Royal Ascot is just around the corner and it's time to dust off the old silk topper. If you're lucky enough to have inherited one, take our advice on how to resize top hats


How to resize top hats is handy knowledge if you’re fortunate enough to have inherited one. No need to squeeze your head into one or risk the embarrassment of it taking flight in an unexpected gust of wind, now you can make your silk topper the perfect fit.

Royal Ascot is just around the corner, so get your silk toppers ready. Indeed Ascot is one of the only events left in the calendar that requires one. These days top hats are no longer donned at even the smartest weddings, and at funerals they are only seen on the undertakers. But in Ascot’s Royal Enclosure, gentleman are still “kindly reminded” they must wear a black or grey top hat. Colour choice tends to be determined by personal preference, but the custom to wear a black topper on Ladies’ Day still holds good.

Hat-wearing is enjoying a great revival, headed by the Duchess of Cambridge. Read feathers are the milliner’s friend, put one in your hat for the essential feature every lady attending Royal Ascot needs.


I have inherited a silk top hat. It is in beautiful condition and a wonderful addition to my wardrobe. However, it is too slightly too small. Can it be stretched to make it larger in time for Royal Ascot?
WL, by email

A silk top hat cannot be stretched but the shape can be redistributed if there are gaps at the sides as might be the case with a long but narrow head. Lock & Co offers this reshaping service, reconforming the hat to the shape of the head. If there are no gaps the company can remove the leather on the inside to create an extra half-size. The whole service takes approximately half an hour and costs £75. No appointment is required; just take the hat and the head it needs to fit to Lock & Co at 6 St James’s Street, London SW1; tel 020 7930 8874.