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Hat World

Men’s Affair

The reason for that was he looked awful in one. For a good-looking guy, he could not wear a hat. We’re talking about an accessory which, in the space of 80 years, has gone from an everyday staple of men’s clothing to a statement piece associated only with eccentrics and annoying pop stars. Where many of the principles of men’s fashion haven’t changed since Edward VIII and the birth of tailoring, the role of the hat has done a complete U-turn, from a sure fire signifier of status and style to a novelty most men avoid at all costs. A hat changes your face so much more than any other garments. It changes your whole immediate appearance massively, which is why a lot of men struggle. But for the sartorially adventurous, what the hat’s decline in popularity really represents is a further opportunity to develop their personal style. If you are wearing something quite smart or smart casual, and put on a traditional hat, a nice trilby or fedora, it will immediately make your overall look quite formal. If you pair a hat with something that it never would have gone with traditionally, you can get some great looks. In recent years, small, narrow-brimmed trilbys were fashionable (think Bruno Mars). The current hat trend, he says, is for high-crowned fedoras that are rounded out at the top.

THE TRAIBY

The trilby is generally a medium to narrow-brimmed hat that suits narrower faces. It is a good, casual, everyday hat that doesn’t make too much of a statement. When buying one, remember good felt hats are made of fur felt not wool. They hold the shape better and are more rain resistant and have better temperature control. Trilbys are probably not as high in the crown as you think they are. Men who have never worn a hat always try one on and think it’s really tall. It’s because they alter the shape of your head, and that takes some getting used to. You can always make it look shorter by putting a wider band on it. The most versatile colour for a trilby is brown. We sell brown far more than any other colour. Navy blue or grey will look immediately more formal. And avoid black hats –they tend to look quite funereal and imposing.

THE CAP

It is always being mistaken for a Mumford & Sons tribute act. Around autumn time, you can wear an 8-piece tweed cap most days. When buying one, look out for good quality tweed, but it’s more important to get a colour that you like.You should always go for one that’s fairly plain rather than bright. Donegal tweed, salt and pepper tweed a simple herringbone work well because there’s not too much going on with the pattern, they go with a lot of outfits. Mixing an 8-piece with a formal coat can look great.With a wool cap, fabric is important but even more so is the sizing. Remember hats tend to shrink, not stretch to your head. If it feels a little tight in the shop, it’s probably too small.  The hat is arguably the most potent accessory in a well-dressed man’s arsenal – it can make a persuasive or a regrettable impression. So it’s important to get it right; though the hat covers a men head it reveals his character. It should be worn with confidence. Wear it reluctantly or ambivalently and there’s the danger that the hat will wear you. But don’t be timid. The dressing landscape has evolved and there’s nothing to fear about striking out in the world in a hat that suits you. The challenge, really, is to make the hat yours. Like velvet jackets and leather bags, a good hat looks better with age. Wear it in, wear it often and wear it until people associate you with it. Remember wear something once and its novel, the second time it’s familiar, the third time it’s your signature. Also consider your proportions. It won’t surprise you that big hats look better on big heads

THE PANAMA

In the warm-weather classic, as timeless as a Negroni. It began life as a staple of tropical destinations but these days it is perfectly acceptable in cities during warmer seasons. A hat is a tool which when used correctly is a statement piece. What does a Panama say about its wearer? That he celebrates the season and welcomes a fresh accessory into his wardrobe. Lock & Co Hatters, the standard-bearer of English hat-making, offers a white Panama that pairs perfectly with a light grey Wooster with a Lardini suit and a Drake’s knit tie.

THE BEANIE

The beanie is a rugged, masculine hat, worn in the Navy. However, in 2015, you’ll find beanies in more elegant fabrics than their woolly predecessors, such as the cashmere offered by LA’s The Elder Statesman, and they remain popular even among those who’ve never wrestled with anything more demanding than the keyboard of a MacBook. And for good reason it’s a hat that is as comforting as it is practical. They’re functional, they’re simple, they’re timeless they’re a safety blanket for your head. A wool Richard James beanie is a versatile option, wear it with a Berluti cardigan or an unconstructed Gant Rugger blazer. The Thom Browne striped Donegal beanie is more robust and would look great with outerwear that has a nautical tradition, such as the Tomas Maier pea coat.

THE FLAT CAP

The tweed flat cap once carried English hunting overtones, but it has migrated out of the country and looks good in nearly any setting. Men respond to the flat cap because it’s an elegant take on a sporting look, more elevated than a baseball cap but less formal than a fedora. It’s a hat that suits all ages, and has been embraced by men. The flat cap comes in many fabrics: Lock & Co Hatters offers one in denim that is right at home with a John Smedley textured cotton cardigan.

THE TRILBY

The trilby looks like a fedora, with a smaller brim that traditionally slopes sharply down in front and up at the back. It’s a hat that has been around since the late 19th century and so has a classic element to it. Sir Sean Connery’s James Bond wore one with his Savile Row suits, and he looked dashing with a hint of playfulness. A trilby leaves an impression, particularly with sharp, well-tailored jackets this is the first port of call for those looking to add a hat to their formal or working wardrobe. A Larose grey trilby would look perfect with a white linen suit jacket.

THE TONG

The official name for this is a bucket hat, but I labeled this the ‘Tong’ (after Pete Tong) after seeing so many kids wearing them at Glastonbury .They’re a really informal hat, but I quite like them and they’re very popular. When buying one, you generally want a light cotton or a waterproof fabric. The beauty of them is that you can roll it up and stick it in your pocket. I think an older guy can pull one off too, but it’s tricky. I saw someone a while ago who wore one at an angle with a really nice beige mac, and somehow it worked. Sometimes, you just have to experiment.”

 

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