The royal family is unlike anything else! Have you ever wondered why women in the royal family seem to wear more hats than any other group of people in the general population? Well in case you were curious, we have the fascinating answer right here. The reasoning behind this fashion rule is probably what you assumed it was — royal protocol.
Bustle recently reported that “royal protocol says that women must wear hats to all formal royal occasions, an etiquette rule that dates back to the 1950s when it was seen as improper for upper class and royal women to show their hair in public.”
If you’ve been following Meghan Markle since her pre-royal days, you probably noticed that her outfits were hardly ever completed with a hat. But since marrying Prince Harry this past May, the actress-turned-Duchess has become a hat regular and royal protocol makes total sense as to why she began incorporating hats into her fashion so frequently.
Bustle also revealed that pillbox hats and fascinators used to be a daily staple in many women’s wardrobes back in the mid-century. That style of hats is no longer as mandatory as it has been in past decades, and nowadays, one could choose what type of hat they want to wear to accentuate her outfit.
“Up until the 1950s, ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered ‘the thing’ for ladies to show their hair in public,” Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, told the BBC. “But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions.” This probably makes sense considering Meghan and Kate Middleton are always sporting much more elaborate hats at events such as baptisms or weddings versus just having their hair up or down when attending much less formal events.
Picking a hat that matches an outfit takes quite a lot more thought than you might have imagined. Party etiquette expert Lisa Forde told Woman & Home, “If an A-Line skirt is selected, it is important to ensure that the hat’s brim width balances out the volume of the skirt. If the outfit is very tailored, a more simple that will be selected.”
While it might not be the norm in other countries, events like royal weddings are the times when outsiders can rave about what creative hats royals will be wearing. “For most people, the hat is quite serious and frivolous at the same time,” Hilary Alexander, fashion director at the Daily Telegraph newspaper, told ABC News. “It completes the outfit and it’s a finishing touch.” All this talk of royal headwear has us wishing there was another royal wedding coming soon just so we can pick out which hats are our favorite!
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