Wardrobe Spotlight – Hats Part 2

If you’re a little lost you might like to read this post in conjunction with Hats Part 1 and DIY Fascinators. This post will give you ideas on how to decorate a plain base hat. I see a lot of people on Etsy who basically just sell pre-bought decorated hats but in my opinion it’s better to buy a better quality plain hat and decorate it yourself with stuff from around the house or things you can buy cheap from the craft store.

I apologise for so many pictures of my face, but hats don’t look quite right unless someone is wearing them.

Your Kit

  • Badges and Brooches
  • Ribbon
  • Scarves and Bandannas
  • Tarot and/or Playing Cards
  • Fabric flowers.
  • Russian Veiling (not pictured here, see below)
  • Hat of your choice.

Soft Hats

These are the hats that don’t keep shape so I wouldn’t attach anything too fancy. A brooch is probably the extent of what you want to add although I’ve also added some ribbon and a short feather. It gives a sort of girl-guide look, but it can pretty cute if you’re into that sort of thing. You can put the brooch in the middle but if you ask me it looks a bit strange on a beret. It looks fine on a cap with a brim however (see below).

Soft and Structured Hats

These hats are made out of soft materials but have a fixed shape. This means you can stick pins into them and if you do it carefully it won’t ruin the hat. More badges and pins will give a kind of hipster-punk look whereas a single brooch will get you a bit more of a military look on the cap. Try experimenting with different button sizes. I personally really like the look of the smaller ones but you can mix and match.

Hats like fedoras have a brim that goes all the way around which means that the crown is pretty stable and the hat looks more balanced on a 360 degree view so you can stick things on the side and around the brim as well. (Compare to a cap where the brim makes the hat front-heavy and it wouldn’t look balanced if you added items anywhere else.)

Hard hats

You probably don’t want to be sticking things like pins into bowlers and top hats so you need some ribbon or a scarf to tie around the brim in order to tuck things under or pin things on.  Think about balance and height levels. While I have items on the back, right side and front of the hat below the highest items are on the side and back. The front brooch/cameo is small and level to the scarf band so it isn’t a major sticking point. At the most you want two built-up areas (and probably not the combination of front & back, and side & side since in this case asymmetry is more pleasing to the eye.)

Add a Veil

What I also see a lot is people selling goth top hats with veils at silly prices. Adding a veil to a top hat is really easy and you can get Russian veiling on Etsy for about $3/yard (approx 90cm) or at your local craft store. You shouldn’t need much more than that and the piece below is only about 20cm wide.

Start off by creating some pleats and tacking them together with safety pins. How many you want is up to you but the more you add the more the veil will puff out. I used four pleats.

Now you should have a trapezoid shape where the top is longer than the bottom. We actually want the veil to create a rounded effect so we don’t want to see the corners at the bottom. Take each bottom corner and pin it together with the outer pleat corner at the top.

Your veiling should look a bit like this now:

If you look inside the brim of your hat there should be some lining around the crown that you can pin this onto. The safety pins should be invisible inside your hat. I personally like having the veil come just under my eyes but you can experiment with what looks best on you. Since the veiling is pinned together and not glued on you can muck about with this and attach it onto different hats. Some people like attaching the veiling to the outside of the hat on the brim at well – you can pin it onto the inside of a scarf or bandanna and hid the safety pins that way. You might need a longer length of veiling however.


Made a fascinator lately? Great! (You can try positioning it at the front and the back of your hat also.)

As always let me know if you had any problems with this post! Hopefully this has inspired you to experiment with sprucing up an old hat or two with stuff you should have around the house. Here’s some other objects you might think about incorporating too: watch faces, brass or metal stampings, wooden shapes, wire, pearls, ribbon rosettes, lace, origami, leather cord, beads and other shiny things.

FYI, the rabbit cameo I am wearing here is new and from The Little Shop Of (Handmade). Unfortunately they’ve sold out of those designs as far as I know but they have plenty of other awesome items at really reasonable prices.


Wardrobe Spotlight – Hats Part 1

(Psst, comment on the content post!)

Before I started researching for this post I had plans to take pictures of my hat collection and name/categorise them into the type of hat they were. I’ve since realised that many classifcations of hats aren’t set in stone and many species look alike (the fedora and the trilby are cases of both). In this post I went ahead with the pictures of hats and their classifications anyway but I’ve added some notes about where I see similarities and overlaps.

I plan on writing a Part 2 will concentrate on different ways of wearing and decorating your hat because really, who cares what it’s called as long as it looks awesome?

