Gorgeous embellished winter hats and shoes

This is one of my favourite times of year for charity shop rummaging. And it’s all down to hats.

Charity shops are a rich source of cool hats and you can usually pick them up for less than a fiver. Which means you can grab a whole winter’s worth for a very small sum, saving yourself a fortune on sartorially satisfying headgear.

Hats come in many sizes and I spent years being frustrated, often finding beautiful ones only to find they were too big. My head’s quite small so I was chuffed to bits when I eventually realised that you can put a couple of small stitches inside of the rim to make the opening smaller. Excellent!

My best find this year is a lovely green tweedy hat with a brown ribbon and bow. I added three silk flowers, which came with ready-made clips on the back (although it’s easy enough to sew the flowers on. I loved it so much I wore it for our wedding a couple of weeks ago, taking two of the flowers off afterwards for everyday wear.

Here’s a list of stuff you can fix to charity shop hats and create something uniquely funky:

  • ribbons
  • pearl, crystal, glass and plastic beads – you can also sew beads to a length of velvet ribbon for a spectacularly pretty effect
  • upholstery and curtain trims
  • ready-made embroidered and sequinned patches, some of which are iron-on
  • silk flowers, berries and leaves
  • lengths of fabric, rope, chain, plaited string, felt, wool, embroidery silks, suede or leather
  • feathers and faux fur
  • animal skulls (weird but fab – see Eaton Nott’s strange, weird and wonderful Brighton shop for inspiration!)
  • vintage and modern costume jewellery – earrings, necklaces, brooches
  • badges: enamel and metal, old and new
  • stick-on ‘jewels’

I keep a notebook by the bed in case a bright idea wakes me up. It happens all the time. Last night’s was about shoes. This morning I clipped a couple of silk flowers to my new shoes and I love the effect. Here they are.