearing this red silk rose and net fascinator of unknown design in April 2010 to a friend’s wedding. The piece has not made a reappearance since the royal engagement and I strongly suspect it is no longer in Kate’s wardrobe.

That leaves the four designs above on which to focus our discussion. The first one, studded with maple leaves and worn in Canada on our national holiday (something that endeared the new Duchess to us Canadians!) fits such a small and specific niche that a repeat appearance doesn’t seem likely. The remaining three are an interesting trio- despite all being small in scale, they follow distinctly different shapes. I adore the jaunty movement and bold trim of #3 and I think Kate does to, since she ordered a twin of this hat in blue for her second visit to Canada in 2016. The delicate rosette and leaf trim on #4 is also a lovely elevation to this classic pillbox, a shape that can sometimes be a little boring.

Red is a great colour on Kate and while I understand why, at this point in her royal life she often eschews fashion that draws attention, it would be lovely to see her add a few more red designs into rotation.

What do you think of Kate’s red hats?

Photos from George Pimentel via Getty; unknown; Anwar Hussein and Hagen Hopkins via Getty; Mark Stewart/Camera Press


Seeing Triple: Duchess of Cambridge

Royal HatsOn Christmas Day, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out to church in a black alpaca fur hat from Peruvian Connection. It’s not her first hat in this same style- in January 2017, Kate wore a similar style (with flatter crown) in grey from Lacorine. Both hats have wide, cuffed brims and cover far more of her head than the other hats in Kate’s wardrobe- understandable for winter hats but still a style departure.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Update: Kate added a third version of this hat in warm brown (another “Sumac” design from Lacorine) on January 7, 2018

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Thoughts about this pair of fuzzy hats?

Photo from Getty as indicated

Different Angle

No mistaking this hat wearer, despite the unusual angle.

We don’t often get a view beneath the brims of Queen Elizabeth’s fabric covered hats but this snap gives a peek at the straw structure of the hat that I thought some of you might find interesting.


Hat Types: The Boater

One of the hat styles on in the upswing in popular fashion is the boater- a hat we’ll look at closer today.

History: In the nineteenth century before the sailor cap became standard, European sailors wore straw hats with flat crowns and brims. As the design was phased out for military wear, it gained popularity in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a men’s formal summer daytime hat (worn with a suit) particularly at sailing events. The name “boater” was adopted as the hat took off in popularity. 

Around the same time, a similar hat for late Victorian era women and children, known as the “sailor” was widely worn. With a larger brim size than its male ‘boater’ counterpart, sailor hats were  trimmed with a dark hatband that extended to ribbon streamers trailing down the back. Women’s sailor hat designs often featured flowers around the base of the crown as well.

Difference Between a Boater and a Sailor: Both hats have a completely flat crown and brim. Traditionally, boater hats are made with stiff straw and are trimmed only with a hatband (in solid or striped grosgrain ribbon). The brim size of a traditional boater is modest- noticeably smaller than a the brim on a sailor hat. Historically, sailor hats have wider brims than a boater and were made of all kinds of weights of straw and felt. These days, however, mainstream millinery  commonly refers to both of these styles as ‘a boater’.

Characteristics: A boater has a perfectly round crown and brim, both of which sit horizontally flat.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands has long been a boater wearer, as has Queen Elizabeth. Princess Beatrice of York has also embraced boaters in recent years.

 Queen Elizabeth, May 16, 2017 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Princess Beatrice, May 16, 2017 in Laura Apsit Livens | Royal Hats Princess Alexandra, June 21, 2017 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Beatice, May 16, 2017; Princess Alexandra, June 21, 2017

Princess Beatrice, Jun 17, 2017 in Emily London | Royal Hats Princess Beatrix, October 24, 2014 | Royal Hats Countess of York, June 21, 2017 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats

Princess Beatrice, Jun 17, 2017; Princess Beatrix, October 24, 2014; Countess of Wessex, June 21, 2017

 Princess Beatrix, February 8, 2017 | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth Mar 24, 2016 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats Princess Hisako, November 25, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Beatrice, Jun 16, 2016 in Laura Apsit Livens | Royal Hats

Princess Beatrix, February 8, 2017; Queen Elizabeth, Mar 24, 2016;
Princess Hisako, November 25, 2014; Princess Beatrice, Jun 16, 2016

Queen Elizabeth, Mar 13, 2017 in Angela Kelly | Royal Hats  Princess Beatrix, Nov. 14, 2013 | Royal Hats  Duchess of Cornwall, Mar 13, 2017 in Philip Treacy | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth, Mar 13, 2017; Princess Beatrix, Nov. 14, 2013Duchess of Cornwall, Mar 13, 2017

Boaters are seeing an upswing in popularity and I suspect we’ll see them appear on more royal heads- what do you think of this hat style?

