Hats: top off your ensembles with the right chapeau

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Hats: Best Styles and Selection From All Your Favorite Fashion Stores

About Hats

Our love affair with hats ebbs and flows. The baseball cap is a perennial favorite, and the fedora never seems to go away, but hats as a fashion statement and an essential part of an ensemble isn’t common the world over. Enter the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011. The fascinators and decorative hats on display helped spur an increased interest in the chapeau — French for hat — in all its shape and sizes. The interest remains long after the wedding, but it is less pronounced in the United States.
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Our love affair with hats ebbs and flows. The baseball cap is a perennial favorite, and the fedora never seems to go away, but hats as a fashion statement and an essential part of an ensemble isn’t common the world over. Enter the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011. The fascinators and decorative hats on display helped spur an increased interest in the chapeau — French for hat — in all its shape and sizes. The interest remains long after the wedding, but it is less pronounced in the United States.

History of Hats

The practical purposes of the hat have made it a near constant companion of humans. A hat keeps the head warm in cold weather and helps protect the head and face from other raw weather elements, such as relentless sunshine and heat or a driving rainfall.

Like most elements of fashion, hats were also used to denote social status. In fact, protecting one’s face from the tanning that goes with sun exposure with a wide brimmed hat helped convey social status for many generations.

Early hats, such as those used in the bronze age, were made of furs and animal skins to insulate against cold weather while straw hats were used in equatorial regions to keep the head cooler in the heat of the sun — the higher the hat, the higher the wearer’s station in many instances.

By the Middle Ages, hats were firmly ensconced as a fashion choice for men and women. However, many women’s head coverings were also used to conceal the hair and face to some degree to preserve modesty. It was a trend that continued for various reasons through the early 20th century season.

In the 1700s, the highest quality hats were shipped worldwide from Milan in Italy, and the term millinery began to refer to the production of hats the world over. Decorative hats remained a staple of the upper and middle classes through the early 20th century. By the 1950s, however, they were worn less in women’s fashion except at certain events, such as horse races, weddings or special days at church.

Hat Styles

Beanie Hats

Beanie hats or beanies fit close to the head and typically do not feature brims. Often made of a knit material, they are a favorite in cold weather climates. Due to the color assortment and designs available, such as wider cable knits with lace trim or tight weaves in muted colors, there is a beanie for every winter outfit. The Beanie is also favored in skater style circles year round and by hunters and outdoor workers in the winter.

Fedora

When you see a dressy hat on the red carpet, it will usually be a fedora. The soft brim and indented crown of the hat lend it a dressy vibe when the hat is made of luxurious wool or cashmere fabric. Pair a fancy fedora with a suit or suiting separates — think straight-leg subtle pinstripe pants and a button-down white shirt — for an immediate 1920s gangster vibe. Layer a straw fedora over your favorite linen pants in a flowing shirt for a laid back weekend outfit or a stroll on the beach.

Baseball Cap

The baseball cap features a stiff brim in the front and is a descendant of a beanie variation featuring a small brim. It is the most popular hat in the United States due to its ability to promote companies, hobbies and team allegiances during a sports season. Baseball caps are most commonly paired with a casual pant, such as a tapered leg pair of khakis or jeans, and T-shirts or polo shirts for weekend wear. Women often wear the hat with a ponytail pulled through in the back.

Trucker style baseball caps had a fashion moment in the early 2000s thanks to Ashton Kutcher and the MTV show "Punk'd" and experienced a resurgence during U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign 2015 and 2016. His red Make America Great Again cap was so readily identified, it earned an acronym — the MAGA hat.

Headband

Headbands provide a unique look by nailing the decorative elements of the turban without the extended top. They can be thin and designed merely to hold the hair back for workouts or dressed up with lace or metals to accent hairstyles. Larger smooth fabric headbands, such as a neutral leather, can be paired with a print maxi skirt, solid shirt and button-up jacket to create an edgy professional look while bold prints in silky materials are easily turned into boho fashion statements. Opt for a bold print with your favorite gym leggings to stay in style on the treadmill.

Beret

Berets are available in far more colors than the “Raspberry Beret” made popular in a 1980s Prince song. Berets were historically portrayed as a favorite accessory for artists or a necessary element in military uniforms. When styled with a wider front, a beret in a solid color can help dress up a business outfit or create a statement ensemble when paired with a poncho in the same color family.

Bucket

A bucket hat typically features a beach or nautical vibe due to its association with the classic fisherman’s hat. The round top and wide, sloping brim make it perfect for shedding rain while boating. Pair a less industrial variation on the bucket with cargo pants and a fitted tee for weekend wear. Select a straw option to dress up a linen pant or look for a fur bucket to pair with your best street style looks.

Western

Western hats extend beyond the basic cowboy hat to include many modern variations with a slightly rumpled shape and unique material choices. Unless you are heading to a line dance, avoid pairing a western hat with too many other western elements, such as cowboy boots, flannel shirts and large buckles. Instead, pair a straw, rumpled version or a classic wool cowboy hat with a flowing button-down shirt and a pair of skinny jeans. Nod to the west. Don’t live there.

