7 Occasion Wear Looks - Styled From Head To Toe

Get Ready for the Season
As restrictions ease once more and the world begins to get it’s groove back, there’s plenty of long-awaited events to look forward to. From weddings to garden parties, and thank god, the return of the racing season and Royal Ascot. It’s  definitely time to start celebrating!
With so much on the horizon you might find yourself once again wondering… what do I wear? And where do I begin with choosing hats for the occasions?
Luckily, Jess’ expert styling advice and hat-know-how has got you covered! 
One of the best ways to style a headpiece is starting with the outfit. Hats are used to complete an entire silhouette and often make the perfect finishing touch. So we always recommend starting with the outfit as a whole, this way we can work with the cut, colours and textures of the look to make sure the hat highlights all the best bits. 
Booking an appointment with Jess is the most effective way to ensure you get your hat and outfit right. But for those of you who can’t make it to the studio yet, or just need a few pointers, here are some of our top outfit styling tips for the most common styles and silhouettes we see. 
The Shift Dress
When styling the shift dress, it’s great to go for playful takes on this traditional style. Pair this shape with standout jewellery and pop colours in your makeup for a killer daytime look. You can of course keep this look classic, but flashes of colour with this simple cut is always a stunning statement to make.
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Ascot this year, the 2021 Ladies Dress Code has handy styling tips for the occasion. Dress-related rules you’ll need to take note of, as always, are that skirts should be modest in length, covering the knee or longer, while all dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or wider. 
Ladies must wear a headpiece or hat with a solid base of 10cm or more to attend, luckily almost all of Jess’ occasionwear designs are made with this in mind and are Royal enclosure appropriate. The shift dress silhouette will always look great with small, statement designs such as the pill box, a high hairband or small percher hats. 
Jess recommends: A structured shape like our Leonie pill box would suit the shift well, especially with its hand dyed finish – one unique enough to lift any look. (Remember you can have this made in any colour). Alongside this, our Margo headpiece makes a feathered style statement that pairs with shift silhouettes perfectly. 
The Trouser Suit & Jumpsuit 
The trouser suit and jumpsuit are brilliant occasion wear picks. Look and feel incredible in them by sporting paired back accessories with glowing makeup, leaving space for a hat dramatic enough to match the outfit.
Heading to the races in this look? You’ll need to make sure your top and bottoms feature matching colours and materials, with trousers reaching the ankle and all jumpsuits falling below the knee.
This sleek sharp style looks great with a hat that elongates the lines of the outfit, such as a top hat, a side sweep or hats with lots of height. We love the Amelie (see below) with a jumpsuit, as the feathers reaching for the sky create a tall, striking silhouette. Matching the highlight colours in this hat to the main colour of the jumpsuit also looks particularly good. 
Jess recommends: If you’re looking to make more of a statement with your suit, our signature JCM Top Hat or Cornelia both bring oodles of flare and personality.
For a more understated style, there’s nothing better than The Wild Flower Raffia Hairband, this piece adds a little bit of height and the perfect amount of glamour.
The 50’s frock
Now we don’t literally mean a vintage ‘new look’ 50’s cut dress, but rather any dresses in your wardrobe that feature a nipped in waistline and a full midi skirt. You would be surprised how many outfits in your wardrobe feature this cut. Dresses like this are particularly versatile and are easy to style with most hats, although they do come into their own when paired with vintage pieces. 
To balance the fullness in the cut of this dress, we recommend a hat that’s flat and wide. Just remember not to go wider than the width of your shoulders with the brim, to keep you looking proportionate. Side sweeping pieces and big brims work brilliantly, as do sculptural designs.
An important consideration for any occasion look is your hairstyle, of course, and we’d recommend a sleek ponytail or chignon here.
Jess recommends: A firm favourite hat of ours is the Blanche, an elegant mint showstopper draped in tulle and trimmed with a silk rose. This piece is suitable for all of this season’s events but would look truly scrumptious at the races! Chic, fun and feminine, the Collette and the Sylvie would both look stunning with this feminine shape. 
