If the hat doesn't fit...


… change your hair. And if the hair doesn’t fit, change the accessory. Oh yes, down with the myth that certain types of head accessories don’t suit you or aren’t for you. Today I am going on a more general rant with examples on how to make easy adjustments to go from Nah to Yah-hah a’la my 2021 rant about mini-hats. (Also, I am a little bit sorry about the quality of that rhyme - but only a little.) This post is brought to you by Bibliotheca’s monthly theme for March of Hats and Headwear.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com


Quite literally about the face too. Whilst I’m not here to bring back all those ‘hairstyles for your face shape’ articles that probably still get reprinted in media aimed at women, there is something to be said about your face shape and size affecting how an accessory will look on you. It doesn’t instantly mean that you absolutely must avoid this or you’ll look awful. Just remember that over the years you’ve been on this planet you’ve probably internalised a few ideas, like the pressure to always “look good” or that “X is the ideal face shape”. It’s normal to rationally know that these ideas are a big, stinky load of bs and simultaneously not like the way you look with certain proportions or shapes that an accessory or hairstyle introduces. Equally, power to you to embrace a look and/or an accessory that may not be conventionally flattering because you still love it and enjoy being this different from what you usually are. All of this to say that every example you’re about to see come from my experience with my own face as a total of the ideas of beauty and personal preferences that I have accumulated throughout my life. These tips may work for you as they are or they might not, regardless of whether your face is similarly proportioned to mine. None of this is a definitive guide of what to do or not to do, and by breaking down why I think the changes worked in my case I can hopefully give you similar tools on how to break down your own choices. With that said and done, here are some of the tricks that I keep in my arsenal whenever a headpiece isn’t singlehandedly creating a look that I want.

Changing the accessory to work with a hairstyle

Double braids

Wow, my hair got thin back in 2020...

Braiding your hair is a super cute, simple, and easy hairstyle that any sweet and classic lolita should have in their arsenal for when you need a no-brainer option. But unless you’re blessed with very thick hair or add extensions/hair pieces to get more volume, it’s a hairstyle that works better with some accessories over others. As you can see above, irrespective of my hair’s length, berets work much nicer with the hairstyle than smaller and flatter headpieces. Why? For one, a beret frames my head with a halo-like effect, meaning that it goes up as well as slightly to the sides. Whatever I may lack in volume is compensated by the volume of the beret. Moreover, omething that sits flat on my head accentuates my higher forehead as well as doesn’t give the braids any sort of a backdrop. Meanwhile, something that adds a bit of width as well as height on my head balances that feature out and adds more of a shape for the braids to work with.

Hair down/flat

Each of these is a look in its own right. But when removed from the context of the rest of the outfit, the headpiece choices really make a difference.

On the almost opposite end of the scale, when your hair is straight like mine and you want to just leave it down for a casual look, with maybe some pins to keep it from poking you in the eye, the flatter the accessory the better. There are a few variables here, from how I pin my hair away from my face to whether I do actually leave it straight or curl it, that impact the accessories to an extent, yet almost invariably with less voluminous hair the accessories that look the nicest in my eyes are those that sit closest to the head. And the proportions of the outfit itself aside (if I’ve already toned down the outfit to be less fluffy for less voluminous hair to compliment it, why throw it off with the accessory?), an accessory that sticks out changes the shape of my head. Some might be into that look or that particular shape, others less so. It’s a game of perception and leaving my hair down doesn’t give my head any additional height, which means that flatter headpieces work with that look more effectively.

Vintage curls/hairstyles

Veeery similar principles here between how the accessories sit in each comparison and still the effects vary quite a lot.

