Expert tips for what to look for - and how to wear - the latest in bridal headware

CTW Features

Tiaras, fascinators, hats and more – headwear is all the rage in wedding attire these days, thanks to England’s über-stylish princess-to-be. Not only does Kate Middleton rarely leave home without something on her head, for her own upcoming nuptials she will honor royal tradition by donning an heirloom tiara.

Thinking about crowning your gown with fun and fashionable headwear? The following expert advice will help you accomplish a look that’s gorgeous – not garish.

Tiaras are hot right now, says Ellen Heisler, senior associate fashion editor for Brides magazine. She recommends taking inspiration from one of the following two trends: either a small, delicate comb or band of crystal pieces that can be tucked into the hair, or a fresh take on the statement tiara – styles that feature larger, chunkier crystals for a more playful look than the proper beauty pageant versions.

Ms. Middleton may be wearing a tiara to her ceremony, but Susan Metropoulos, owner of The Left Bank, a Chicago-based bridal finery boutique, is more excited to see what headwear the new princess may be sporting at her receptions. “It’s definitely a recent trend to wear something subtle to a religious ceremony, and then don something festive and fabulous for the reception,” says Metropoulos, noting the chic, confident Kate frequently completes her look with fascinators.

Fascinators are often comprised of large fabric flowers, feathers, brooches and/or netting, and are held in place with a band, clip, pin or comb. They come in all sizes, but Metropoulos has been seeing a preference for large statement pieces, often with dramatic, asymmetrical designs. In addition to The Left Bank’s private line of vintage-inspired headpieces, La Reine de Jour (, Metropoulos recommends Haute Bride (, a design studio that makes striking yet wearable fascinators reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour. Etsy is also a great resource, especially for unique, affordable versions, as are your local milliners.

Regardless, if you plan to wear a fascinator that’s a real showstopper, make sure the rest of your jewelry doesn’t compete with the look, warns Heisler. For earrings, skip the chandeliers or shoulder dusters in favor of little drops or studs, and if you’d also like to wear a necklace and bracelet, Heisler advises focusing on a single piece – either a bold necklace or a cuff or armful of bangles that complements the headpiece.

The same limited-accessory advice applies to wearing an eye-catching hat during your festivities. In addition, when selecting your lavish lid, Heisler recommends taking your wedding style/location into account. Smaller cocktail hats, often bedecked with flowers, feathers and birdcage veils, look best at chic restaurant fêtes and other less traditional soirées. But if you’re having an outside affair, such as a garden or beach wedding, you’re welcome to wear either the cocktail version or a larger, wide-brimmed sun hat.

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