Life & Culture

Mother-of-the-bride hats

Son's or daughter's chupah? Aufruf? Jan Shure's got it all covered.


There is a wedding on the horizon. And whether you are the mother of the bride or groom, the bride, or perhaps the grandma, if there is a synagogue involved, you will be thinking about A Hat.

Are you not a hat person and dreading it? Or a millinery fan, looking forward to choosing a very special hat? Either way, if you are a woman attending synagogue for the aufruf, standing under the chupah, or going to a registry office, you will want, no, you will need a hat. 

Even if the wedding is not at an orthodox synagogue, many congregations require women to cover their head if they are to be called up. So you have an excuse to buy a gorgeous hat. And what constitutes a gorgeous hat these days? A hat that ticks the trend boxes but, even more, a hat that complements your face shape, your build and your fashion personality.  

Face shape matters when picking a hat, if your face is very angular, very rounded, or indeed very anything.

 The hat that will suit you best will mirror your face shape. So, if your face is rounded, look for a curvy brim and a rounded crown; if your face is more angular, seek out an angled brim and crown. For a long face, a higher crown will create balance. 

That brings us to proportion, which is complicated: when we talk about a “small” hat, we mean the style (ie a pill-box), as there are small small hats to suit a petite woman and there are big (or bigger) small hats to suit a taller or broader woman. It is all about choosing a hat in the right scale.

But whatever your build, a hat brim should never be wider than your shoulders.

A hat must match your fashion personality as much as it matches the colour of your outfit. 

If you dress in a low-key way, you will not feel comfortable in a dramatic creation inspired by a TV aerial. People will tell you “it’s your day, you want to be the centre of attention”. Resist. If the hat does not feel like “you”, you will not feel good in it. 

One other tip: if you are the bride or a close family member, you will do a lot of kissing. Choose a hat that will not be knocked askew every time a long-lost 

cousin or beloved auntie leans in for a kiss.

As for trends, millinery has evolved in the past decade, rather than taken any dramatic turns; the main changes are in fabric and the season’s colours. Current shapes are influenced by the 1950s and ’60s, so look out for cocktail hats, pill-boxes and fascinators, which have grown up into fully-fledged occasion hats. 

Super-chic hats abound from talented UK milliners such as Philip Treacy, Rachel Trevor-Morgan, Judy Bentinck and Nerida Fraiman. But for those with a more realistic budget, there are superb on-trend 

occasion hats from brands such as Phase Eight, Jacques Vert and Coast.   


Jan Shure is a former JC fashion editor. 

For more of Jan's indispensable fashion tips, go to  SoSensational

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