Believe it or not I have more hats than the ones listed here, but these are the ones that I wear most often.

Trilbies and Fedoras

I read a couple of hat enthusiast forums where it’s suggested trilbies and fedoras actually the British and American versions of the same thing. Other people define trilbies as a subset of fedoras; a trilby has a much shorter brim and it’s usually upturned at the back. The defining feature of these hats is their pinched crown and their soft bendable exterior. These are great to wear casually and with your diselpunk/swing/gangster outfit.

Puzzingly I also own a grey hat that would be a trilby in every way except it has a completely round crown. I’ve yet to come across a particular name for this hat so if you know it I’d love a comment. I bought this in Urban Outfitters for $20 while I was in the USA. Black fedora was a gift from a friend moving overseas, brown fedora was purchased at Myer for $20.

Top Hats, Derby and Bowlers

Top hats are cylindrical hats with a (usually slightly curved) brim. The difference between a top hat and a derby/bowler hat is that the latter has a rounded crowd. These are stiff hats that are meant to keep their shape. I’d wear these for period looks – depending what outfit you where with these hats they’d equally fit aristocrat to street urchin and everything in-between.

Very short top hat from Wildilocks $55, middle top hat was a birthday gift, right bowler hat is actually a cheater’s costume hat made out of cardboard-ish stuff but I got it for $3 at the Melbourne Show.

Honourable mention: Homburg is like evolutionary link between fedoras and top hats because it’s a stiff hat with a dent.


Caps a hats that fit close over the head with a visor but no brim. This is a peaked cap I bought from Camberwell Market for $15 and a newsboy cap I got from Target for $10. Many of these styles of caps evoke a militaristic style but I’ve also heard them described as “chauffeur” hats.


A beret is a type of round cap that’s soft and doesn’t have a visor. They’re sort of my beanie replacement on a cold day since they’re both compact, soft hats, but berets look much classier. Black  for looking like a bohemian artiste, red for looking like a military guard, crocheted for looking like a hipster. Target $10, Thrifted $3, Myer $10.

Everything Else

The tricorn was made from a wide-brim hat by stitching the brim onto the crown. It’s not a proper tricorn by any means and it looks a bit funny because the crown should be significantly lower than the upturned sides. But the wide-brim hat was only $10 or so from Target and so this DIY version was a lot cheaper and easier than buying or making the real thing.

The mini top hat stays on with some elastic that pulls around the back of my head. I like wearing it on the side and to the front with burlesque-style outfits. I love the shape and how it sits, but it came at a heavy price for $40 at Cleggs.

Part 2

Wardrobe Spotlight – Suspenders

A note to everyone: updates are going to be erratic again as a go through exams! I’ll get back to about once/twice a week after June.

Wardrobe spotlights are in intended to show off the versatility of basic wardrobe staples and why they’re worth investing in.

Also known as braces, these were traditionally worn to hold up pants and were meant to be a type of underwear not outerwear. Today most people wear belts or buy pants that fit them (I guess) so when they wear suspenders it’s as a prominently displayed fashion statement. (A postmodern statement about pants as a metaphor for life being uplifting rather than a rumpled mess around your ankes?) But if you think outside the box a little they can be used to rock a lot of different looks:

1. Traditional

Suspenders to hold up your choice of bottoms. A pair of nice-looking pants and button-up shirt gets you a very gentlemanly look, but suspenders looks equally as awesome worn with shorts or skirts and a t-shirt for a more punk and hipster look.

2. Why don’t my pants fall down?

A variant on the traditional. Instead of suspenders holding up your choice of bottoms your bottoms hold up your suspenders while they hang idly around your thighs. Also known as the “undo your top button and roll up your sleeves” variant.

3. Harness and extra straps

Instead of holding up your bottoms suspenders can be used to provide extra interest by holding up your midriff. In this picture I created a harness sort of thing by clipping the suspenders onto a belt around waist. You can also do this with bustiers, underbust corsets, etc etc.

4. Giving a skirt extra layers

Okay this looks a little weird, but no weirder than a lot of stuff you’d see on a runway. I’ve tried a similar look using suspender belts which also works quite well, and you could also try pinning extra folds with safety pins. The aim is basically trying to replicate something like this. Realistically you won’t get there since that pattern was especially drafted to be hooked up, but you can get pretty close to a cheap-ish bustle skirt.

I hope your mind is now sufficiently blown. Go out and be fabulous.