When one thinks of hats, they inevitably think of the famous characters who seem inseparable from their head gear. Sam Spade and his rakishly low-tipped fedora. Rooster Cogburn and his cowboy hat. Charlie Chaplin and his black bowler. Marlene Dietrich and her satiny top hat. The Queen at tea, any tea, in a big flouncy floral hat. Hats are for characters, reserved as prop pieces and eccentric costume. To the modern generation, they’re as obsolete as a cane and nearly as archaic.
Which is a ridiculous mindset. Considering fashion’s obsession with all things vintage (we revive overalls but not hats?!), it seems about time that the hat get pulled from the Hollywood/Halloween costume pile and be put back out on the runway. Hats are more practical than fingerless gloves and twice as pretty as Harem pants. Now’s the time to do something good for the fashion trend sphere. Something practical, something unique, something to pull together an outfit.
The hat, ladies and gents, comes in thousands of styles, colors, and fabrics. It’s vintage and fresh. A flexible accessory for all seasons. Your choices are endless, but to help you on your journey, I’ve attached three styles of hats to get you going. Be inspired to start digging through your local vintage shop for some gorgeous toppers. With hats, the more retro, the better.
The Noir Detective Fedora:
First off, let me just say: Your Jason Mraz fedora? The straw one with the slim brim? Burn it. Don’t through it away. Burn it. Or better yet, fill it with candy. Offer that candy to the friends who had to see you in that hat. When the candy is gone, burn it. This fedora is an abomination. Case and point? Just look at the dashing Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. The man looks good. Know why? He’s wearing the original, broad rimmed fedora, tipped at an angle for maximum sex-appeal. Still unconvinced? Look at Indiana Jones. Another broad-rimmed fedora, tipped low over the face for hunky mystique. The secret of a fedora lies in the angle you tip it–take it from the original men of swagger. If you’re worried about how the hat translates for women, see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Ilsa, Nazi traitor that she was, looked gorgeous in Indy’s fedora.
The Pork Pie, AKA The Heisenberg:
You may recall your favorite meth dealer, Walter White, wearing such a hat when he pretended to be his alter ego, Heisenberg. Subtract the menacing shades, add a smile maybe, and you’ll find the hat is more than just a disguise. When worn by Gene Hackman in The French Connection, it was a quirky stand-out accessory. Even further back, Buster Keaton was rarely seen without his beloved pork pie. I could mention that Johnny Depp wore a similar pork pie hat in Benny and Joon, but that would be unfair. Johnny Depp looks good in everything.
The Pill Box Hat:
Back in the sixties, this was Jackie-O’s hat of choice. Pushed back onto the far crown of her head (pinned down with sheer will, I’m sure), Jackie looked as regal as if she had been wearing a tiara. It’s no wonder then that Princess Kate can be seen sporting the pillbox at numerous royal events. For extra romance, seek out a pillbox with a bit of netting to veil your face. Think of Grace Kelly in Rear Window: beautiful and adventurous.