There's no way a hat's gonna cover that September 08 2014

Watching visitors pass by my booth with perfectly coiffed hair, I imagined there's no way a woman will want to cover that with a hat. So it got me to questioning hair styling compared to hat styling.

Why is it that women will spend a small fortune fine tuning her hair style, color and curl, but not consider hat styling before declaring, "I don't look good in hats!"

We can't be born with a perfect hair style; it doesn't grow into a particular style without help. It takes time and a hair stylist usually. Hair styling is a big part of our culture now; good stylists help us find a style that accents our best features and downplays the rest.

    One size does not fit all
Rejecting a hat on the first try is like seeing your hair after it's just been washed and declaring, "I don't look good in hair!"

When hair styling was not the vogue it is today, women sought advice from hat stylists to find and fit the perfect hat. Nowadays, when a hat is plunked on a head like a potted plant is put to a sill, well, the hat looks like a potted plant.

Perhaps consider that hats are a little bit like hair styles: some are flattering, some are not. Styling favorably for your attributes is essential and takes a little time, experimentation and practice.

Work it
Allow a hat to be styled for you before rejecting it. Beside size, there is hair color and complexion to consider. A face is enhanced by some hat shapes more so than others. For example, a hat set on an angle slims a round face (like mine) or makes a rectangular face appear more oval.

A brim is an important styling element. Whereas long-necked models with oval faces make any hat look great, a person with a short neck (again, like mine) needs a narrow brim at the nape so the hat doesn't fall off when looking around. Visual weight: a wide brim all around is great for larger persons with large personalities, but a smaller face can be overwhelmed.

From resigned to refined
At a recent show, a woman and her husband were looking for a hat that she could wear on an upcoming Mediterranean cruise. She didn't normally wear hats and was convinced she didn't look good in them.

First we tried a large brimmed hat that protects her skin from reflections off the water and in a color scheme that suited her fair complexion. That was sensible. And it was okay, but her husband encouraged her to try on another black and grey hat with a medium brim. Though the color wasn't as complementary, the brim's size didn't overwhelm her face like the larger brim and they were both happy. Both hats had a fedora style crown that wasn't too high for the dome of her head.

Next, I pulled out a cloche/bucket style with a round top and three-inch crown with a brim that tapered at the nape but could be turned up a little in front. It was a bold colorful print--black and white checks overlayed with red hibiscus trimmed in gold, and black with white dots inside. Not a perfect color match for her skin tone nor her quiet personality, I thought.

When she tried it on, they both gasped. She lit up under that hat. It was the white among the bold colors that brought out the light in her skin and eyes. I could see her glow. She came in doubtful and resigned and left happy and confident.

It's magic when that happens.