What a day today is. The sun is shining, birds are singing, runners are running in our local 10K event, and onlookers are shouting words of encouragement from their porches and balconies. Everywhere shares the official first day of spring, March 21st, but each place I’ve ever lived has had their own official signs of of spring. For Richmond, it’s probably our aforementioned Monument Avenue 10K, in others it’s been things like, when football starts practicing again or, and I swear this is true, when a car finally falls through a frozen lake. Regardless of what signifies its arrival, spring is here and because we want to keep all of our readers looking good, here’s our guide to properly wearing a hat this spring.
The hat used to be a ubiquitous piece of fashion back in the day. No proper man left home without it and with good reason. Hats are just as functional as they can be fashionable. They do a number of things just by simply sitting on top of your head; they keep you protected from the elements, make you look taller, cover up anything you might be lacking on top of your head as well.
The first hat that probably comes to your mind when you think of a spring time or warm weather hat is the panama hat. While the name is a bit confusing(they’re actually originally from Ecuador), wearing a panama hat is as straightforward as can be. With both their light build and typical coloring, they’re able to mesh well with most outfits. You can simply toss one on to go with an outfit of summer colored shirts and shorts for a day at the beach. Or you can choose to go with a more classical look of khakis, light colored button up and a navy blazer to go along with it if you’re looking for more a dress hat situation. Our overall general suggestions for styling an outfit around a panama hat: You want the colors and the weight of your clothes to both be light, slimmer fits match the style of wearing a fashion hat better than loose and baggy, try to match any other accessories to the band, if possible.
Back in the 90s when ska was undergoing its 43rd revival and bands like Reel Big Fish and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were on MTV the humble pork pie hat was also going through a revival as the hat of choice of the neighborhood rude boy. As much I enjoy poking fun at fads, that I will willingly admit I was a part of, from back in the day, I’m glad to say that the pork pie hat has been making another revival the last few years, sans Aaron Barrett. The pork pie’s versatility in being a fashion piece comes from the combinations that can be had with the hat itself and its thick band. A straw pork pie with a strongly patterned band can be used to bring a splash of attention to a relatively demure outfit. You can also go for a standard black felt pork pie with a dark band if you want to look a bit more serious. Much like the panama, the pork pie pairs well with slim fits, matching accessories, depending on the band, and with boat shoes or other sockless shoes.
Not every hat in this guide has to be high fashion, in fact some of it is just the opposite. As much as we appreciate taking the time to look good, sometimes you just don’t feel like it. That’s when the old favorites come in and there’s nothing that’s more of an old favorite than the standard baseball cap. With very little change style-wise in the roughly 150 years since it was created, the baseball cap is timeless. To the shock of hopefully no one reading this, ball caps are inherently casual. There’s no such thing as a formal ball cap, which is good. With such a wide variety of styles to wear and reasons to wear them, there’s always a ball cap that can be worn(should is a different question). Caps pair well with casual everyday clothes, think jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers or some kind of casual pants and a jacket. Use your best judgement when it comes to the hat. There’s even a certain amount of charm and fashion in a really well worn hat with a reasonable amount of wear and tear on it.
Much like the pork pie, the humble bucket hat has been making a comeback the last few years. For as little trouble that you’d think bucket hats would cause, there are people out there that have opinions on bucket hats. Strong opinions. Assuming you’re not fundamentally against them, the big draws of bucket hats are their inherent relaxed look and the variety of patterns and colors they come in. For as relatively standard as other hats look, bucket hats have a ton of prints, patterns, and colors as options. The way we see it, use your hat to make as much noise as possible. There’s no subtle or quiet style to these, so commit to it, find an awesome pattern, and try to make your outfit match it instead of the other way around. Much like ball caps, there’s no black tie bucket hat out there. One big advantage of the bucket hat? One size fits all. There’s no head too big or too small for a bucket hat.
The last hat on the list and we’ve saved the most important bit of advice we can give out for the very end, because we want to make sure you remember it. No hat has seen its reputation slammed harder in the last decade than the fedora, which is a shame and we’re going to do our part to help make sure that it stops.
With its distinct shape and variety of styles the fedora provides a lot of versatility in making a style statement. A straw fedora matched up with a tee shirt, slim cut pants, and a lightweight blazer makes for a good casual outfit for summer time outings. The biggest point to remember about the fedora, or other shaped hats, is that they don’t automatically go with every outfit. If the hat has a defined shape to it, like the fedora, pork pie, or panama, you can’t just throw it on and it looks good with every outfit. It doesn’t need a lot of thought, but it does need some. Any sort of shaped hat tends to look better with slimmer cut clothing and matched to the color of the clothes. Ball caps and bucket hats can pretty much go with anything, although try to keep color in mind.