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• Hats on the Runway
Lessons in Diameter
The face-shape-to-brim-size equation, as explained by milliner Ellen Christine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Photographs by Phil Oh