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  • Learn More About Formal Hats

    A formal hat is for when you want to boost your style and take things up a notch. The hats are often worn to dressy events like gala dinners or paired with wedding attire. They’re also right at home at garden parties, brunches, and church services. Some formal hats like a cloche hat can finish your ensemble, while others, like a larger-than-life Kentucky Derby hat are meant to be the standout.

    Etsy shops sell a wide range of handmade and vintage formal hats, with both classic and whimsical designs in every color of the rainbow. Here are a few of the most common styles.

    • Cloche hats: Cloche hats were the go-to cocktail and dancing hats in the early 1900s, but in recent years have made an appearance in the world of bridal wear. The cloche, which means “bell” in French, was named for its distinct shape.
    • Top hats: Top hats are typically reserved for the most formal gatherings and galas. They became popular during the rise of black tie events.
    • Bowler hats: Bowler hats, also known as derby hats, are the casual cousin to the top hat. They have rounded tops with a shorter fit.
    • Pillbox hats: Pillbox hats are small, flat crowned hats with straight sides and no brim. The elegant hats were a hit in the ‘50s and ‘60s but are still a popular choice today, particularly at weddings and church services. Because the hats are smaller than your head, they may require an elastic band or bobby pins to secure in place, especially if you wear it tilted back slightly. If you want to wear it tilted to the side, consider using a fascinator version of the pillbox, which is built to maintain the slanted fit.

    What you wear with a formal hat depends entirely on which type of formal hat you choose. A long, charcoal coat with an ashy bowler hat says you aren’t afraid of a little rain while an amber cloche hat paired with an autumn maple skirt make the perfect early fall attire. Toss on an oversized cardigan and match your bag or purse color to your cloche hat for a simple way to tie your outfit together. Meanwhile, a vintage pillbox hat with a veil makes for a next-level formal wedding hat. No matter what you wear, a formal hat can elevate your look—and add personality to your outfit.