Five Live Trends For Summer Hats
The fashions for summer hats become a speculative talking point every late Spring as the events to see, and be seen at, roll around again. The fashion-forward of course, are already well prepared for these national and international events. Armed with pre-season predictions and already educated in the hottest looks for the following summer; most high profile names get their orders in to their designers, the winter before the event. Speculation regarding new trends for summer hats are part and parcel of the hubbub preceding such events; with retailers such as Fenwicks and Harrods offering pre-sale previews of their collections, just a couple of weeks before the racing festivals.
From Royal Ascot and the Grand National in the United Kingdom, to the Kentucky Derby in the United States; these key events provide designers with a unique outlet to show off their new creations. During the 1920’s, summer hats were a predominant feature of the formal attire required for horse-racing festivals. Men would sport white Panama hats with a dark ribbon, co-ordinating it with a same-coloured waistcoat and dress suit.
Women of the 1920’s were far more flamboyant; enjoying a new freedom of equality. Although fashions became more emasculated, summer hats retained a feminine floral elegance; and were often used to convey social messages. The “Cloche” was one such hat, designed by Caroline Reboux. Fashion dictated that the way in which a women tied a scarf or ribbon around the hat determined her marital status. Tied into a large bow, the scarf signified that a woman was single and networking; while a single or double knot, often worn jauntily to one side of the hat, signified that a woman was married.
Fashions for summer hats like the majority of trends, are cyclical, however a number of era-defining styles continue to be popular every year.
1. The Cloche:
This bell-shaped style was the predominant female accessory during the 1920’s and has since made a welcome comeback in recent years. The simple style is often made from lace, felt, wool or cotton, and is finished with a large colourful scarf around the narrow brim.
The “cloche” has since taken on a number of style variations featuring a thicker, foldable brim, and a stiffer structure in recent years, making it not only a great style for summer hats, but a winter fashion staple too.
2. The Trilby:
One style which continues to be the “dernier cri” regardless of season is: the “trilby”. Once a compulsory fashion accessory for the discerning gentleman, the trilby has become one of the most popular unisex styles for summer hats.
Originally a casual style, worn to sporting events up until the 1920’s; the trilby was recognised as a formal style later that decade. The stiff, marginally upturned brim, and pinched front, conveyed a sharpness similar to the tailoring of men’s suits from the period.
Recognition of the trilby as a female fashion accessory only really occurred from the late 1980’s onward with bold musicians such as Annie Lennox incorporating the masculine style to compliment sharp 80’s power-suits. Since that time, the trilby has become a unisex favourite and is predominantly used to formalise an outfit. The style is fashionable regardless of season; with summer hats being made from straw and the winter numbers being produced in tweed.
3. The Boater:
Traditionally a compulsory head-garment for private school uniforms; the Boater has been reinvented to become one of the most popular styles of summer hats this side of the decade. Japan saw the biggest explosion in popularity for the style in summer 2009; however the traditional woven straw style had been replaced by bright, cloth covered fashions with lace or embroidered ribbons. Men’s styles are significantly less evolved, still retaining the casual formality of a dark ribbon and woven straw finish.
The boater is often described as “boxy” because of it’s straight forward, seamless finish. Combining a 2 inch brim with a height of 3-4 inches, the boater features no nips, tucks or pinches, and is often made more casual with the inclusion of additional accessories such as flower adornments.
4. The Ombre Swinger:
Often referred to as the traditional beach hat, the Ombre Swinger is one of the few summer hats designed with protection in mind. The wide, floppy oversized brim is ideal for keeping out harmful U.V rays, and the bonnet shape adds a feminine curvature to it’s overall shape. Regardless of catwalk styles, the Ombre Swinger continues to remain one of those accessories popularized yearly to complete a summer look.
5. The Fedora:
Unisex styles continue to be popular, particularly in the case of the Fedora. The traditional men’s felt hat, with the trademark centre dent, and pinched indentations to the front is characteristically similar to the Trilby, however often has a slightly wider brim, and more height.
The strong masculine shaping of the Fedora has made it a popular choice for men for over 70 years, and it is only since the latter part of the 20th Century that women have begun experimenting with the sharp formality of the Fedora; combining it with formal haute couturè. Edgy and dramatic, the Fedora style has been adopted by many female celebrities such as Keira Knightly and Sienna Miller, who have sported straw and felt variations.
Regardless of style, summer hats aren’t just an über-cool fashion accessory to dress up an outfit. They are vital in protecting the hair and skin from harmful U.V rays, and provide welcome shade in the hottest of climes. Choosing the ideal summer hat depends upon the look you are trying to achieve, which is why fashion experts recommend you have a multitude of back-up styles in your wardrobe.