Where to buy an occasion hat, whatever your budget

Chloe Street
Actress Eleanor Tomlinson attends Royal Ascot 2017: Getty Images

Whether you fancy bringing some old school glamour to a wedding outfit, or the horse racing event you're attending states headgear of some sort to be mandatory, spring signals the beginning of hat season.

But while a good hat or fascinator can lift an outfit, finding stylish options at the right price point can be confusing.

Despair not! Super chic headgear is out there, and it needn't cost the earth.

If you are attending Ascot, just remember to check the dress code. If you're in the Royal Enclosure, for example, you'll need to wear a hat (not a fascinator) that has a 'solid base of 10cm or more in diameter.'

Other than that, you're free to get creative. Read on for the best hats in each price bracket.

Under £20

You will struggle to find a hat at this price, but there are plenty of lovely fascinators on the market.

Take this navy one from Quiz clothing for example, a total bargain at £12.99 and with a more voluminous, chicer design than many of the other fascinators on offer at the price point.

Navy rose large net fascinator, Quiz, £12.99

Also comes in black. Shop it here.

If your taste is more minimal, this architectural bow fascinator from John Lewis screams Isabella Blow... on a budget. (£20)

Alex Mini Bow Hairband Fascinator, John Lewis, £20

Shop it here.

Under £50

When it comes to options under £50, House of Fraser and Debenhams both stock a really good selection.

Pair this sculptural Phase Eight number (£49) with a navy or cream ensemble for ultimate style points.

Lara Fascinator, Phase eight, £49. Available at House of Fraser

Shop it here.

Or emulate Eleanor Tomlinson's look from Ascot 2017 (see lead image, above) with this cream disc fascinator from Phase Eight, now £39.

Cream Kate flower trim fascinator, Phase Eight, £39. Available on Debenhams.com

Shop it here.

This pleated fascinator by Issa, now £39 at House of Fraser, is also a fashion-forward option.

Louise Pleat Fascinator, Issa

Shop it here.

Heading to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot? Finding a hat that fits the dress code requirements for under £50 is tricky but not impossible.

The trick with cheaper hats is to keep it super simple and stick to nude colours or black and navy. Try this one from Debenhams, which at £50 is as chic as they come.

Pink two tone feather trim hat, Debenhams, £50

Shop it here.

Under £100

Once you get up towards £100, it's worth checking out places like Coast, Phase Eight and, again, House of Fraser.

Up the ante with a full electric blue ensemble, finished with Coast's Potenzia fascinator, now £63.20.

Potenzia fascinator, £63.20, Coast

Shop it here.

Or go for a more architectural look with the Valentina, now £71.20, also Coast.

Valentina fascinator, Coast, £71.20

Shop it here.

When it comes to something Ascot-appropriate, your best bet is a chic, 1950's-esque pillbox hat. Try this one from Village Hats, £89.95.

Candice felt pillbox in Wine, £89.95, Village Hats

Shop it here.

Under £200

For options in the region of £100-£200, The Hat Place stocks a good selection, largely from hatmaker Whiteley.

Try this super chic grey raffia pillbox hat, a steal at £120.

Lauren Occasion Hat - Pearl, Whiteley Hats, £120. Available on thehatplace.com

Shop it now.

Or this pillarbox red number from Whiteley Hats (£140) would add serious zing to a Royal Enclosure outfit for Ascot.

Maddox Bella hat in Tulip, Whiteleys hats, £140. Available on thehatplace.com

Shop it here.

And the rest...

Past the £300 price point, you start to find bespoke hats that are handmade and unique in their design. When it comes to prices for couture and bespoke designs, the sky is really the limit.

Here are some of our favourites:

Elizabeth Hat by Merve Bayindir, £700

 

Davoran lace tilted boater by Emily London. £695 at Harvey Nichols
Bay hat, Laura Apsit Livens, Price on request.
Valentina hat, £370. Iona Montgomery
Yellow silk taffeta pillbox with pom pom veil, price on request, Rachel Trevor Morgan.
Nora hat, price on request. Harvey Santos.
Philip Treacy, price on request
Philip Treacy, price on request

We could go on and on, but if you are looking for a really fabulous investment piece, here's a list of bespoke and couture milliners to try:

Piers Atkinson, Laura Apsit Livens, Harvey Santos, William Chambers, Jane Taylor, Philip Treacy, Vivien Sheriff, Rachel Trevor Morgan, Iona Montgomery and Noel Stewart.

Happy hat hunting!