How To Choose The Perfect Top Hat

As the Official Top Hat Licensee to Royal Ascot for the sixth consecutive year, we know a thing or two about top hats and how to select the perfect hat for whatever the occasion. Be it a classic Hetherington, named after John Hetherington, who is believed to have invented the top hat in 1797, to an exquisite and highly coveted antique silk hat, of which we hold the world's largest collection.

choosing a top hat

Our extensive collection of both antique and modern top hats are available for hire or purchase - both of which can be worn to any formal occasion. Royal Ascot, synonymous with sartorial elegance requires that all gentleman in attendance at the Royal Enclosure wear a black or grey top hat. Black antique silk top hats are considered the height of beauty and elegance because of their impressive shine, shape and lightness, which is second to none. Silk top hats are no longer in production today, as a result of the looms that spun the silk being destroyed in a fire in the 1960's. Today all the silk top hats in existence are vintage silks, making those in pristine condition or of a larger size fetch higher prices.

The modern versions we carry are the fur felt top hat in black and grey, and although these styles tend to be bulkier they do last well. In addition we have the 'Melusine Top Hat' and its taller counterpart the 'Hetherington Ascot Top Hat' which are the closest alternative to an original silk top hat, but finished with ‘melusine’ fabric, they don't have the same impressive shine, look and lightness as an antique silk top hat.

top hat royal ascot

How To Measure

However handsome your top hat, the wrong fit or size can ruin the overall look. Ensure you get it right by following our step-by-step guide to measuring for a top hat and achieving the perfect fit.  

  1. Take a soft tape measure and place it around your head.  Ensure it’s half an inch above your ears and straight. 

how to measure your head

  1. Measure in centimetres or inches, and use this measurement to find your hat size on the chart 

top hat size chart

  1. A correctly fitted hat should rest comfortably half an inch above the ears, sitting completely straight. Not titled to the side, or to the back.

silk top hat

Our collection of top hats are available to purchase online and in our Lower Sloane and Jermyn Street stores. If you require further assistance, contact [email protected] or call +44 0207 259 9494

Shop our Top Hat collection HERE

Sarah McKeon