One sure way to turn a casual or standard outfit into a fabulous fashion wonderland is to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. In addition to clothing, most everyone wears at least one piece of jewelry every day (i.e. ring, bracelet, earrings, necklace, etc.) which are ornamental and glamorous to look at, but standard jewelry, for the most part.
If you’re looking for a different, fun way to accessorize, why not top off your garments with a top hat (or some type of hat) adding allure and pizzazz to an outfit? Also, depending on the hat you select to wear, you can add an element of youthful playfulness or elite sophistication to your overall look.
A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against the elements, ceremonial reasons, religious reasons, safety, and of course, as a fashion accessory. Always a fashion accessory!
Hat Fun Fact: In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, hats may denote nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment. Police typically wear distinctive hats such as peaked caps or brimmed hats, such as those worn by the Canadian Mounted Police. Hard hats protect construction workers’ heads from injury by falling debris and objects, and a British police Custodian helmet protects the officer’s head.
One of the first pictorial depictions of a hat appears in a tomb painting from Thebes, Egypt, which shows a man wearing a conical straw hat, dated to around 3200 BC. Hats were commonly worn in ancient Egypt. Many upper class Egyptians shaved their heads, then covered them in a headdress intended to help them keep cool.
Hats: A splendid way to cool down while looking chic and cool!
Hat Fun Fact: One of the most famous London hatters is James Lock & Co. of St. James’ Street. The shop claims to be the oldest operating hat shop in the world. In the United States, the well-known cowboy hat manufacturer Stetson made the headgear for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers.
Don’t be a fashion fool. Never leave the house without a haute couture hat…that’s the standard golden hat rule!
In the realm of fashion, hats top off outfits for both men and women:
Absolutely beautiful. Prince, to adore! Need I say more?
Hat Fun Fact: St. Clement, the patron saint of felt hat makers, is said to have discovered wool felt when he filled his sandals with flax fibers to protect his feet, around 800 AD.
For women, in the Middle Ages, hats ranged from simple scarves to elaborate hennin, and denoted social status. Structured hats for women, similar to those of male courtiers, began to be worn in the late 16th century. The term ‘milliner’ comes from the Italian city of Milan, where the best quality hats were made in the 18th century. Millinery was traditionally a woman’s occupation, with the milliner creating the hats and bonnets, and also choosing the lace, trimmings and accessories to complete an outfit.
In the first half of the 19th century, women wore bonnets that gradually became larger, decorated with ribbons, flowers, feathers, and trims. By the end of the century, many other hat styles were introduced, among them hats with wide brims and flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque. By the middle of the 1920s, when women began to cut their hair short, they chose hats that hugged the head like a helmet.
POPULAR STYLES OF HATS:
- Ascot Cap – A hard men’s cap, with a hardness and rounded shape.
- Baseball Cap – A soft, light cotton cap with a rounded crown and a stiff, frontward projecting bill.
- Beanie – A brimless cap, with or without a small visor.
- Beret – A soft round cap, usually made of wool or felt.
- Bonnet – A traditional Scottish bonnet or cap.
- Hard Hat – A rounded rigid helmet with a small brim predominantly used in workplace environments to protect the head from injury by falling debris and bad weather.
- Montera – A crocheted hat worn by bullfighters.
- Pillbox Hat – A small hat with straight, upright sides, a flat crown and no brim.
- Santa Hat – A floppy pointed red hat trimmed in white fur and traditionally associated with Christmas.
- Top Hat – A tall, flat crowned, cylindrical hat worn by men in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Toque Hat – A chef’s hat, with a tall, pleated, brimless, cylindrical shape.
- Turban – A headdress consisting of a scarf-like single piece of cloth, wound around the head itself or an inner hat.
So many styles if hats, imagine that!
Hat Fun Fact: Hats sizes are determined by measuring the circumference of a person’s head about 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) above the ears. Felt hats can be stretched for a custom fit. Other hats, like hard hats and baseball caps, are adjustable. Some styles of hats come in standard sizes, such as small, medium and large. Traditional hat size is worked out by adding the fore and aft and side-to-side measurements in inches, then dividing by two. In the United Kingdom, an equivalent hat size is an eighth of an inch smaller than in the United States.
The best outfit top off? The hat! Imagine that!
The Philippi Collection is a collection of religious headgear assembled by a German entrepreneur, Dieter Philippi, located in Kirkel. The collection features over 500 hats, and is currently the world’s largest collection of clerical, ecclesiastical and religious head coverings
Hat Fun Fact: The tradition of wearing large, fancy, wide brimmed hats to horse racing events began at the Royal Ascot in Britain, which maintains a strict dress code. All guests in the Royal Enclosure must wear hats. This tradition was adopted at other horse racing events, such as the Kentucky Derby in the United States.
There’s no horsing around…if you want to appear stately, dashing and debonair, wear a glamorous hat on your head while you’re meandering around town! You’ll stand out in a crowd…hands down!
Hats: Whether custom made or fresh “off the rack,” when you crown your head in a glorious hat, be prepared to experience a fashion “hat attack!”
“I can barely see your face covered by that huge floppy hat on your head.”
“The brim does swoop down and cover my left eye…my fabulous hat of red.”
“Perhaps if you tilt the hat up some we can see your lovely face.”
“Slanting the hat in this manner shows sophistication and an air of fashion good taste.”
“Forgive me for my lack of hat knowledge, I should probably learn me some.”
“I suggest you go back to school and enroll in Hat Etiquette 1-0-1.”
Hats: Always engaging, always a conversation piece, always fun!
Haute couture, for sure!
Watch for Nancy’s next book in her award winning murder mystery series, Deadly Decisions – A Natalie North Novel, coming to bookstores and online bookstores in early 2017.
Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website http://www.nancymangano.com, Twitter @https://twitter.com/nancymangano, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at http://www.struttinginstyle.com, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mangano/362187023895846