Rules for tea party attire are firm — tradition trumps trends.
But the sky’s the limit when it comes to hats. Do you want to fit in or make a statement?
What should the color, fabric, form, and function say about you?
Whether it’s a blast from the past, the best of modern couture, or a bit of both, a tea party hat expresses your personal style.
Let’s over the general rules and how to match tea party hats and dresses. After that, we will introduce some stylish tea party hat ideas to choose from.
What Kind of Hat to Wear to a Tea Party?
A tea party hat should match the color and feel of your outfit. You want to look put together, so headwear should accentuate your tea party attire not distract from it.
Certain styles are tea party traditions, but you’re not limited to vintage frills. Today’s chapeaus have a sophisticated and even artistic flair that respects both the past and present.
For ladies, the most popular choice is the ever-elegant fascinator. A bit of silk, netting, or lace adorned with decorations from feathers to beads, it’s more of a headpiece than a hat.
Attached to a headband or clip, fascinators are inexpensive and versatile. Born in the Tudor period, they’re favored by UK royalty.
Somewhat more functional but no less chic is the pillbox hat. So-named for its flat top and straight sides, it has no brim.
Popularized in the 1960s by America’s First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, they were once modest hats in silk or wool, but they’ve since evolved to be as ornamental as fascinators.
Other Women’s Hats
The most practical hats for a garden tea party are a wide-brimmed cloche or bucket hat.
Formal occasions call for fabrics like organza, while fine straw and linen hats are welcomed at more casual events. Lightweight and breathable, they deflect the hot afternoon sun.
For gentlemen, hat choices range from tweed caps to top hats. But a bowler or derby is a classic. A plush felt hat with a round crown, thin grosgrain band, and short curved brim, it’s been a fixture at London events since 1849.
A fedora is another smart choice, especially for young men. Pinch-pleated at the crown with brims in lengths that wax and wane through the years, it rose to fame as Humphrey Bogart’s headdress in Casablanca.
Felt and wool in solids and tweeds are timeless choices, but breezy straw and evening-ready leather hats are equally urbane.
Unisex fedoras and newsboy or flat caps are styled for both men and women.
Matching Tea Party Hats and Dresses
The goal of any hat is to pull an outfit together, so selecting complementary fabrics and colors is a must.
Gents, a hat should match your belt and shoes. Tone and seasonality are equally critical. A Panama-style fedora looks as out of place in cold weather as a top hat does at a casual afternoon event.
Ladies, ornamental hats are always in fashion, but color and texture can serve as a uniting element or a contrast. A beige hat blends with a beige dress, but a navy cloche makes the blue trim on a beige dress pop. Black-on-black is the only faux-pas for tea parties — it’s too dour.
Hats not to wear include baseball hats, caps with logos, and the type of casual knit hat worn in winter. Keep it classy.
18 Stylish Tea Party Hat Ideas
Here are some great hats and headpieces to wear at a tea party. Pick one that matches your dress personal style.
Note: Most products below are available in several different colors and designs.
Fascinators and Pillbox Hats
Fascinators and pillbox hats are never fashion fails.
1. DRESHOW Fascinator for Women
This floral mesh fascinator is ready for spring with colors galore. A bit of glitz for your afternoon event, the delicate birdcage veiling offsets a spray of glamorous feathers.
Feminine but daring, it says in no uncertain terms that you’ve arrived. And it matches almost anything.
2. Zivyes Tea Party Fascinator Hat
Neither brash nor timid, Zivyes’ compact fascinator is just right for occasions from tea parties to Derby day.
A classic swirl of lightweight mesh, ribbon, and feather surrounding a splash of matching beads, it’s small enough to wear atop your head or to the side using the included headband or hair clip.
3. BABEYOND Women’s Pillbox Fascinator Hat
An elegant hat by any measure, this vintage-inspired pillbox hat has a fascinator-like appeal. The hybrid design features elements of both styles for the ultimate versatility.
Monochromatic, it blends seamlessly with any formal attire. Perfect for weddings, garden and tea parties, the bold but simple decoration is fit for a princess.
