Yes, You Can Wear A Hat

wear a hat

wear a hat

Yes, You Can Wear a Hat

by Laurie Nienhaus


“The hat I was married in, will it do?
White, broad, fake flowers in a tiny array.
It’s old-fashioned, as stylish as a bedbug,
but it suits to die in something nostalgic.
Anne Sexton

As surely as we see sugar bowls on the tea table, we expect to see hats upon the heads of tea party guests. It’s not a requirement of course, but tea and millinery do share a long standing relationship.

“The hat is not for the street. It will never be democratized. But there are certain houses that one cannot enter without a hat. And one must always wear a hat when lunching with people whom one does not know well. One appears to one’s best advantage.” Coco Chanel

However, some find that relationship a strain, claiming they cannot possibly wear a hat – not any hat, ever. With all due respect, I can only reply, “Nonsense.”

There are really only two obstacles to standing in the way of chapeau bliss. First, hats naturally attract attention. Couple this with the different visual perspective our adorned head gives us and it’s easy feel self conscious or somehow not ourselves.

“I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee.” Bella Abzug

If you can’t overcome this first obstacle, for which we can offer only emotional support, your hat will likely wear you rather than you wearing it. And, sooner or later the poor hat, through no fault of its own, will find itself sitting upon a folding table at a garage sale.

The second obstacle is the fact that most of us lack the DNA necessary for millinery savvy. But with the following principles as your guide, you’ll not only appear joyfully and completely put together, you’ll likely overcome the first obstacle on your own.

wear a hat


- Only little girls wear hats sitting further back on their heads. A grown woman wears her hat sitting down upon her forehead – roughly one finger’s width above the eyebrow.

- Always tilt your hat to one side or the other, especially if you’ve a round or square face. And, although the milliner may have envisioned the hat sitting a certain way upon the head, there’s no reason why some hats can’t be turned in another direction.

- As a hat sits so close to your skin, choose colors matching your skin tone. If you’re sallow, a yellow or pale green hat is not for you. Pale skinned women should consider warm colors. Women with very dark hair should steer away from black hats.

- If the color of your hat exactly matches your outfit, accessorize with a complementary color.

- Always try on a hat in natural light.

- Rather than using the small mirrors universally sitting upon shop counters, look at yourself in a full length mirror while trying on hats, preferably while wearing the clothing you’re buying the hat for.

- Bangs are best tucked into a hat.

- Tucking your hair behind your ears, in a ponytail or a chignon, usually improves a hat’s appeal.

- Because your hair is away from your face, consider earrings to complement the hat and your outfit.

wear a hat

- The top of a hat’s crown should be at least as wide as your cheekbones and the brim should never be wider than your shoulders.

- If you’re tall, consider wide brimmed hats and avoid small hats.

- If you’re short or have a small face, avoid large hats.

- If your face is long, consider wide brimmed hats and push the brim down further on your forehead. Narrow brims will only make your face appear longer.

- Wide brimmed hats balance curvy figures.

- Round or floppy brims make a round face appear even rounder. Instead, choose a hat with a high brim and/or an angular shape.

- If you have an oval shaped face, you can wear most any hat, no matter what its shape.

- As a rule of balance, the more skin you’re showing, the wider your hat’s brim can be.

- No white after Labor Day remains a steadfast rule for millinery.

- Generally speaking, hat size decreases as the day progresses. Miss Manners says, “If the hat looks like you built it, it may properly go to daytime functions; but if it looks as if it just landed in the hair (bits of netting, tiny feathers, sequins, etc.) it goes out at night.”

- Pairing a vintage hat with modern clothing can sometimes work but often only creates a mismatched silhouette. Consider carefully before venturing out into the wide world with that 40′s hat upon your head.

- One of the easiest ways to dramatically change a hat is to cover the crown. Tie a knot in each corner of a square scarf to “round it off.” Center the scarf over your hat’s crown and tuck the edges and knotted corners under. Let the edges drape and secure with a few hidden stitches.


“Hats have never at all been one of the vexing problems of my life,

but, indifferent as I am, these render me speechless. I should think a well-taught

and tasteful American milliner would go mad in England, and eventually hang herself

with bolts of green and scarlet ribbon — the favorite colour combination in Liverpool.”
Willa Cather

Laurie Nienhaus is an author, playwright and public speaker living on Fort Myers Beach, Florida. She is also the director of Gilded Lily Publishing and Beach Haus Productions. To learn more, visit

Etiquette School For Children



An etiquette school for children specializes in teaching a specific set of social skills to children. You can find an etiquette school in nearly every part of the country. Their lessons vary, but eventually, there is convergence between all of them.