Photos from WPA Pool, WPA Pool via Getty; Kirstin Sinclair and Samir Hussein via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty;  Philip Van Der Werf via PPE;  Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; Sankei;  Max Mumby/Indigo, Mark Cuthbert, ANPMax Mumby/Indigo via Getty

Hat Types: The Trilby

It has been a long while since I added hat types to our glossary- I’m going to start some additions today with a hat I get lots of questions about. Hopefully, this will clear up some confusion!

History: In the early 1989s, actress Sarah Bernhardt brought the fedora into great popularity when she wore it on the London stage. Several years later when George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby was adapted for the stage, a hat similar to the at-the-time popular fedora but with a lower crown and shorter, downward brim that turned up in the back was worn in the first London production of the play. This hat promptly was named “a Trilby hat”.

The style reached mainstream popularity in the 1960s thanks to low head clearance in American automobiles which made it impractical to wear a hat with a tall crown while driving. Like all other styles of headwear worn by men, the trilby faded into obscurity during the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, the style has returned to popularity as a trendy accessory for millenial men and women. Originally made from rabbit hair felt, contemporary trilbys are now often made of other materials including tweed, straw, wool and wool/nylon blends.

Characteristics: Like a fedora, trilbys usually have a crease down the center of the crown with visible “pinches” in the front on both sides. A trilby brim, however, is shorter than a fedora, angled down at the front and turned up at the back (whereas a fedora brim is more flat) Traditionally, the crown of a trilby is also slightly shorter than the crown on a typical fedora.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Not widely embraced by royals, we see them on a mix of people. The recent surge in popularity has been embraced by several younger royals.

Countess of Wessex, Dec 29, 2013 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats Princess Eugenie, Dec 25, 2009 | Royal Hats Queen Margrethe, Oct 1, 2013 | Royal Hats

Countess of Wessex, Dec 29, 2013; Princess Eugenie, Dec 25, 2009; Queen Margrethe, Oct 1, 2013;

Mike Tindall, Aug 28, 2016 | Royal Hats Autumn Phillips Mar, 12 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Tsuguko, Jan 26, 2016 | Royal Hats Princess Anne, Dec 4, 2012 | Royal Hats

Mike Tindall, Aug 28, 2016Autumn Phillips Mar 12, 2014; Princess Tsuguko, Jan 26, 2016; Princess Anne, Dec 4, 2012

Zara Tindall, March 13, 2008 | Royal Hats Princess Grace of Monaco, 1970 | Royal Hats Duchess of Cambridge, Dec 25, 2011 in Jane Corbett | Royal Hats

 Zara Tindall, March 13, 2008;  Duchess of Cambridge, Dec 25, 2011; Princess Grace of Monaco, 1970

What do you think of the Trilby as a hat style?

Photos from Max Mumby/Indigo and Chris Radburn/PA Images via Getty; Nils Meilvang via Berlingske; Tim P. Whitby  and Max Mumby/Indigo  via Getty; Motoo Naka/AFLO/Nippon News/Corbis; Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; Press Association; Popperfoto and Chris Jackson via Getty

Pillbox Placement Part 1: 21st Century

There was an interesting discussion in the comments last week about the ‘correct’ placement of a pillbox hat (brimless hat with a flat top and straight sides that resembles a round cake tin). This threw me into the photo archives over the weekend to do some research. While ‘correct’ is subjective, there appear to be five distinct royal positions for a pillbox hat as we have seen this design worn so far this century:
Position 1: “Over The Forehead” The least common position, unless you’re Princess Beatrix or the pillbox has a cocktail hat vibe.


Position 2: “At The Hairline” Here, the front rim of the hat follows just behind the wearer’s hairline, leaving a sliver of visible hair. Princess Kiko and other Imperial royals seem to favour this position. If the pillbox is tall, this placement works well (keeping the piece away from the back of the neck).

Position 3: “Just Back” One of the two most common placements for pillboxes these days, this position leaves an inch or two of hair in front of the hat to frame the face. The centre of the hat generally sits over the crown of the head.


Position 4: “Off The Top” Perhaps the most common pillbox placement today, the front rim of the hat sits near the middle of the top of the head, leaving several inches of visible hair in front. The back rim of the hat roughly follows the occiptal bone around the back of the head – the center of the hat falls just below the crown of the wearer’s head.


Position 5: “Off The Back” The front hat rim is placed near the crown of the head leaving the hat to sit nearly (or completely!) vertical down the back of the head. Unless the hat is very large, the hair on the top of the wearer’s head will remain mostly uncovered.


This exercise left me with a few questions. Have royal pillbox hats always been worn primarily off the face? Has royal pillbox placement changed much since the 1980s? The 1960s? Stay tuned tomorrow when we break down pillbox placement during the last century (1950s through 1990s) and look for ways past fashion might influence how this classic hat shape is worn today.

For now, I’m curious about which one of these pillbox placements you think works best. What factors influence this? Does one position work better with shorter or longer hair? Does face shape matter? What about size of the pillbox?