Compared to the practicality of shoes and handbags, it’s easy to consider hats an afterthought. Everyone needs footwear to walk in, and bags store all the things you would otherwise have to carry individually. That being said, hats are plenty practical when they’re protecting your head from heat, cold, or rain.
If the endless jokes about royal headgear and the recurring headlines of Pharrell’s Buffalo hat have taught you anything, it’s that hats have the ability to make a statement. Whether they’re a unique Philip Treacy topper, a vintage baseball cap, or an original Coco Chanel (yes, she began her fashion career as a milliner designing hats!), hats have an effortless nature that can communicate and elevate style, and also reveal a lot about the wearer. While different types of hats have different types of personalities, the same is true when someone puts one on their head. Not quite like the “thinking cap” your second grade teacher used to tell you about, but more like a beret that makes you feel like a French spy or a red, square plaid hunting hat that makes you feel like Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye.
While there are so many different varieties of hats, here are the 6 types that not only inspire but also encourage you to try your own hand at the classics. You never know which one might suit your fancy.
A Beret is a contentious fashion item if ever there was one. Although it’s not quite in the realm of the fedora. Berets do have something of a reputation as being pretentious and over-the-top, but tides seem to be turning in their favor. Mass production began in 19th-century France and Spain, countries with which it remains associated. Berets are worn as part of the uniform of many military and police units worldwide, as well as by other organisations.
The beret is part of the long-standing stereotype of the intellectual, film director, artist, “hipster”, poet, bohemian and beatnik. The painter Rembrandt and the composer Richard Wagner, among others, wore berets.
At Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Fall 2017 collection for Dior, every single look that came down the runway came topped off with a chapeau. And not just any hat: the beret, France’s unofficial national accessory. Chiuri punctuated that point that this is about to become a must-have piece for Parisians and beyond, loaning one the hats to Rihanna who perched front row in a head-to-toe black Dior ensemble; a walking, talking “you know want to look like this” advertising campaign.
We all know that lots of Americans like baseball and enjoy wearing things with logos on them. This seems to be particularly prevalent among Americans as compared to Asians or Europeans in my experience – in those places, people will get gussied up if going to a game or maybe a bar where the game is playing, but Americans will wear team memorabilia on a daily basis. It’s not unusual to see people wandering around in basketball jerseys, for instance. Here, in Detroit, people wear Red Wings jerseys all the time. When I was growing up, I had a couple I’d wear regularly as well. Americans like sports and readily show their affiliations with attire.
There is no doubt that baseball hat has been lost on the highest levels of the country’s leadership, who can routinely be seen calling upon the baseball cap’s magical qualities. And no one more so than the Baseball-Cap-Wearer-In-Chief, Mr Trump. He harnesses as no other its formidable powers, skillfully positioning its visor just above eyebrow level, thereby boosting his already awesome gaze to destructive heights. This is clearly an instrument that, in the hands of the right man, could leave a cinder even the most enduring of enemies.