AN important feature of JK Rowling's Hogwarts school was the Sorting Hat.

Dr Seuss made a fortune with The Cat in the Hat. Fred Astaire - and any old-time magician worth his salt - had a top hat. Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, wrote about a Mad Hatter.

The message is clear: if you want to get ahead, get a hat (which happens to a clever advertising slogan conjured in the 1930s by the august body that is the British Hat Council). And it is one that the award-winning Scottish milliner William Chambers would happily endorse as he opens his first-ever shop, in Glasgow's Merchant City, today.

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For generations, no self-respecting woman would dream of venturing outdoors without a hat, but by the middle of the last century, the habit had largely died out. Now, though, hats are fashionable again, a quiet revolution being driven by top British milliners such as Chambers and leading actresses, models and royalty - the Duchess of Cambridge in particular.

The designer Louise Green once said: "Wearing a hat is like having a baby or a puppy; everyone stops to coo and talk about it." This new shop may turn out to be something of a coup for the city.