Wearing many hats

If you want to bring out a subtle charm, put on a hat

Fashion is fickle; yet millions follow the latest trends. When it comes to fad, it is important to be distinguished if not unique. One such notable trait that could single out individuals from a crowd is wearing a ‘Hat’. It is a signature style of many venerable personalities such as Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chaplin and Indiana Jones. The early evidence of a hat to be depicted was in a tomb of Thebes, an ancient Egyptian city. Hats are usually made of fabric — wool, straw, cotton, jute, denim and leather.

During the 60s, the cosmetic companies, wigs and hair dressers entered the market with focus on hair styling. Hats, as a fashion accessory, took a beating. However, hats are slowly back in action since the 90s with celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II, Johnny Depp and Kate Middleton seen sporting different hats. However, in India, hats are taking off slowly, but are yet to make a mark in the fashion world, according to Shilpa Chavan, designer at LittleShilpa.

What’s your hat type?

Hats are usually handmade and customised by professionals. One such instance is the hats made by a professional Tobias Knights under the same brand name in England. He makes fedora, trilby and bowler hats by cutting and stitching luxury cloth leathers. There are more than 40 varieties of hats. Then, there are the custom-made ones. However, there are seven to ten types that are popular across the globe.

When it comes to brim — the largest surface area in a hat — there are bowler or derby hats — a rounded crown with flared brim. These hats had replaced the top hats (in 19th century) — tall, flat crowned and broad brimmed hat. For instance, Abraham Lincoln and Mad Hatter are easily connected and remembered with their top hats. Charlie Chaplin is recognised these days with his bowler hat. The fedora, prominent hats, creased at the crown and pinched on the sides of crown. It comes with a hat band or ribbon.

Indiana Jones is a good example to style on a fedora. A trilby is a style of fedora where the crown is dented deeply; the pinch is in the front and has a shorter brim. Brad Pitt, Johny Deep can often be seen in one of these. The widest of the brim (with flat top) is in the Stetson hat, better known as cow-boy hats, followed by sun and panama hats, a wide brim, high crown hats with a band to tie down the neck and prevalent in tropical regions.

When it comes to brimless ones, a beret could come first. It has a round headpiece with a bulging flat crown and fits tightly; it is traditionally worn by Basque people in France and the military. Pillbox hat would appear as beret but is more stylish with a flat crown and no brim and is preferred by women. Kate Middleton was captured once in a while with pillbox. A bucket hat is bell-shaped with wide brim sloping downwards till the forehead and ears.

Other hats used on a regular basis are the baseball cap, a soft round cap with long (curved or straight) brim and an adjustable strap at the back. The newsboy hat is similar to the baseball cap; it is fully round with short brim and buttoned-up front often divided into eight panels.

The cost

The cost of a hat varies with the hat makers and the style — machine-made or handmade. For instance, a fedora starts at a minimum of ₹300 and goes up to ₹40,000. Sky is the limit, if its about customisation.

Wear your hat right

‘If you want to get ahead and get noticed then get a hat’ has been a solid fact through time. Hats give a lasting impression or become a regrettable decision. According to Bhavya Chawla, chief stylist at the Voonik, online fashion marketplace, when it’s the hat that makes a fashion statement, then everything else should be a subtle or should be in sync with the hat.

For women, a panama hat would go well with a button-down shirt or tee with shorts or with pair of jeans or a simple floral dress. Add a pair of sun shades, you are ready for summer. For men, breezy white shirt and shorts, in cotton or linen, with Panama or cow boy hat is perfect for holidays, says fashion expert Shruti Sekat of Athea.

Floppy hat would be preferable if you are wearing a crop top, but a beanie would be very apt if you are in tight skinny jeans. Throw in a newsboy cap once in a while if you are sporting lose fitting outfit or if you are going for a bold look. Fedora hats, usually ornamented to suit the occasion, are recommended with a dress and high heels for a formal event. Fedora or trilby, suit and tie are a classic style that is never out of fashion for men. Now if you want to bring out a subtle charm, put on a hat.

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