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A Master Milliner's Guide to Headwear


Stephen Jones has been transforming the hat world since the Seventies. We got his expert advice on choosing exactly the right headwear…

One of the world’s most celebrated milliners, Stephen Jones has worked with everyone from Dior to Anna Piaggi, who wore his favourite ever design, a Union Jack top hat. His fantastical headwear is never better showcased than during the summer, with Royal Ascot and weddings aplenty imminently rearing their (behatted) heads.

Famed for his avantgarde aesthetic, Jones has just launched his first ever collection in collaboration with Debenhams, blending his fearless imagination with a more accessible sensibility. And as he exclusively told Stylist, there’s always an occasion for a hat. “You can wear a hat every day, it just has to be the right one,” he says. “People are intimidated by a pair of jeans, let alone a hat, but it’s because they’re not used to them. Hats are the most exciting adventures in fashion.”

Stephen’s Four Tips For Hat Success

Hats reflect your personality, but try everything on – you never know what may work. Check the angles of your face – cheekbones and eye levels – the hat should complement, not fight against them. Someone with sultry eyes looks great with a veil; a person with dimples suits a cloche.

And an upturned brim will always expose a Cheshire cat smile. Try contrast shades – clash navy with a bright dress – or vice-versa. A hat for a wedding should be discreet. A hat for horse racing should be splendid. Nods to retro style will always be around but I’m excited about the trend for futurism and unusual hat materials like plastics and metals.

Top Hat By Stephen Jones at Debenhams (debenhams.co.uk), main collection at Stephen Jones (stephenjonesmillinery.com)


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