Playful Prints 
Prints are one of the most difficult looks to style with a hat as they can often be very busy. We recommend that if you’re planning to wear a bold print, either go bold with your hat also or go simple.
Jess recommends: To go bold, pick out a few colours in the print and find a hat that incorporates these, pulling out pops of colour from the print will have you looking put together in no time at all. We would say the Erte, the Violet Sweep or the Rosehip headdress would work well for this. We particularly love the Rosehip, a cluster of faux berries, perfect to wear with any jazzy print. 
To go simple we would say pick one colour out of the print and go for a block colour. This works particularly well with hairbands like the Fluer or hats like the Noa. Remember we can make any of our styles in any colour.
If you’re going for a floaty printed dress, a feathery headpiece would be nice to mirror its movement. Steer clear of wearing clashing textures with a look like this though, as you can easily add to many ingredients into the mix.  
The Floral Dress
Speaking of prints, here’s a staple that’s in every one of our wardrobes: the floral midi dress. An ever-popular shape that’s an easy styler, great for when you’re unsure of what to wear. There are so many on the market at the moment, Rixo, Ghost and Lisou are just some of the most popular styles you’ll see throughout the summer season.
A good floral print will add a touch of femininity to any outfit, be it through delicate design or rich, flamboyant colours. Choosing your makeup and shoes to compliment these always works excellently.
We find that saucer hats are magnificent for adding dimension to dresses like these and should be worn facing forward, just sweeping past the eyebrow with their brim. Button hats and perchers are also brilliant for dressing up this casual style. We would recommend sticking to the print rules above of course!
Jess recommends: If you fancy pairing some flora with your florals, these are the headpieces for you. Our Forget Me Not is made from woven raffia with vintage veiling, covered in forget-me-not blooms. For something delicate, it’s got to be the delightful Lily.
The Skirt Suit & Coat Dress 
Another look that brings vintage fashion to the forefront, skirt suits and coat dresses are unmatched in their glamour. A statement headband with elegant earrings or an upturned brim can almost give the illusion of a facelift, bringing attention upwards and to your facial features. Smaller brimmed, vintage hats and boaters really add to this look’s luxury style.
Jess recommends: Why not try Renee, the delicate percher hat trimmed with tulle and finished with a silken flower? Or our Rosabell, a boater with a beautiful bow and blush toned veiling that brings pizzaz to any occasion.
The Maxi Dress
The last of our looks, is the maxi, another of the most versatile looks. Whether it’s tiered, made with full or capped sleeves, or even features mixed materials, almost anything works with a dress like this. 
Styling bursts of colour with this cut works brilliantly for summertime weddings and garden parties alike. Controversially, this style can even look great when worn with effortlessly styled, free flowing hair and the right kind of headpiece to match.
Try an asymmetrical piece or tipping your hat at a jaunty for an avant-garde feel. Alternatively go for a striking headpiece like the Golden Crown. 
Jess recommends: No hat sets the tone quite like our Hulaniki, a twisted brim reed blossom burst filled with silk flowers. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to a long length maxi, just as the Elise headpiece would be too.
Whichever luxurious look and statement headwear you choose, we hope you’ll feel one-in-a-million once it’s on. 
For those of you who don’t quite fancy committing to one hat for the season, we’ve got just the service to see you through a packed summer schedule. With our exclusive JCM Hat Hire, you can rent bespoke hats of ours for any special event – you’ll get all the glamour with half the commitment!
If you’re still feeling stuck or you’re looking for some personal styling advice, tailored to your own outfits, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can book an in-person appointment to play dress up with us in the studio, or send your questions across in an email to jess@jesscollettmilliner.com
Jess is always happy to help you style a look, from head to toe!

Author: © Scarlett Hatchwell

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