Easter DressOnce upon a time, no Easter outfit was complete without an Easter hat.

For many women, it was the star of the ensemble.

They’d start their quest as soon as spring clothes hit the stores, often finding the hat first, then tracking down clothes to match.  Then they’d get dressed up and go to church and see what everyone else was wearing, enjoying the fashion show known as Easter Sunday.

It seems like a lifetime ago.

Literally so last century.

Today, the only people you’re likely to see dressed in Easter hats and finery in the United States are small children and Southern women.  It’s a tradition that has sadly fallen by the wayside in recent decades, but one that still brings a smile to my face whenever I see a woman who takes the time to get “all decked out” in her Easter best.

If you’re thinking about your holiday ensemble and are considering wearing an Easter hat this year, here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for and wear that “perfect” hat.

Note:  Fashion For Real Women may receive an affiliate commission if you buy through our links.

Easter Hats for Women

Formal hats can be outrageously expensive, but you have a couple of options:

1. Buy an inexpensive hat that matches your outfit:

Yellow Butterfly Fascinator$16.99 on Amazon Navy Fascinator Clip$17.99 on Amazon

Black Sheer Easter Hat$17.99 on Amazon

Pink Organza Easter Hat$21.99 on Amazon

2. Buy a more expensive hat in a classic style that you can wear for multiple occasions, like Mother’s Day, a summer wedding, a premiere horse race, and the like:

$65.90 on Amazon Black and white hat with wide brim$110.00 on Amazon
Straw boater with band$112.09 on Amazon Lavender Hat$119.99 on Amazon

Other things to consider:

-The hat does not have to be the same color as your ensemble, but it should have some color or embellishment that matches or compliments your ensemble.  It should always be in the same mood as your clothes.

-If your hat is elaborate, your clothes should be simple.  If your clothes are elaborate, your hat should be simple.  Don’t make different parts of your ensemble compete against each other for attention.

Always store hats in hat boxes to keep them dust-free and in the correct shape.  If your hat gets misshapen or damaged, take it to a milliner for repair.

Easter Hat Etiquette

So what are “the rules” for wearing Easter hats – or any hats, for that matter?

Easter hat etiquette-Any embellishment on a woman’s hat will be on the right side of the hat band; men’s hats are embellished on the left side.

-In that same vein, if your hat is worn at an angle, it should lean to your right.  To help remember this, think a woman is always right. 😉

-Wear fascinators forward on your head with the cap or brim hitting just above your right eyebrow.  Do not wear them on the top of your head.

-Women’s fashion hats are kept on indoors for things like church services and while eating brunch at a restaurant.  If the hat is utilitarian or worn for warmth – like a baseball cap or a stocking cap – it should be removed upon entering a building.

-Daytime hats should be removed at dusk because they are daywear.  Evening hats may be worn with evening attire throughout the night.

-Large hats should be removed anytime they obstruct someone’s view, like at a wedding or at the theater.  Hold it in your lap until the service or production is over.

Easter Hats:  Bottom Line

So what’s the bottom line?

Easter hats aren’t just for children.  

They can be fun and elegant for women too, so long as you follow these few simple rules.  Match it to your ensemble, keep in on during services, and garner glances and comments wherever you go.  You’ll wonder why women don’t wear hats more often!

Need more tips on how to wear Easter hats and other fashion accessories?  Download a copy of Accessory Magic to see how using accessories can define your style and stretch your budget.


Diana PembertonDiana Pemberton is an image consultant and author of Accessory Magic.  Want to know how to wear hats, gloves, hosiery, and scarves plus dozens of other accessories?  Then grab a copy of Accessory Magic.



Easter Hat Etiquette



    7 replies to "Easter Hat Etiquette"

    • Joy-Anna Wadsworth

      I LOVED this article! I have been wearing Easter hats for the past 20 years. I will admit that I am from Alabama, but it was not the usual fashion for my age group. ( I\\\’m only 42).

      My grandmother always insisted on wearing an Easter hat and gloves and insisted that I have them as well. (She also thought that one should wear hats, hose and gloves when shopping t the mall, but that is a story for another day) I had always loved going with her and getting our Easter hats. She always had the most impecable style. Walking into church with her \\"dressed to the nines\\" wearing our new hats is a treasured childhood memory.

      The only time that I have not worn a hat for Easter was during the 80\\\’s when my hair was too big to fit one over.

      When my daughters came along (and I was able to give up my big, Alabama pageant hairdo) I revived my Easter hat tradititon. I\\\’ve had great luck buying really nice quality hats at a fraction of the usual price at Sears (great selection) and have even found some great basic hats that I embellished myself, at our local Walmart!

      I even renewed the trend among the ladies at my church! At first, I was the only hat wearer in our congregation of 500, so I was hard to miss. Lucky for me, I\\\’m not shy! After services, so many people, both women and men, would compliment me on my hat. Several were our older members, pre-baby boomers,but surprisingly just as many were not. Over the years there have been more and more ladies sporting Easter hats, Now, in the weeks leading up to Easter, ladies stop me to \\"just make sure\\" that I\\\’m still going to wear a hat, so they won\\\’t be alone!

      Thank you again for posting this great article!

      • Diana

        Hi Joy-Anna,

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for the note.

        Easter hats ARE fun but seldom seen these days. Too bad! They can add so much to an outfit.

        LOVE your suggestion of getting a Walmart hat and embellishing it – an inexpensive, crafty way to get a great look. Thanks!

      • Randy

        You are just adorable! I bet my mother would have said exactly the same thing! I realize you wrote this post years ago but, I’m going to wear a hat this Easter for the first time in years and just stumbled on your reply here. I had to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your reply about enjoying the article!

    • Nancy Molstad

      Question: how does one arrange one’s hair for optimal hat-wearing?

      • Diana

        Hi Nancy,

        It depends on the hat. If it’s small, like a fascinator, wear your hair as you usually would and just at the hat. Kate Middleton is a master of this – just Google a few of her best looks. If the hat is larger – like a fedora or a wide-brimmed style – keep your hair simple. You can pull it back, put it in a low ponytail or bun, etc. – the goal it to keep the focus on the hat. Hope that helps!


    • Julia

      Hi Diana

      I am really glad that you support hat wearing. I love hats, but again in the UK we wear them far less than we used to. I will confess to hat ownership (actually several in different styles), but rarely have the occasion to use them, though on a hot summer day when the sun is out I will occasionally dress up to go shopping in our local town and will don a hat on the excuse of requiring sun protection. Then I kind of feel ‘a la’ Julia Roberts in Petty Woman when she has completed her shopping trip on Rodeo Drive second time around and returns to the hotel – didn’t she look fabulous – elaborate hat and simple plain buttoned dress IIRC? I did discover on the internet a rather magnificent group of ladies in the USA called the Hat Ladies who wear their hats and raise funds for charitable causes and I did think this was a lovely idea, I’m sure they would love your article too. I do secretly harbour a hope hats will one day become popular again, but I doubt this will happen.

      • Diana

        Hi Julia,

        Southern ladies here in the US still wear hats to church, but other than that, you don’t see it much any more. Which is a shame – it used to be part of every well-dressed woman’s wardrobe. Maybe they WILL come back in fashion some day. One can only hope! 😉

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