The best etiquette schools are capable of training even the youngest children in the proper way of behaving when in the presence of other people. The main advantage of such schools is that they provide an authority figure to the children. This is a well-known phenomenon – children are actually more receptive to authority figures outside their home.When you enroll your child in such a school, expect that there are group classes and one-on-one coaching. The power of the lessons is often developed during the one-on-one coaching, where children are motivated to practice proper etiquette because it matters.

We believe that these schools are important because really, good manners are not hardwired into a human’s brain. They must be learned, remembered, applied and constantly enforced.

What does an etiquette school offer? Usually, the school divides the lessons into distinct phases. The first phase usually involves a discussion of why proper etiquette must be learned.

Children are given a variety of situations and the coaches ask questions about what the best behaviors could be in such situations. To encourage openness, role-playing games are also used to enhance the learning experience. This phase of the learning of proper etiquette may include grooming lessons, lessons on how to dress up properly for social occasions, etc.

After a fun introduction to proper etiquette, an etiquette consultant or coach may move on to discussing how to best behave in public. Children are taught how they can be kinder and more polite in their everyday life.

Simple things like asking gently when they want something, or being a good sport when playing with friends has a huge impact on how children are understood and accepted into social circles. By removing the ‘edge’ associated with ultra-modern living (extreme competitiveness, extreme individualism, etc.) a child is taught that there are other ways of approaching ordinary situations.

After discovering the various gems of proper etiquette that can be used in the public setting, coaches ‘zoom in’ on individual aspects of daily living, such as eating out in a fine restaurant. Table manners are taught. This is not about merely knowing which fork to use when eating dinner. It’s about being polite enough during mealtime that a child can eat with anybody without running the risk of offending anyone.

Like this article?  Read these as well:

 How Children’s Tea Parties Could Change Your Life

Tips from a Children’s Tea Party Pro


Tea Party Girl Invites You To Check Start An Etiquette Club In Your Own Area. Check Out

Tea and Etiquette Video


Tea and Etiquette.  What is right and what is wrong?  This simple video gives some great ideas and helps you feel confident at the tea table!

Royal Wedding Tea Time Fever – Stephen Colbert


You knew it had to happen right?  At some point I was going to hoop and hollar about the upcoming Royal Wedding.  Let’s start it off with a bit of fun from Stephen Colbert and his ode to all things British including our favorite, TEA TIME.

Stephen takes us to Tea and Sympathy in New York and works with Hugo Vickers, the Tea Time know it all :)  So take notes ladies and gentlemen.  We wouldn’t want to royals to be offended through our t.v.’s



Tea Party Girl asks:  Will you watch the Royal Wedding with a cup of tea? 

PLEASE Stop Calling My Daughter and I (Me*) Guys!

Bad habits

I think I might start a new American reality show. Maybe I call it “America’s Next Worst Habit”. Or how about, “So You Think You Have Good Manners?” But I’m not convinced anyone (present readers excluded, of course) would watch it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Traveling my favorite state refreshed me with its breathtaking beauty (Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Monterey) and quaint oases (i.e. Balboa Island). And for the most part, we were greeted by helpful and friendly residents of gorgeous Orange County. But between eating out and easy access to cable TV (I admit to some HGTV indulgence) I could finance another vacation for every time someone addressed two or more people with, “You guys”.

I don’t always have a problem with this. When my husband and sons are with me and we’re driving through In-n-Out Burger the term does not make me cringe. And in a language and culture that has few words and less protocol to support the gender differences, I can intellectualize why the phrase has risen to prominence. But as lazy language and an unconscious message I can. not. stand. it.

It spilled over into one of my tea experiences last week. A server younger than the two women attending (myself included) called us and the two children attending (my daughter included) “You Guys” through the entire tea, as in “Would you guys like some more tea?” “Are you guys all finished?” “Can I get you guys anything else?”

When addressing my daughter and her cousin (ages 7 and 3) I wish she had said, “Would you GIRLS like some more tea?” And I’m wondering if my generation thinks the word “ladies” is akin to “ma’am” and only for women the generation beyond them? I don’t mind being called a lady. If you are serving women only, why not communicate respect and say, “Are you ladies finished?” And if you’re unsure, consider dropping the labels altogether. Say, “Can I get YOU anything else?” or “How did YOU like the chocolate cake?” You is perfectly acceptable use for addressing more than one person. Even a dear friend at a bridal shower of all women addressed them as “you guys” throughout the event. It’s our new bad habit and we no longer hear it. But it sounds as grating as inserting “like” into every other sentence used to be.

So now it’s your turn. Does it bother you? How do you like to be addressed? What do you like to be called? Do you find ‘girl’ derogatory and ‘lady’ old-fashioned? Are you a server? How do you address your customers? Do you think I’m being nit-picky?

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.

* jk left a comment pointing out my gross grammar error in the title. Yes, I needed to use “me” as the direct object. Duh! In all fairness though, the post’s purpose was to discuss etiquette, not grammar, so I’m not convinced they can be directly compared.