Making Hats And Headpieces: Tips

Judy Bentinck is one of the world’s top couture milliners, with a waiting list of clients eager to get their hands on one of her sought-after creations.

Her celebrity clients, like Claire Balding and Jenny Agutter, love the way she offers a bespoke service as well as summer and winter collections  as the occasion, outfit, face, hair and body all influence design. Now, with the release of her book Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces by Judy Bentinck (available at Amazon) we can all get her expert tips and make sure we have VIP headwear at any given opportunity.

Designing & Making Hats & Headpieces

To celebrate the book’s release, I wanted to pick Judy’s brains on how to choose the perfect hat. If you’re planning on going to Ascot (16-20 June) or have a wedding coming up then let these five tips be your starting point. The images you see below are of Judy’s work – she knows what she’s doing!



(1) It is a well-known rule when wedding outfit shopping to avoid a white or ivory dress, but this colour no-go applies to your hat too, particularly if it has veiling over the face. This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often a guest gets so wrapped up in what they want to wear, that they forget the cardinal sin – attempting to outshine the bride!


(2)  If you are going to be featured in professional wedding photos this should influence your hat choice. The most important aspect is to make sure your hat doesn’t create a shadow over your face. To avoid this, wear a hat on the side, or with an upturn brim. Then smile!


(3) Be confident when wearing a hat by being sure of a good fit or that it is securely attached. A well-fitting hat or headpiece can have internal means of keeping it secure. Combs and hat elastic are good and many fascinators are set on a headband which makes them very secure and it also means the detail will be in the correct position.


(4) Co-ordinate your hat with your bag but don’t overdo the matching accessories. Some people are over concerned with everything being the same colour, but then bag, shoes and dress can be overwhelming and look rather solid. It is best to break it up with a colour picked out from the hat in either shoes or bag to tie the look together. Nude shoes are a bonus as they go with most colours and make your legs look longer.


(5) Only wear what you are happy and comfortable with otherwise you will want to take it off as soon as you can, which is a shame as hats should be what makes the outfit! And once you have found that perfect hat, don’t be afraid to wear it again and again – just combine with different outfits, or ring the changes with an extra feather or small brooch.

If this makes you want to make your own hat, don’t forget to check out Judy’s book.

Please take pics of how you get on with your hats and headpieces and share them with us on Twitter or Instagram. We’re livelikeavip on both.

Zoe Griffin

Editor In Chief

Editor In Chief at Live Like A VIP. Author, Journalist & Copywriter. Often found with a glass of Champagne in hand!

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