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Wedding Hat or Veil? Brides Over 40, 50, 60

read about hats for brides

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

read about alternatives to wedding veils

White Wedding Hat

If you’re getting remarried, a bridal hat (with or without an attached veil) is a chic alternative to a standard wedding veil.

I think a hat or similar headpiece, like a fascinator (whimsy) or doll hat, is perfect for any chick over 40, 50, 60, 70, etc., who doesn't want to do the average Barbie-Doll ensemble again.

However, bridal hats aren’t just for old birds. Many younger chicks and first-time brides are opting for this same flattering, trendy alternative.

Wedding Fashion Rules for Older Brides

Many divorced women, who are marrying for the second or third or fourth or whateverth time, are often unsure if wearing a traditional bridal veil is tacky or not. Hey, it doesn’t matter to me what you wear. I’m just happy to see you getting married (or remarried) in a time when everyone seems to have given up on the institution of marriage.

However, if you’re walking down the aisle for a nuptial do-over, you can always follow the extremely proper and tastefully correct dictates of mid-century etiquette and wear a bridal hat or whimsy in place of a veil.

read article about wedding hats vs veils

Bridal Hat With Fab Attitude - Louise Green Milliner

Modern etiquette says that veils are now proper for any bride of any age, however, in my mind, a hat is just a tad more elegant than a veil on a woman over 40.

I Would Have Worn a Hat

If I had known where to buy a great hat the last time I walked down the aisle, I would have worn a chapeau. The only difficulty would have been deciding what kind of embellishment(s) to add to my topper… A veil? A huge cabbage rose? Sparkly crystals done to excess?

read about wedding hats

Wear Fave Color as Bride

I don't fancy myself as a traditionalist.

For example, I seldom leave my house without a hat of some kind. And, that may be somewhat normal in London, but it's almost shocking in laid-back Seattle. A rain hat is, of course, acceptable in my part of the world, but a pink felt cloche with floral ornamentation gets a lot of stares in this little burg. Women often ask me if I'm a member of the Red Hat Club, even when my chapeau is green… lol.

And, I know there are a lot of chic, rebellious, trendy Boomer Sisters (women over 40 and 50 and 60… just like me) who would love to wear hats to weddings or to lunch in the city or to their local grocery store, but they just need a little encouragement. Well, if you are one of those women, you should wear one of those bracelets that says “WWJD?” (What Would Jimi Do?)

Bridal Hats and Veils

Bridal hats, fascinators (whimsies), mini cocktail hats (doll hats), and feminine top hats are perfect for brides who want to set the bar a little higher. And, the right headwear will create the perfect unique, dramatic, awe-inspiring atmosphere for your big moment.

Heck, all your guests are going to be gawking at you anyway… you might as well give ‘em a great show.

read what to wear when getting remmarried for a third or fourth time

Silver Wedding Hat for Older Bride

What’s the Best Hat Style for a Bride?

You should try on different types of hats and look for any style that suits:

  • The shape of your face
  • The silhouette of your dress
  • The shape and stature (height) of your body
  • The formality or informality of your wedding

Different Types of Wedding Hats

Should you get your dress first or should you get your hat first? I don’t know. Personally, I would look for the hat first and work from there, but I know that women can only find the right hat and dress combo by trying on tons of different combinations.

read about what to put on your head for a wedding

Hipster Cute Bridal Hat

Are there hat rules?

Yes. There are stuffy rules about different hat styles and their relationship to your face shape and body type. But, these rules are only guidelines. As you play with different hats and dresses, you will find that every time you change one variable (like when you try a shorter hemline or wear a shoe with a different heel), the whole proportion of your ensemble will change. And, the focus of your outfit will change, as well… and you can use that to your advantage.

Also, you should try to come up with a new combination that shows off your personality. Perfecting your bridal outfit is like creating a work of art.

Picture Hats or Big Floppy Hats: A picture hat is the traditional style for a formal daytime wedding and it will look amazing with a tea-length wedding dress. However, this type of wide-brimmed chapeau, is also good for any type of boho, hippie-chic wedding. Picture hats work with bohemian maxi dresses, mod mini dresses, and simple slip dresses.

Pillbox Hats: A pillbox can be worn centered on your head or on the back of your head a la Jackie Kennedy. Pillboxes are fabulous with Mad-Men 50s/60s vintage dresses. They're also good with hipster looks. Add short white gloves for a classic retro feel.

read about hats

Match Wedding Hat to Your Personality

Cocktail Hats: Cocktail hats include mini “doll” hats and fascinators. Both types of headpieces can have veils, netting, silk flowers, feathers, and other goodies.

Cloche or Gatsby Hats: The cloche is one of the easiest hats to wear. Cloches come with small brims, no brims, or bell-shaped brims. The "flapper" hat looks good with 20s-style dresses, sheaths, and wedding suits. Cloches and pillbox hats are as proper as can be for divorcees entering into marriage number nine.

Top Hats, Derbies, Riding Hats for Women: Many younger gals are going for a yin-yang combination by wearing an elegant top hat, derby, or riding hat with a formal ball gown. This creates a cheeky paradox that works in the same manner as a white cowboy hat and suede boots on a Texas bride. And, yes, a spunky gal of any age can pull off a top hat.

Color of Your Bridal Hat?

read about wedding hats

White Top Hat With Veil

What color should your wedding hat be? It’s up to you. You can match your hat to your gown or you can wear any color that complements your skintone.

Wedding Hat With Veil?

A milliner can add a veil to the crown, the back, or the inside of almost any hat, so that your hat becomes the headpiece for your veil. This gives you a lot more latitude in your search for the perfect chapeau. You could even put a veil on your pink Mickey Mouse ears… if you must.

I think two of your main concerns should be how the hat frames your face and how the hat photographs in different venues. Large-brimmed hats sometimes need to be removed or pulled back if your photographer doesn't have the proper lighting.

If you want to get a really great hat and you don’t live in NYC, Vienna, or London… try a local millinery school or check out the toppers at louisegreen.com. I have found great hats and great hat sales all over the internet (Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Village Hat Shop, Kangol, Samuel’s Hats, Maggie Mae, etc.), but my go-to source is louisegreen.com. Hats from Louise Green and other top milliners are expensive, but I would rather spend more money framing my face and less money covering my butt.

So, if you’re like me, just keep trying on different hats until you find one that makes you sing “I Feel Pretty” like Maria in West Side Story… or like Madeline Kahn (as the Bride of Young Frankenstein) on the original SNL.

More Articles for Hip Baby Boomer Women:

Plus-Size Wedding Gowns: Advice for 3 Body Types

Second Weddings: Creative Ideas for Getting Remarried

Hippie Hair Accessories for Weddings: Headbands, Flowers, Feathers & More

Should a Bride Wear a Purple Wedding Dress?

Photo Credits:

  • All hats are from louisegreen.com. (All hats leading to this page from Pinterest, even if they're no longer in this article, are also from Louise Green.)

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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