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The No-Hands Parasol

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Lessons in Diameter

The face-shape-to-brim-size equation, as explained by milliner Ellen Christine.


Illustrations by Camille Roman  

Round Face

A wider brim—around four and a half inches in width—is the ideal. The goal is to create a slimming effect, so the hat’s not just one round shape atop another.




Heart-Shaped Face

Opt for a medium-width brim (three to three and a half inches), and tilt it diagonally. But not too diagonally! You want the hat’s brim to slant across your face at its widest part.




Thin Face

The opposite of the round-face strategy; you’re looking to open up the angles here. Choose a narrower brim, down to as little as two inches, so you don’t end up looking like a lollipop.




Oval Face

Because it’s the most symmetrical and, therefore, pleasing of face shapes, it’s the one milliners usually choose for their mannequins. An oval face is like being a clothing size 2 or 4: Any hat will work.



Every Face

Don’t let the brim cover your eyes. Or wear your hat on the back of your head like a tiara. Or try to reshape the crown—it’s okay to tweak a brim, but messing with the crown will destroy the hat.


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