Would I be myself if I hadn't touched on something as quintessentially retro as vintage hairstyles? I do love how they work with certain looks in lolita fashion and some of these are elaborate enough to warrant going without a hair accessory altogether. And before someone goes "but lolita rules" at me: firstly, guidelines, not rules, and secondly - they talk about balance in relation to the volume of your dress. If your hair alone gives you that, then that's good enough. However, as lolita is very much a maximalist fashion, the right hair accessory adds the lolita touch to a look that balances that with retro inspirations. My rule of thumb is to pick something that works with the hairstyle first and the outfit later. Nothing that’s squashing volume and nothing that hides the hairstyle. Because if it does, then what was even the point of going to all that effort?

Changing the hairstyle to work with an accessory

Pillbox hat

This photo is also known as The Journey of This Particular Hat

A mid-century staple that is fantastic with lolita fashion, but if it doesn’t naturally work with your face in a way that you like, it takes a bit of tweaking first. Don’t be discouraged though, even Jackie Kennedy, a woman who is practically synonymous with a pillbox hat, worked with a hair stylist to get it to look the way she liked. And whilst her hairstyle is also not something that everyone now would like (or have the patience to create), the main takeaway from the pillbox hat for me is to have a bit of hair in front. This can be a fringe, this can be a few locks pulled out to frame your face, this can be some bumps at the top… Anything that either pushes the hat further back on your head or creates a bigger gap between the end of your hat and the start of your face helps balance out this kind of a headpiece. It’s all about stopping the hat from basically swallowing your head.

Rectangle headdress

The fact that I even own these rectangle headdresses, let alone wear them sometimes, is testament enough that anything can work for us. Because before this bottom one, I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing one of these.

Lo and behold, the very same trick that works for pillbox hats also works for rectangle headdresses. Although this one you should take with a pinch of salt coming from me seeing as I’m not necessarily the biggest rectangle headdress wearer and the ones that I own are also a particular style (lots of lace that adds volume going up rather than sit entirely flat) because I managed to work out how to wear it in a way that I liked before committing to wearing one. We’re used to seeing them worn by people with fringes (their own or from a wig), but you’ll get the same effect by pushing the headdress back a bit or pulling out some hair in front of it. You might also find that this works better with the same kind of rectangle headdress as I’m using, but I invite you to test it out with flatter and less frilly kinds too, tell me how that worked out for you.

Head-eating headbow

A big headbow is big, there is no getting around that. Accept it and work with it or get another headpiece, those are the only available options.

The classic that I have also written about once on Wunderwelt Libre some absolute yonks ago, so let’s briefly sum that post up here with some better examples (better by virtue of being real life). A head-eating headbow is such an iconic element of the height of OTT Sweet in 2010-2012 - a time that also embraced twin tail wigs that had enough volume in them to balance such a massive bow out. So whilst a massive wig isn't necessary now, a head-eating headbow can still look odd if it's just plonked on your head without any further manipulations. It basically needs something that makes your whole head area seem bigger. Let's face it, nothing can make a head-eating bow smaller, that's a look that requires commitment, so either embrace it in all its helicopter glory or accept that you'll need more hair (or more hair accessories, as long as they stick out even more than the headbow). Or switch to a smaller headbow.

Final words

As always, there are exceptions to pretty much everything I said here. Digging for examples to showcase has brought up plenty of my own pictures that I could use to counter the very points I just made. So let me reiterate that this isn't about giving you strict rules to follow. It's not another “best hairstyle/accessory for your face shape” type article, it's a “when you do this and it doesn't look right, maybe try this thing that will alter how it spreads itself out on your head”. Not as catchy, but a touch more to the point than just “trial and error”. I still stand by my opening in that anyone can wear any kind of hair accessories they want. It's just a matter of finding a way to wear it that creates the sort of shapes with your face and head that please you.

Also, like with any other post written to Bibliotheca’s monthly prompt, there are other bloggers who will be taking part. You can find them all listed on Bay Area Kei’s website under the Bibliotheca tab  and if you sign up to the mailing list, you will get a monthly email with all of the posts written to this prompt, as well as an overview of the other things Bibliotheca bloggers have been writing about.

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