Woman In Black "Jane" hat with flower

A Garden of Hats for the Perfect Garden Party!

The Garden Party Collection

As the winter months begin to try and thaw, signs of renewed life begin to break through in the brighter cheer of crocus, forsythia, and graceful snowdrops, promising the elaborate array of flowers yet to come in spring’s garden.     

It is of course in those gardens we look forward to spending time, especially with the fanciful pageantry of events we may find ourselves enjoying doing so! What better example of such than an elegant garden party where we might even dare to rival the flowers and their beautiful array of color and romantic whimsy?

Should you find yourself invited to attend such an event or even driven to host, but have little idea where to start, let us be your guide with a quick bit of history, savvy on the dress code, and where to get started with a handful from the array you will find with us here at Hats in the Belfry.     

A Garden of History

It may surprise you to learn that garden parties have been around since the Victorian era–the 1860s, specifically. 

In June of 1868, the very first garden party was hosted at Buckingham Palace with Queen Victoria attending, mingling with guests that ranged throughout the high society ranks of London and royalty from throughout Europe, and as they became habitual events, these garden parties also came to be used as presentation events for debutantes.

This of course modernized and changed through the years, especially in the post-World War II era, where they began opening up to be a means in which people from broader paths of life could be nominated to attend for their public services and became the entity it is today instead of the former societal constraints.

While much of its history stems from more elite avenues, garden parties can be utilized for charity benefits and other events–even wedding receptions, so don’t think you will never have the opportunity to experience one! 

As such, while they may not carry the weight of possible meet and greets with royalty, it remains important to be versed in appropriate attire, which of course leads us to:

Flowery Fashion    

Garden party attire may not come with all the bells and whistles it used to back in the Victorian era, but still remains rather formal. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Gentlemen are generally required to wear morning dress or lounge suits, whereas ladies may find appropriate attire in day dresses that are at least knee length or longer, or dress suits. Both gentlemen and ladies tend to top off their look with hats, or for the ladies, fascinators are another option to tie everything together while also bringing a bit of mindfulness to keeping covered given the event will last a few hours outside. (Keep this in mind too when considering your footwear, because who wants to try and navigate grassy grounds in thin heels for 3 or more hours, ladies? No thank you!) 

Speaking of your headwear–given the warmer time of year such events are held, you will find a lot of fine straws like raffia, seagrass, panama and sinamay abound to make sure you’re keeping cool and comfortable. Wool pillboxes and other heavier materials are most assuredly going to be far too much, so keep those stored away for fall and winter events instead. 

Finding the perfect balance between fashion and comfort will ensure you are able to fully enjoy your time, so let’s take a look at some of the styles you will find with us to add the right touch to tie off your garden party look.

A Flourish of Fascinator     

We rather fancy a fine fascinator here at Hats in the Belfry, and they tend to be a fantastic choice for a number of reasons!

Anyone who enjoys being able to style their hair more elaborately may find their smaller stature perfect for adding the right accent to their intended locks, or if perhaps you aren't used to wearing hats day to day to begin with and fear they may be a bit too overwhelming.

They also tend to be the safer choice when the weather may be questionable and there is suddenly a significant chance for rain since they're slighter in proportions and easier to manage and recover. (Fair food for thought!) 

Belfry Mary - Kathy Jeanne Collection Unisex Hat Cap KathyJeanne Natural  Hats in the Belfry  Belfry Jane - Kathy Jeanne Collection Unisex Hat Cap KathyJeanne   Hats in the Belfry Belfry Elizabeth - Kathy Jeanne Collection Unisex Hat Cap KathyJeanne Natural Medium Hats in the Belfry
Belfry Lydia - Kathy Jeanne Collection Unisex Hat Cap KathyJeanne Natural  Hats in the Belfry
The Belfry Mary by Kathy Jeanne is a fine example of fashion and function as it brings textural elements and sass with its French knotted weave to the straw and an elegant fall of peacock feathers, while also still supplying coverage with its extended asymmetrical brim.  Likewise, the Belfry Jane adds a bit of drama with its seemingly gravity defying disk fascinator profile. A romantic touch with the addition of a gorgeous embossed magnolia blossom that gives a lovely, bright accent against the dark straw body.  The Belfry Elizabeth is a nod to Victorian Era style. This delightful short top hat is made of all natural seagrass and features a slanted crown and asymmetrical brim. A wide green satin hat band and large silk flower give this hat a show-stopping look.  Made of lightweight straw, the Belfry Lydia features a woven crown accented with French knots and a decorative open-weave brim. An asymmetrical slant to the brim and a delightful bouquet of ivory flowers and lace add to it's classically romantic charm. 


 A Host of Hats 

If you're brimming with ideas of what you'd enjoy wearing to a garden party and prefer to stay a touch more protected against the sun, perhaps a brimmed hat is a more suitable option?

While more protective than a fascinator, there's also just something inherently classy about a full hat, and it's hard to pass up the chance to wear some of these that also boast vintage and whimsical elements to boot! 

For hats with a bit less vintage romance and a more modern touch, Complit and Ferruccio Vecchi bth offer a couple of styles most assuredly worth considering while still being a fitting addition for a garden party. Truly, there's no end to the fantastic array of hats and fascinators to be found!

  Belfry Mussi - Belfry Italia Unisex Hat Cap Vecchi   Hats in the Belfry Belfry Marini - Belfry Italia Unisex Hat Cap COMPLIT Blue  Hats in the Belfry
Belfry Evani - Belfry Italia Unisex Hat Cap COMPLIT   Hats in the Belfry
Being unique is everything, and the Belfry Vittoria is designed to be that exceptional hat for summertime wear. Made of medium weight raffia straw, this casual safari hat is durable, pliable and ultimately feminine. The chiffon and multi-colored raffia hat band adds a delicate touch. Although the original bolero was designed for working the plains of Patagonia, this wide brim bolero was created for stylish sun protection. The telescope crown and brim of the Belfry Mussi are woven of a flexible, medium-weight straw in wide stripes of soft dusty rose and tobacco. A simple leather is the final classic design detail.  Inspired by the wildflower gardens of Italy, the Belfry Marini showcases a expertly hand-painted cascade of white daisies that dance about its wide brim with hints of yellow and green foliage. Made of lightweight sisal straw, this dark navy wide brim sun hat offers all-day comfort.  The Belfry Evani features classic silhouette constructed of natural straw with a tight weave on the crown. The navy and natural color block design creates an easier to wear yet eye-catching style. Topped with a bow large bow that has been attached with gold threading the Belfry Evani will easily become a seasonal staple.

For more options, might we suggest checking out our full collections from Kathy Jeanne, Complit, and Ferruccio Vecchi.


If you like to visit us in person, please stop by our store at 103 Main St., Annapolis, MD 21401.