The Importance Of (Summer) Hats

With the all-important hat season upon us: beach, picnics , festivals (yes, it’s hot out in those fields!), weddings, it’s time to think about covering up. (And if you’re bound for the polo scene or some spiffy horse or boat race, completely overshadowing the competition.. you know you want to..)

I was sitting by the river the other weekend, watching ducks fussing round the water’s edge and an air balloon float dangerously close to the ground, when a beautiful girl sailed through the tall grasses in the distance in the most enormous straw hat. This was a classic, wheat-colored straw, huge and side-balanced on her head like a giant Saturn ring. She was so elegant and poised, the human flotsam and jetsam, myself included, just gaped, air-balloon all but forgotten. And it’s not everyday a crowd of revellers wings above you so close you can smell the champagne and hear the delirious giggles.

Yes, she looked good, and to use that oddly ungainly word, classy. I would have tipped my hat, if I’d been wearing one.  A hat is a powerful thing. The power of a hat to inspire respect and admiration and possibly even fawning cannot be overlooked. I’ve tried straw stetsons, trilbies, cloches, and have even been known to wear a beanie or beret for those awkward hair-growth spurts after ill-advised shearing sessions. That mid-length is woeful, isn’t it?
Think big doe-eyes and short skirts with thigh high boots. Perfect with a midi-skirt and lean silhouette. Girly and saucy, you kitten.

Wear your hat where you like, to heck with the consequences. On the other hand, a British reality TV show about posh London females recently aired a discussion on the perils of actually wearing a hat on jaunts to Ascot and the like. (You thought that was the Point of Ascot? No!) Note to the less-exalted among us: never wear a hat where one is commonly expected, for fear of aristocratic disapproval.. On second thoughts,forget that: wear your hat where you like, to heck with the consequences. Wear with sharp, mannish suits, or tailored pieces with pencil skirts. Slick. I fancy one of those forties-inspired numbers shading one eye, with one of the new mannish suits. Perhaps a Fedora or something with a feather. How about the floppy one with a shift dress, mid-thigh boots and a glut of black eye makeup like Edie Sedgewick?

As it is, I’ll probably end up with hair crammed into a straw hat, sheltering from the sun, nose barely visible above my book on the beach.. but that’s a while off. First we get to luxuriate in spring, when it arrives in about fifteen minutes. (Brr.. is it still cold where you are?!) Sure, there’s something of the dressing-up box about wearing a hat, but they can command respect, make you feel protected and intriguing all at once. What’s so bad about that?

Worldly, feminine and sleek. Or fun and passionate. How will you play it? Gorgeous color. Retro-enthusiast, accessorizing obsessive, chilly-headed, exhibitionist, shy, hair challenged, bald, and those in need of an ice-breaker, there’s a million different stories in the headgear department. One of them is yours.

Shady, sultry and a knockout. Make your own Film Noir. Meet you in Casablanca.

Main Photograph: Dear Velvet