Heading to the UK any time soon? I was loaned two insanely fabulous headpieces last year when I was back in Blighty for Royal Ascot as well as several weddings. The lovely London-based girls who run The Hat Club asked me to hold fire on posting about them until it was hat season again, which it certainly is now.
Last summer I had three weddings to go to and only so much space in my suitcase. Harriet and Lucy to the rescue, who appear to have set up The Hat Club for people just like me.
Essentially a fresh take on a hat hire company, these gals have done their research: they only seem to stock genuinely covetable creations. Everything I saw on their website I instantly want to jam on my head and wear. Milliners that they stock include Philip Treacy and Gina Foster as well as up and coming names such as Emily London and Rosie Olivia. Prices range from £45-120.
They were very patient with me (I kept changing my mind about what I was wearing to each wedding, which meant that my hat choice kept changing too). I opted for this veiled peacock creation, by Laura Cathcart for the first wedding:
For wedding #2 I broke my rule about not wearing cheongsams (just this once) and wore a Juliette Botterill with my aqua, scallop-edged cheongsam to a best friend’s London wedding. I am never 100 percent sure of the cheongsam + hat combo but, too bad, on it went:
You have the choice of going to The Hat Club’s studio to try things on (its in Fulham), or if you are bold – or lazy, like me – just take a chance and have it couriered to wherever you are in the UK. For one Oxfordshire wedding I asked them to sent it direct to the country pub I was staying in. It arrived a day ahead of me. To return it, just post it back in the hat box it came in – first class is absolutely fine, they say there’s no need for special delivery.
I also like the freedom that hiring a hat gives you; it allowed me to loan a totally bonkers headpiece (below, for instance) that I would never buy because I’d worry I wouldn’t get enough wear out of it. I wore this Philip Treacy orange percher with a grey coat dress to my cousin’s wedding, wedding #3, where I also met the lovely and really rather wonderful Eva Rice.
Another feather in their cap is that The Hat Club operate a pick-up and drop-off service at key UK sporting events. At the moment it’s only Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby. All you do is make your selection online the night before and they’ll meet you at the entrance gates with it. You can then drop it off with them straight afterwards too – zero hassle. They also offer advice to overseas visitors on the Royal Ascot dress code that has tightened up considerably (and rightly so, it had got horribly chavvy – read my write up of last year’s trip to the Royal Enclosure here).
They will reserve hats for international visitors to collect upon arrival, but I’d go a step further and get them biked over to your hotel. Everything’s in great condition and they clean them the instant they are returned.
Once a upon a time, when you googled “Hat Hire” you got a middle-aged shop loaning some hideously out-of-date dusty old hats; now, no longer.
For details on The Hat Club, please click here
A big thank you to the Hat Club for the complementary loan of four fabulous fascinators & hats
Aqua cheongsam image is courtesy of Heline Bekker