I wear many hats. Both figuratively and literally. You’ll know all about the figurative ones – mother, wife, sister, daughter, writer, professional, friend etc. I’m sure you wear those hats too. But I wear nearly as many literal hats. Wide-brimmed hats, caps, boaters, fedoras, berets, beanies and fascinators. I am also a fan of head scarfs, headbands and hair chains. Really, I just like to wear things on my noggin.
There is a certain trick to wearing hats well. Like all fashion, a lot of it has to do with confidence. But you also need to figure out what suits you, the season and your style. It’s also helpful for a functional item to be, well, functional.
Picking a hat that suits you
In terms of face shape, proportion is key. Finer features will be flattered by a shorter brim, while larger faces are well suited to wider brims and larger hats. However, I really don’t want to restrict anyone choice’s by virtue of shape. You just have to try things on, try things out and figure out what works for you.
I have a larger-than-average sized head, so I have to hunt around for a good hat. Thanks to the current (and seemingly endless) Hipster vibe the mens’ departments are full of great fedoras. I tend to buy mine from there.
It’s not quite so easy to buy one of those gorgeous floppy hats from the mens department (not hipster enough). So I have to shop around. The cheaper chain stores do a good mix of hats and sometimes I will get lucky. I have actually had the most success at Aldi when they have hats as a special buy. However, a cheaper hat will be made of lesser quality paper straw and can get a little too floppy after a few wears. And don’t even bother if you get it wet. Like all purchases, the key is try to before you buy and try widely until you find a store that tends to stock what you like. You can also dip your toe into this trend by buying something cheaper to start with, seeing how you feel about it, and then investing in something longer-lasting if you decide you love it.
Hats are trending right now, so you will find a selection in most chain stores. Don’t be afraid to check out the accessories wall in fashion stores you might otherwise ignore. I picked up this sweet number in TEMT (and I thought my TEMT days were long behind me).
The other gold mine for great hats is a good pharmacy. They are often better quality than the ones found in cheap chain stores and the best place to find practical cloth hats. Last, but not least, your local markets is likely to have at least one stall selling hats.
The ubiquitous baseball cap suits everyone and is size adjustable. It’s also an easy entry point for the hat novice. Go for something a bit luxe rather than sporty to elevate the look from teen to grown-up. Decjuba often has gorgeous caps with an edge.
Hats & Style
Certain styles and hats are made for each other. Sporty + Cap. Boho + Floppy Hat. Tomboy + Trilby. But it can be fun to mix those styles up a little. A cap with a dress and kicks is a lot of fun. A cowboy hat with a lace dress adds a prarie edge. A beanie with a luxe evening look is cheeky and nonchalant. In the same way you can use shoes to alter the tone of an outfit, a hat can do the same thing.
Like any accessory, a hat adds an extra layer of interest and personality to an outfit. It’s the polish that lets you express yourself and stand out in a crowd.
A hat for every season
I’m not a huge fan of style rules, but I do think winter hats need to stay in winter. Felt hats, even broad brimmed ones, are very heavy against a summer outfit. Straw looks odd against cosy winter clothing.
Hats are also a seasonal fashion cue. They are one of those things you can wear in Brisbane to feel wintery (even when winter hasn’t quite arrived). A beanie with a light long sleeved shirt and shorts is cute and cosy, while remaining bearable in high 20 temps. Again, it’s using accessories to lend a tone to an outfit and hats are brilliant for this.
Of course, a broad-brimmed hat moves from accessory to necessity status in Queensland during high summer. Along with an assortment of sunscreen and an extra beach towel, I keep a hat in the back of the car at all times. A cloth hat is perfect for this – it doesn’t matter how many body boards are stacked on top of it.
And, if hats really ain’t your thing but sunburn isn’t either, a parasol is a pretty way to protect yourself. Sunbella is a great Australian brand.