Men, look beyond the famous Fedora this season. If hats are in, the accessory is also on an all-time high in interesting new materials and fabrics. We’re talking of materials as diverse as processed paper, regular cotton to many different straw from across the world.
High-street brands Zara, Esprit, OVS, Aldo, Tie Rack and Puma have topped up their lines with hats, hats and more hats. Fashion websites like junglee.com are offering hats from international brands like Brixton, Livity and Quiksilver.
“Hats are the perfect accessory for parties and concerts. The long Indian summers give men the chance to sport hats for a good six or seven months,” says S. Shriram of indiaplaza.com (that runs junglee.com).
But you must pick a hat that best suits your face. “The rim of the hat shouldn’t be too large,” warns image consultant, Yatan Ahluwalia. “It needs to be propped on the top of the head without covering half the forehead,” he adds.
A tip: when it comes to hats, size does matter. Seasoned hat purchasers know that standard sizes can be misleading since they can differ from brand-to-brand. And making an online purchase will be riddled with the American and British size ambiguities. Designer Sanchita Ajjampur, who has designed hats in her current collection, suggests hats be bought in person.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when you take your pick.
The iconic Fedora — with a lengthwise crease running down its crown and pinched look up front — comes in all shapes, sizes and styles. From straw and cotton to processed paper, there are multiple choices. It’s hard to find a menswear store that doesn’t sell this hat. There’s Ayesha Accessories, Zara, Esprit and junglee.com that offers the Fedora with prices starting at Rs 1,000 and going to about Rs 2,500. Designer Manoviraj Khosla is a fan of processed paper and his past collections have offered hats in the material.
“The Fedora is a classic and timeless design and exudes quintessential island charm,” says Ajjampur. She’s partial to Fedoras made from raffia fibre that comes from the raffia palm trees in Madagascar.
THE 1920s TRILBY
lThe Trilby, a softer hat than the Fedora has a narrower brim and a deep indentation in the crown which distinguishes it from the conventional Fedora. While the Trilby is traditionally designed in felt, it’s also being crafted in all types of fabrics like straw, paper and more. Find it at OVS, Zara and Esprit (prices start at Rs 1,000).
Today, the steam softened straw hat is being designed in many different types of plant fibres. This material has gained popularity in warm weather countries because of its ability to keep the head cool.
Jacqueline Kapur of Ayesha Accessories is a big fan of the Toyo straw hat — a tough, thin and fibrous hat which is made from thin straw braids. “Once reserved just for the beach, it’s being worn casually too. Besides being protection against the sun, this material looks super chic,” says Kapur. Both Esprit and Ayesha Accessories offer Toyo hats for Rs 800.
Or how about a braided straw hat that can be folded into a tote or carry-on bag but will always pop back to shape when worn? Esprit offers these perfect-for-travelling braided straw hats for Rs 1,000 and above.
Cotton is the ever popular material when it comes to the monsoons. Milliners have had their go at the Fedora style in cotton as well, giving it the casual look. Try one from Esprit or junglee.com (priced upwards of Rs 800).
As the name suggests, this one is a typical military-style hat with a short-front crown. You can pick it up from Zara (Rs 750 onwards).
You could even try the sisal (a stiffer fibre) hat that is nothing short of elegant. Try one from junglee.com or Ajjampur’s collection for Rs 1,500 onwards.
Carludovica palmata straw is used for the traditional brimmed hats of Ecuador — well-known as Panama hats. These hats are made from this high-end straw derived from the toquilla plant and are handcrafted in Ecuador. You can find them at OVS with prices starting at Rs 1,000.