One must never underestimate the importance of the perfect hat. Whether it’s a flouncy, elaborate number for Royal Ascot, a stunning modern headpiece for a wedding or simply a traditional gentleman’s trilby, there’s an appropriate hat for every purpose and occasion. This selection of the best hat shops in London will see to your every need, whether traditional or somewhat more avant-garde.
6 St. James’s Street, SW1A 1EF
The holy grail of hat-makers, this place opened its doors back in 1676 and is one of most established and oldest hat shops in London. You’ll still find it in its original location on St. James Street, where the first bowler hat was invented in 1850. These days they stock every kind of hat, from smart straw boaters to women’s winter couture, while attracting notable royal ‘regulars’ such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, and Prince Phillip.
36 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA
Something of a modern celebrity milliner, Stephen Jones has fashioned bespoke designs for everyone from Galliano to Boy George. Princess Diana was an iconic patron of his work, and the Victoria & Albert Museum already exhibits certain items in their collection, in preparation for posterity.
73 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6NP
A millinery destination for the old-fashioned gentleman, Bates is a London institution that has retained its original Jermyn Street location since 1898. Classic designs range from panamas and trilbies to flat caps and tweed, with each hat carefully fitted to the head in question.
69 Elizabeth Street, SW1 W9PJ
Philip Treacy designed that hat that Princess Beatrice wore to the royal wedding in 2012. Love it or loathe it, his controversial creations are cutting-edge and popular among the fashion elite, with famous patrons including the likes of Isabella Blow and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Papered Parlour, Prescott Place, SW4 6BS
With a boutique located in Clapham, Natasha Moorhouse began her career studying with the late Queen Mother’s milliner. Her bespoke couture designs have since taken a less conservative turn: expect a cacophony of sweeping brims, eccentric shapes, and feathers by the dozen.
25 Walpole Street, SW3 4QS
If it’s a formal black silk top hat you’re after, Hetherington Hats is the only place to go. From their extensive selection of more than 700 available to buy or rent, the hat specialists at Hetherington’s even steam the hat to the head to ensure the perfect fit.
5 Kensington Church Walk, W8 4NB
Last but not least, the swanky new kid on the block opened on Kensington Church Walk in 2010. Having trained under and worked closely with fellow milliner Philip Treacy, Gina Foster has set up her own hat shop in London with a collection of creative avant-garde designs.