Bakerboy

The bakerboy is often referred to as a newsboy hat and features a loosely shaped upper and a slight, firm brim. It is easily paired with jeans and a t-shirt in its more casual iterations but can also be dressed up. A knit or fleece version will look great with all of your winter outfits, while a wool bakerboy with classic styling will work over suit separates. To go full biker chic, seek out a leather option with stud details.

Boater

When you can’t quite visualize the shape of a boater hat, picture the chapeau of a gondolier in Venice. Add a bit more loft to the crown and remove a bit of the brim. The boater is a classic choice for accessorizing with unique bands and accents like pom poms, flowers and feathers. It is also the basic shape of many hats designed for church wear in the U.S. and comes in a variety of colors and weave options to allow for better coordination with pastel dresses and skirt suits. Wear a classic straw option with a fun band any hipster approved outfit for a unique look.

Hat Colors

Black

Black is a favored color for dressier boater hats and some fedoras. Most knit variations of hats, such as the beanie and bakerboy also favor the shade for classic styling. When you are just starting to experiment with hat styling, basic black will help you gain confidence before venturing into more bold color choices.

Beige

Many beige hats are actually straw hats though the occasionally fedora or cable knit beanie ends up in the mix. A beige straw hat will add a pop of contrast to black skinny jeans and a printed top or your favorite boho dress.

Brown

Beanies designed for cold weather protection for outdoor workers and hunters are often brown, and a wool brown fedora is a classic for men’s suiting purposes. For women, a brown bakerboy helps add a unique flair to a sweater and tapered trousers look at work.

Dark Grey

Dark grey is a perfect shade for wider knit hats in the winter months. The color coordinates with most ensembles while complementing a variety of skin tones. Dressier hats, such as fedoras and structured variations on the bakerboy, are crafted of dark grey wool and can be worn with a three-piece suit or any office-ready outfit.

Dark Blue (navy)

Dark blue, or navy, hats really shine for baseball caps, wool berets and the beanie. The deeper tones of a blue help add color to pale winter faces and brighten the eyes of most wearers. A dark blue baseball cap also provides additional durability because it will help hide stains and make logos pop.

Hat Sales

When you are ready to up your hat game, we offer a variety of options to accommodate any budget. We also offer major sale prices on hats for mid-range and high-end brands like Rag & Bone and Stella McCartney. Start building your collection without putting a strain on your pocketbook.

Popular Hat Brands

SheIn Hats

SheIn hats range from the embroidered baseball cap to a tapered turban to straw fedoras. They are all available in affordable price ranges to let you build up your wardrobe. Most hats are less than $20. Opt for a couple of classics in neutral colors and a few color pops.

Forever 21 Hats

Forever 21 offers all of the beanies you’ll ever need while also sporting wool boaters and fedoras. The beanies come in colorblocks, holiday patterns and branded options like a Batman beanie with a yellow pompom. Most hats are under $20, and the beanies are less than $15.

Adidas Hats

Adidas has your basic baseball cap and visor needs covered. From knit black options for cold weather workouts to crisps greys perfect for the golf course, there is a cap for all tastes. For those looking for something a bit high end, the brand also sells hats from its partnership with Stella McCartney.

Eric Javits Hats

Eric Javits offers all of the straw options as well as wool felt fedoras. Many of the brand’s straw hats are in classic beige but color pops like lavender, red and pink are also available. The classic sun hat and other floppy brim hats are additional options.

Eugenia Kim

Eugenia Kim offers a variety of edgy hat options by playing with color and doing new takes on classic shapes, like a straw lacquered visor, leather berets and broad headbands.

Trends

Most hat trends tend to follow overall style leanings. In the high-end fashion world, headbands in unique materials help dress up layered looks. Bakerboys are paired with ribbed blouses and black slacks for a classic silhouette. Boho leaning fashionistas love a wide-brimmed hat like the boater for topping off flowing dresses or a kimono paired over jeans and a t-shirt.

Pop Culture/Celebs

For high-end hats, style watchers follow the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex. On the celebrity-laden red carpet, Lady Gaga rocks all manner of millinery. From the pink Western-inspired hats she sported for the "Joanne' album to turbans and headbands and classic fascinators, the songstress wears them all.

Madonna often sports leather takes on the bakerboy hat with various costumes and frequently wears fedoras and other wide-brimmed designs.

Fedoras, boaters and various wide-brimmed hats made of wool are on overall favorite for celebrities playing dress up. Many also try to hide their faces with baseball caps on casual strolls around various cities and opt for beanies to cover messy hair.

What's next for hats? 

Baseball caps are not going away anytime soon, and the exploration of the high-end potential for the hat of choice is likely to continue.

Due to the cyclical popularity of the fedora, bakerboy and beret, look for continued variations on these classic designs. New fabrics, alternative bands, subtle variations on shape and unique accents will allow designers to make the old favorites new again.

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Join the most innovative fashion community and personalize your shopping experience!

Join the most innovative fashion community and personalize your shopping experience!

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