4. Cizoe 20s and 50s Fascinators
Pay your respects to the roaring twenties with this party-ready hat. A basic pillbox with fascinator vibes, whisps of feathers emerge from a center bow above a sheet of netting.
Round and tiny, it’s worn askew with the veil across your eyes. Demure yet dramatic, it’s straight from the pages of The Great Gatsby.
5. F FADVES Women’s Wool Felt Pillbox Hat
Look smart in this refined pillbox hat with a reserved floral design. Made of 100% pure Australian wool, it’s a perennial classic. Pair it with a skirt and jacket at a casual or business-related gathering.
Felt and Straw Hats
Felt and straw hats can be dressed up or dressed down to match the occasion at hand.
6. Women’s Gatsby Linen Cloche Hat with Lace Band and Flower
French fashion is reborn in this practical and pretty cloche. Adorned with a matching lace band and flowers, it’s a timeless style. A hidden drawstring closure helps keep it secure.
7. PanPacSight Women’s Newsboy Hat
This quality Newsboy hat is impeccably finished. Available in solid wool or tweed, it’s a fine way to be warm and fashionable.
Wear it with a sweater and skirt or dressy wool trousers for chilly fall events.
8.FURTALK Women’s Straw Hat
Big and breezy, this foldable straw hat is as functional as it is elegant. The tight weave offers both UV protection and just enough flop to frame your face.
Toss it in your bag, and it will take you from a beach to a tea party effortlessly!
9. Pineapple & Star Straw Fedora for Women and Men
Pineapple & Star’s fine braid fedora is a structured, unisex hat with a refined yet causal feel. Available in 11 colors with a matching or contrasting ribbon trim, it’s a fun way to accessorize a linen dress or trousers with a jacket and tee.
10. Phadora Wide-Brim Fedora Hats for Women and Men
Phadora felt hats are red carpet-ready in dozens of color combinations for every outfit in your closet. Out of the ordinary, the wide brim lends this classic a modern, designer look that goes well with most casual or semi-formal wear.
An ode to comfort, today’s attire is less complex than it once was. But there are still occasions for frill.
11. F FADVES Sinamay Fascinator Hat
Not your average fascinator, this art-inspired hat boasts an eye-popping combination of textures and colors. Made of 100% Sinamay linen, the wide brim and brilliant feathers pop against a simple frock and pearls.
12. June’s Young Bucket Hat
You’ll turn heads in this polished black and white bucket hat. Chiffon-wrapped with a matching bow and a single black feather for emphasis, it’s the perfect foil for a slim-cut midi dress.
13. F&N STORY Wedding and Party Hat
When only fancy will do, this embellished bucket hat pulls out all the stops. Made of sheer organza wrapped in a floral spray of gauze, ribbon and feathers, it’s a delight.
The deep bucket sits securely on your head in any weather. Pair it with a floral maxi dress for your next garden party.
14. Vecry Hat Wide-Brim Kentucky Derby Hat
Nothing says romance like a flouncy organza hat. Wide-brimmed and airy, wear it with a pantsuit or slim-fitting dress for a dramatic impact.
If hats aren’t your style, a headband is an alluring alternative.
15. WEETV 1920s Flapper Headband
You’ll sparkle in this Art Deco-inspired headband. Bejeweled with crystal and rhinestones, it’s a modern take on the tiara.
Wear it forward to accentuate your eyes or to the side for a coy look. For a tea party, we like it with a Flapper-style midi-length dress, complete with fringe.
16. WEETV 1920s Feather and Rhinestone Headband
The 1920s roared because of fashions like these. The stunning combination of ostrich feathers and Austrian crystal is sassy yet elegant with a sleeveless midi or pencil dress and T-strap pumps.
17. Coucoland Butterfly Fascinator Headband
Your crown of butterflies awaits with this halo-style fascinator headband. Available in seven colors, we like it for outdoor parties with a flowy maxi dress and rustic leather sandals.
18. BABEYOND 1920s Peacock Feather Headband
A symbol of good luck, peacock feathers give this headband a cheeky look. Fascinatingly detailed with crystals and faux pearls in six distinctive colors, it’s the perfect finish for an unpretentious satin or brocade gown.