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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has popularized fancy hats. Here she’s seen in a red fascinator adorned with maple leaves at a Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2011.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

The question

I've been invited to a garden party and don't know what to wear. Would high heels get stuck in the grass? Are fancy hats de rigueur?

The answer

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We have the Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton) to thank for single-headedly bringing back the fancy hat. But that doesn't mean you need to wear one to your garden gathering.

If the party is in the early evening, for instance, you can definitely leave the hat at home. Only wear one if you feel it will enhance your style and not end up a nuisance.

Stilettos, as you suspected, will pierce the grass quicker than a golf tee, so opt for wedges, which will give you height and stability.

Most importantly, though, check the weather. Stick with cotton or linen for good airflow on a sticky day or add an extra layer if it is unseasonably cool. Floral prints continue to be a strong trend and I prefer bolder bloom patterns to small, precious ones. A garden party is no place to be a shrinking violet.

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail or follow her on Twitter @amyverner.

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