Judy Bentinck is one of the world’s top couture milliners, with a waiting list of clients eager to get their hands on one of her sought-after creations.
Judy creates a Spring/Summer, and Autumn/Winter collection each year, but her speciality is creating an exclusive bespoke hat for each individual client. The occasion, outfit, face, hair and body all influence design, so each hat is unique.
It is this service that has seen lots of celebs, such as Claire Balding and Jenny Agutter, wearing her designs while collecting OBEs, at the races, and at weddings.
She passes on her knowledge through lessons at Central Saint Martins, and has also written a book, called Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces, that gives away some of the tricks of the trade.
Judy has also worked in the costume departments of the BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Royal Opera House.
Her website is www.judybentinck.com
Tips on Choosing the Perfect Wedding Hat
* Your height is important
Proportions are crucial to hat choice, so put some thought into what works for your height. Big brims look fabulous on a tall wearer, but can drown a smaller person, and prevent people from seeing the face. Something particularly important for those who will be appearing in wedding photos! If you want to add height, feathers are a great addition for this.
* No white hats allowed!
Everyone knows that a white or ivory dress is a cardinal sin at a wedding, but this colour no-go applies to your hat too. You would be surprised how often a guest gets so wrapped up in what they want to wear, that they turn up in a headpiece that in reality should only be worn by the bride.
* Make sure the hat is secure
Be confident when wearing a hat by being sure of a good fit or that it is securely attached. A well-fitting hat or headpiece can have internal means of keeping it secure. Combs and hat elastic are good and many fascinators are set on a headband which makes them very secure and it also means the detail will be in the correct position.
* Consider a flattering veil
If you like the idea of a veil as part of your hat, then go for it. A veil over the eyes can be very subtle and alluring. It softens the features so is very flattering. Spot veiling is particularly successful as the dots can be rearranged to look like beauty spots!
* No over-matching
Co-ordinate your hat with your bag but don’t overdo the matching accessories. Some people are over concerned with everything being the same colour, but then bag, shoes and dress can be overwhelming and look rather solid. It is best to break it up with a colour picked out from the hat in either shoes or bag to tie the look together. Nude shoes are a bonus as they go with most colours and make your legs look longer.
* Comfort is the most important thing
Do consider comfort too – if you were to spend half the day secretly wanting to take your hat off, that would be a real shame. And once you have found that perfect hat, don’t be afraid to wear it again and again – just combine with different outfits, or add a feather or a broach for variety.
* Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces is out now, priced £19.95, hardback.
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