A hat is a fashion accessory that belongs in every woman’s wardrobe. In addition to providing protection from the sun, it can be the finishing touch to pull together an outfit. Many women prefer to remain hatless because they don’t know how to select the proper hat and feel any hat they choose will only draw unwanted attention. With a few guidelines, though, a hat can become an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe.

Match the proportions of your hat to your face and stature. Taller women can wear large hats as long as the brim is never wider than the shoulders. If your face and body are small, the hat should be smaller than average so it doesn’t overpower you.

Match the style of the hat to your face shape. A woman with a round face should wear a hat with a high crown and wide brim. Oval faces can wear any style of hat. Women with long faces look best in hats with a wide brim and should avoid high crowns. A woman with a heart-shaped face should avoid a hat with a high crown and stick to medium-crowned hats with a medium-sized brim. Look at your profile when considering a hat, not just the front.

Consider skin tone. If your skin has a rosy cast you will look good in hats that are pink, red or rust. Dark-skinned ladies or those with yellow undertones look good in any color of hat. Dark hats are more becoming than light ones.

Control your hair. No hat will look good if it’s perched on a messy head. Long or medium hair should be slicked back into a low ponytail. Short hair should be tucked behind the ears. A little hair should show from under the hat, to soften the look.

Consider the outfit you’re wearing and the season. A tailored business suit needs a more formal hat than a floaty dress does. Avoid the impulse to match everything. If your suit is monochromatic, try a printed hat. Pair a leather jacket with a tweed hat, or a tweed jacket with a knit hat. There should be a some color coordination between the clothes and the hat, however. Wear lightweight hats, such as straw, in the summer and felt or velvet in winter.

Keep hats with a theme to a minimum. Retro hats went out of style for a reason. Likewise, baseball caps will immediately downgrade your look.


  • Measure your head in the middle of the forehead to get an accurate size. A 22-inch head is considered a medium hat size. All hats should be tried on, regardless of what the label reads.